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Random Thoughts – Vol. 1 – Holiday Edition

Which Coach Would You Rather Have? 

Dan Mullen has almost 100 all-time wins, with a 98-55 record in 12 seasons (nine at Mississippi State; three at Florida). He has posted a pair of ten win seasons, with eight of his 12 teams winning at least eight games. Half of his teams have finished ranked nationally, including two top ten teams. His salary: $6.103 million/year.

Karl Dorrell has less than 40 all-time wins, with a 39-29 record in six seasons (five at UCLA; one at Colorado). He has posted one ten-win season – the only team he has coached that has won more than seven games. Only one of his teams has finished ranked nationally. His salary: $3.2 million/year – just over half of that of Dan Mullen.

Both coaches had teams playing in the 2020 post-season.

Both coaches had teams which surrendered 55 points to a Big 12 opponent, with Colorado losing 55-23 to No. 20 Texas; No. 7 Florida losing 55-20 to No. 6 Oklahoma.

Each team had personnel issues in their bowl game, but how the coaches reacted to their blowout losses were considerably different.

Florida had 60 players available for the Cotton bowl …

Dan Mullen’s post-game comments?

“With the number of people that were out for the game, we were under numbers actually,” Mullen said. “We had the numbers to not play the game.

“I kind of viewed — I don’t know, maybe this is wrong — that wasn’t the 2020 football team that you saw … The last game the 2020 team played was 11 days ago [in the SEC championship].”

Colorado, meanwhile, dressed 51 players for the Alamo Bowl. Included in that total was five walk-ons, meaning that the Buffs had 46 scholarship players for the game (and that number included five true freshmen).

Karl Dorrell’s post-game comments?

“Yes, we were short a lot of people but you know me now and I don’t make any excuses”, Dorrell said. “We got to play and figure out how to do it with what we got. And I was expecting us to play better than that. I was expected to be more competitive. I was expecting a lot of it to be better than what it looked like so it just shows me I got a tremendous amount of work to do. And really, that is what it is- there are no excuses.”

With Florida’s recruiting and resources, it’s highly unlikely that Karl Dorrell will post win totals higher than that of Dan Mullen.

But I’m not sure that the Gators have a better coach.

The Landman Effect

In opening the season with a 4-0 record, the Buff defense was playing well. Colorado was giving up 24.3 points per game, ranked 37th i the nation.

All-American linebacker Nate Landman (second-team, Football Writers Association of America) was injured in the first half of the fifth game of the season, against Utah. The Buffs went on to surrender 38 points to the Utes, then 55 points to Texas.

After six games, Colorado is now ranked 77th nationally, giving up 31.8 points per game.

If you really want to break it down, the Buff defense without Landman was even more noticeably porous.

Landman went down in the second quarter of the Utah game. At the time, the Buffs were up 14-10. Without Landman, the Buffs were out-scored 28-7.

So … 

In 4 1/2 games (18 quarters) with Landman on the field, Colorado gave up 107 points, or roughly 5.9 points per quarter … or 24 points per game.

In 1 1/2 games (6 quarters) with Landman on the sidelines, Colorado gave up 83 points, or roughly 14 points per quarter .. or 56 points per game.

Certainly, having to try and adjust the defensive scheme on the fly in the second half against Utah worked against the CU defense, and having five starters missing from the defensive lineup against Texas worked against the CU defense …

… but it seems pretty clear that Nate Landman, who led the team in tackles, third down stops, and sacks, was missed in the Buffs’ final two games.

Bowl Woes

The Alamo Bowl loss to Texas was Colorado’s fourth in a row, with the Buffs’ victory drought in the post-season dating back to the 2004 Houston Bowl win over UTEP.

And it’s not as if this is a new trend for Colorado football.

CU is now 12-18 all-time in bowl games, a .400 winning percentage … and that’s last among Pac-12 teams.

The Pac-12, and their national rankings in bowl winning percentage:

  • No. 2 … Utah … .739 (17-6)
  • No. 7 … USC … .642 (34-19)
  • No. 15 … Oregon State … .600 (9-6)
  • No. 35 … California … .521 (12-11-1)
  • No. 39 … Stanford … .517 (15-14-1)
  • No. 42 … Washington State … .500 (8-8)
  • No. 50 … Arizona State … .484 (15-16-1)
  • No. 53 … Washington … .474 (18-20-1)
  • No. 56 … UCLA … .458 (16-19-1)
  • No. 58 … Oregon … .455 (15-18)
  • No. 60 … Arizona … .452 (9-11-1)
  • No. 78 … Colorado … .400 (12-18)

Dorrell File 

Karl Dorrell is the 27th head coach in Colorado history. In leading the Buffs to a 4-2 record in his first season, Dorrell made his mark in the Colorado record books:

— He started his career 4-0. Only four of his 26 predecessors fared better (best since Rick Neuheisel opened 5-0 in 1995);

— He was named the Pac-12 conference Coach of the Year, just the sixth Buff head coach to be so honored (the first since Mike MacIntyre in 2016);

— He was just the third coach to lead the Buffs to a bowl game in his first season, joining Neuheisel (1996 Cotton Bowl) and Gary Barnett (1999 Insight.com Bowl);

— He was the first CU coach to lead an unranked team into the national polls … not bad for a team which, when CU’s seven-game schedule was announced, had an over/under of 1.5 wins.

Odd Numbers and Notes 

Guaranteed Bar Bet Winner … Colorado is 2-4 in domed stadiums, with an 0-3 record in the Alamodome. In what two domed stadia have the Buffs won games? (Hint: Neither building is any longer in use);

— The Alamo Bowl loss to Texas left Colorado with an all-time record of 15-21 in games played in the state of Texas (not bad, considering) … the Buffs are now 13-20 in games played in the month of December … Texas took a 12-7 lead in the all-time series, extending its winning streak to six games (dating back to the 2001 Big 12 Championship game);

— The final Pac-12 South rankings:

  1. USC … 5-1
  2. Colorado … 4-2 (3-1 in Pac-12 games);
  3. Utah … 3-2
  4. Arizona State … 2-2
  5. UCLA … 3-4
  6. Arizona … 0-5

The second-place finish represents the second time the Buffs have finished somewhere other than 5th or 6th in the Pac-12 South (winning the division with an 8-1 conference mark in 2016).

Bar Bet Winner … Colorado has a 1-0 record in the Metrodome (defeating Minnesota in 1992), with a 1-1 record in the old Houston Astrodome … neither record is going to change, as neither building is around to host games for years …

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10 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Vol. 1”

  1. Random. Random is great. Like that random bowl game.
    Speaking of bowl games.
    Those 4 and 5 star rated players really play the game at a different level don’t they?

    Assuming 4 years of signings it looks like this

    ………………………..5 star……………….4 star
    Alabama……………..15…………………68
    Ohio state……………14…………………..57
    Clemson………………13…………………..39
    Notre dame…………..1…………………….48

    The other teams with “lots of 4 and 5 stars” almost every year
    Georgia, Washington, Oregon, USC, Texas blah blah

    Go Buffs…………………….Change the slope

    Note: Dabo got is arse kicked by the 11th ranked team

    Note 2: Not liking the actions of some of those supposed 4 and 5 star players.

  2. With all due respect to the Ohio State quarterback and running back, who were both terrific, the real heroes of the upset over Clemson were the tight ends, I hope the Colorado coaches were watching.

    1. I only watched the 4 qtr but I saw the D line and anyone who was blitzing make Trevor’s life miserable on just about every play

  3. You could tell watching the Gator BBQ that Mullen is a “bit” f a whiner. He still had his Heisman candidate QB. Unfortunately for him the backup didnt play any better than Trask.

    1. not big enough inside
      much better on the outside where he can use his speed .
      still need someone on the inside. Hopefully those on the current roster can step up but no replacing Landman

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