“It’s Difficult Waiting, But It’ll Happen”

Buff fans don’t know what conference they will be playing in when the second half of the 2020s arrive. A ten-team Pac-12? An expanded Pac-12? An expanded Big 12?

Or, based on CU’s play in September … The Mountain West?

“I’m very confident in CU’s position,” Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano said in an interview with BuffZone.com this week. “When UCLA and USC left, people were talking about, ‘There’s not going to be a Pac-12 anymore; other schools will leave and go to the Big 12, go to the Big Ten, go to the ACC.’

DiStefano continued: “Obviously, people want to know now and we want to get the best deal we can get. If that takes us another month or two or longer to do, that’s fine with me. We need to get the best deal that we can get. We’re looking at a contract that might be five or seven years, so to get the best deal, let’s take our time and do that.

“It’s difficult waiting, but it’ll happen.”

While a Pac-12 media deal may be a “month or two away”, you can’t say the same about Colorado putting a quality product on the field in that time frame.

The implosion of the football team this fall has been well documented. There are 131 teams playing FBS football, including the likes of Troy, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, James Madison and Charlotte.

131 teams playing football at the FBS … and Colorado is one of the worst of them. We’re not talking about being the worst team in the Power Five conferences – that ship sailed several weeks ago. Now were talking about setting up camp next to the worst teams in the Sun Belt and the MAC.

The Buffs came into the weekend ranked 131st – dead last in the nation – in rushing defense (after we had been told the defensive line was the deepest and most talented unit on the roster).

The Buffs were also looking up at almost every other team in the country in almost every other category:

  • 129th in scoring offense, posting just 30 points in three games (tied with Navy for 129th, ahead of only New Mexico State);
  • 127th in total offense, using some garbage time production by the third team against Minnesota to edge ahead of UMass, Colorado State, New Mexico State and Iowa);
  • 127th in scoring defense, holding the opposition off of the scoreboard better than only Bowling Green, Charlotte, Hawai’i and Akron.

There were other categories in which the Buffs were in the Bottom Ten nationally, of course. Among them: First Downs (125th); Passing Offense (124th); Third Down Conversions, Offense (128th); Third Down Conversions, Defense (129th); Quarterback Sacks (121st); Red Zone Percentage, Offense (125th).

And this was all before the Buffs gave up 45 points to UCLA, together with and 515 yards of total offense (including 249 yards rushing), while struggling to post its first two-touchdown game of the season on offense.

And then there was CU being 0-3 – now 0-4. The other Power Five conference teams with a winless record? Um … none (and that was before this weekend).

In fact, in all of FBS, there are now only three other teams out of the 131 still looking for their first wins: Georgia State and Colorado State.

Not exactly heady company.

(Side note … CSU lost Saturday to Sacramento State. With the win, the Hornets now have a 2-23 all-time record against FBS competition. The only other win for Sac State against an FBS team? Yup. Over Colorado in 2012).

But it gets worse …

— Colorado has lost its first four games of the season for only the ninth time in over 130 years of football. The last time? The dismal 2006 season; and

— The Buffs have now lost four straight games by 25 points or more … for the first time in school history. Not the 1980 team which finished 1-10, losing to the likes of Drake, and losing 82-42 to Oklahoma; not the 1-10 1984 team, which lost to Missouri 52-7 and lowly Kansas State 38-7; not the Dan Hawkins disastrous 2-10 2006 team, which lost to Montana State; and not even the never-to-be-forgotten 1-11 2012 team, which lost to Fresno State, 69-19 … none of those horrible teams lost four straight games by 25 points or more.

And there’s no reason to believe the streak can’t continue, even with Arizona up next … an  Arizona team which came into the season having lost 34 of its last 35 games.

“Frustrating day,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said in a gross understatement. “But I felt like there were some positive things, even though we weren’t a factor in getting a chance to win this one, It just got away from us … We’re a young team that needs to continue to grow and mature as we go. But we just have a tremendous amount of work to do with this team.”

Seriously? But wait, it gets worse ….

What about CU’s pathetic run defense? The Buffs have now given up at least 249 yards rushing in every game this season.

“We’re really working hard on trying to get those things shored up and some of it has just been that some of our players are in the wrong gap,” Dorrell said. “That’s the challenging part. Sometimes it was a linebacker issue or it was a D-line issue … The rushing game has been our nemesis on defense and we have to find a way to get that shored up.”

Ya’ think?

Check out the following, and tell me that the CU coaching staff hasn’t already hit the panic button:

  • Colorado started three freshman on offense against UCLA – quarterback Owen McCown, wide receiver Chase Sowell and offensive guard Van Wells. That hasn’t happened in Boulder since 2008.
  • Owen McCown, starting in game four, now has the distinction of having the earliest start in a career by a true freshman Buff quarterback – in school history.
  • The Buffs have used three starting quarterbacks in four games. CU has started three quarterbacks in a season before, but never before in only four games; and
  • A total of 18 different Buffs have caught passes so far in 2022 – the school record in 19.

Owen McCown showed some flashes against UCLA, but it’s not sustainable. Without a rushing attack, McCown will never get the opportunity to get into a rhythm and keep defenses honest. Colorado came into the weekend ranked 100th in the nation in rushing offense, at 120 yards/game. Against UCLA, the Buffs eked out 51 yards on 34 carries … a whopping 1.5 yards/carry.

With no run support, teams will tee off on McCown. UCLA had two roughing the passer penalties called against them, and registered five sacks. McCown is 6’2″, and is generously listed at 175 pounds … he’ll never make it through the season alive.

What else is left for Dorrell and his staff to try? It seems like they have already pulled out all of the stops … and we’re not even out of September.

“Well, it’s a young team that’s going to continue to get better, they will get better”, Dorrell said. “So, some of it is youth.  I hate to use that as an excuse”.

Colorado once again has one of the nation’s youngest teams, as 78.9 percent of the roster are underclassmen: 60 freshmen and 30 sophomores for a total of 90 underclassmen, tied for the seventh-most in the nation (fifth not including Navy and Army, which traditionally have two of the largest rosters in college football). Percentage-wise, the 78.9 figure is fourth behind only Wyoming (84.2), Georgia Tech (79.4) and Old Dominion (79.3). Colorado has 12 seniors on the roster (after having just seven in 2021, the second-fewest in the nation), so youth is still very much prevalent in the program.

But this is Dorrell’s third season. Why are the Buffs so young … again?

Umm … Because players are leaving the team. There were 24 defections from last year’s team, including five starters. CU is a sinking ship, and it’s every man for themselves.

With no relief in sight.

“It’s difficult waiting, but it’ll happen” … is what Chancellor DiStefano said about Pac-12 fans waiting for a new media deal.

Too bad the same can’t be said for the football program.


23 Replies to ““It’s Difficult Waiting, But It’ll Happen””

    1. Only 2 were relevant and their position is not the worst problem. It was an addition to the coaching staff that is the worst problem.
      Someone should manufacture a false identity as a Saudi sheik who will offer the worst problem a doubled salary to come over to get a football program started in Ryiadh. I’m sure we would all pitch in for a first class one way ticket.

  1. Given that the U of Colorado is OK with a football 0-12 record, I am going to bend over backward and make the University a fantastic one time savings offer.

    I will coach the CU football team for $100K a year. With my qualifications, I flat out guarantee 0-12 seasons for the rest of the century, or 20 years, whichever comes first.

    What are my qualifications? I have never played football and I have never been a coach. So, what can I offer? I mastered”the look”. You know: bent over, hands on knees, with a facial expression that conveys serious concern. I practiced in front of a mirror, and I am easily top 10 nationally.

    You might wonder why I don’t ask for $150K to be AD. The job only requires to sit behind a big desk, look intelligent, smile, shake hands, and now and then issue a lame press release. One word: no cheerleaders.

    Perhaps you have noticed that ESPN shows more and more of the cheerleaders when games get out of hand. Well, coaches are the same way. When they are losing big time, they want to see the cheerleaders, but they can’t just stand there and stare. Someone in the 312 people at a Buffs game might find this a bit much. So, the coaches walk back and forth. First away from the cheer squad, and then back towards them at a pace 12% slower and a distance 11.92 meters farther. Now and then they stop to talk to a player, perhaps to say “check out the one second from the left”.

    I await the Buffs offer. A $50k “good faith” check would be appreciated.

    1. Best. Post. Ever.

      I will contribute to your retainer/signing bonus. As long as you hire Bo Guffs as your offensive AND defensive coordinator. You don’t need one of each.

      Bo Guffs

    2. Thank you for finding a way to make this never ending misery funny, if only for a moment. After 33 years of being a die hard buffs fan, to include my entire undergrad experience AT CSU, I have given up. This was one of the most important things to me, and it was my thing with my dad who has also given up.

      And, frankly, it’s beyond embarrassing that I, living in Boston, can see Northern Colorado games as frequently as CU games (on TV/internet feed). The Pac-12 network is a dismal failure. Their inability to get on TV beyond the region is as inexplicable as CU’s inability to even blunder into a good season. You’d think that the force of mere random frigging chance would have given us better results than this deathmarch we’ve been on since 2002.

      At this point, given the unlimited free agency and barely accountable, unlimited money that have been given free reign in the NCAA, and he fact that we are never on the right side of either of those things…I don’t see how CU ever gets competitive any time soon.

      It’s not a sport when some teams can outspend their competitors 10:1, and that’s not even counting the NIL money. We have “a young team” because Midnight Mel and the rest of the damned country used us as a minor league farm team. Demetry Stanley making the same plays in Ames, F-ing Iowa. Broussard failing to crack the depth chart for Midnight Mel. And, once again, when there is not even a head fake in the direction of a level playing field monetarily, how can we possibly believe it will ever truly get better again, without a fundamental change to the “system” S it stands?

      Even if McCown sticks around, assuming he has a brain left after the hits he’s taking this year, unless he becomes a Heisman candidate in Boulder, why wouldn’t he just move on up to a school that will get him some more of that sweet, sweet regional footwear outlet advertising cashish? And he’s not even the best example bc there’s only one QB, and if he’s the starter, he might actually stay.

      But what about, say, a great DB or receiver or RB? Even the starters. It’s pretty clear from seeing the starting lineup get hollowed out like a damn Jack-o-lantern that being a starter doesn’t mean shit when they can be sold on the idea of transferring to greatness. And, as for money?

      The scholarship value of a free ride to, say, Northwestern, is what, $60k a year? That means a 17 year old with a full ride scholarship to Northwestern or USC or Notre Dame is already making more in direct benefits than I have ever made in my so called career. While their walk-on teammates take all the hits, make all the meetings, and do everything they’re asked…for friggin free. A total abdication of fairness on and off the field has not, thus far, led to anything but disaster for some teams. Like us.

      NCAA has a congressionally protected monopoly on college athletics at this level. But they don’t seem to be the ones running the show. And, really, the fact that a solitary sugar daddy can turn Okie State and Oregon into powerhouses is both cool and a chilling effect at the same time. Cool bc it’s an example of how one alumni donor can have such a profound effect on their school. And chilling bc we know that they are the exception…not the norm. And certainly not something we or CSU can ever truly expect to come within shouting distance of achieving.

      So, if the playing field is the only literal part of college football that is remotely level, can we ever expect better than the unending instability this program has embodied since the Curse of Barnett feel upon the flatirons? Cause, either this shit is akin to the Bambino Curse…or major college football is essentially closed to us as a viable option for competing. Any coach or player that does well at CU gets poached. And that’s not looking like it will change. So how does a team with no success, little resources, and a rather tepid alumni donor base ever expect to get anywhere? Most of the time, we will just suck out loud, and the few 2016 moments we stumble into along the way (very few, 1 in the last 20 years) will be immediately followed by having the coaching staff poached and the better players pursued. Or even the second string, the future starters.

      Sorry, didn’t intend to dump this on you, but not sure where else it makes sense. This doesn’t feel like a sport any more, it feels like kabuki theater.

  2. First time commenter, long time reader. Thanks Stu for your ongoing site and insightful articles. My only comment as a long term fan is I am not sure firing the current coach will benefit the program at this point. As Stu pointed out it is a young team and IF the rooster stays about the same for next year one would think there would be better playing with the experienced gained. A new coach would still be in an unsupportive administrative environment without any long term plans as of yet of using the transfer portal to their advantage. Plus the money lost letting him out of his contract would be a big hit. I am still proud to be a BUFF FAN. I am looking forward to watching CU play UW in Seattle later in the season. My daughter is a senior this year at UW and I will be there in full CU garb to watch. I do admit however I might enjoy the pregame imbibing a little more than usual. Here’s hoping for an upset!

    1. The front 7 is far from young… And we’re the worst rushing defense in the country. We’re 0-4 having lost by and average of 30+, and we’re a 17 point dog to AZ. I think firing the coach is warranted and it gives us an opportunity to find a better coach before some other programs fire their coach. Come on man!

      1. add to that the longer KD keeps getting blown out the worse recruiting gets. Putting in an interim may not improve it much but might keep the program from bleeding completely to death.

  3. Mountain West?seriously?We would get out buts kicked in the Mountain West. Right WY, AF, Boise SD State are locks for a loss and Sac State and SJ State are starting to look tough.
    If nothing gets better we are talking about the Big sky and the Buffs have had their problems there in the past.
    Will the rest of the PAC want to keep the Buffs around for an auto win or will they just be too embarrassing?
    I have seen enough blowouts to feel this will never get better under the current staff.
    So whadda ya do? ride with em until the disgusting buy out goes down or cut your losses on the field right now? I’m not sure if Turley is doing a good job with the way the lines are manhandled.
    and for Gott’s sake DO NOT HIRE ANYONE ELSE WHO HAS JUST BEEN FIRED ELSEWHERE. The Buff’s HC’s have done that now under Micky Mac and now Dorrel.
    Under Mickey Mac the OC was fired at where? SC? yea but he was an SEC guy….vomit. And who would a thunk Chev would have been such a stick in the mud with all his experience under the air raid and pro’s. That goes for Dorrel too. Now we got the latest stick in the mud with Chev part deux. (and why is KD not taking things into is own hands? its head on the block.)
    Some how, some way, RG is going to have to find a real coach with McCartney’s passion and Leach’s imagination. I wish I had a video of KD’s interview and the Football admin’s deliberations before the hire.
    And they will have to look for him pretty far under the radar. And if they do get one give him a decent salary with no buyouts but be ready to pay him enough if he succeeds to prevent him from getting poached.
    In the meantime go to the option, make Hagan the OC and see if Lewis can pull that off. Use the damn bye week to try it or something else different.

  4. Gut Check – an evaluation or test of a person’s resolve, commitment, or priorities, typically with respect to a particular course of action.

  5. Thank you for the article.
    I can’t believe how far this program has sunk! I’m very proud to be a Buff. Have had season tickets/ tailgate spot in past seasons. I’m now at a point where I don’t even watch the games live on TV- I record them and then don’t even watch them.
    Until CU leadership makes the football a priority nothing is going to change. I no longer have have faith in George to hire a football coach that can turn the program around and if George does hire “good” coach I have no faith that the contract will be signed to will be favorable to CU. George is suppose to be a great fundraiser but how much has extending McIntire and signing Dorrell cost CU in terms of paying off bad contracts?
    Again, I love the Buffs but times are desperate and major changes are needed!
    Go Buffs!

  6. There are so many disappointing things about this team, but to me the biggest is O and D line play. They are getting pushed around like rag dolls. And the lines aren’t young and inexperienced. On D the ILBs have been absolutely terrible in gap assignment, and they aren’t young and inexperienced.

    The Beavers-Trojans game last night was so entertaining to watch. A lot of athleticism and speed on both teams.

        1. Well, the bummer is, it appears however and wherever Karl learned his trade, he learned how to make a team worse every year. And after last year, that was not an easy task.

          Go Buffs

          1. It’s okay cornholer it’s okay

            Wacky macky did it for 3 years you mean make it worse. I didn’t hear you saying things like that then.

            HCKD gets his 4th year too.

            But now your a goon leading the woke mob. Good fit

            You and rooney.

            What a couple of fakes.

            Go Buffs

          2. VK Berlin..Macintyre went 0-12? I don’t remember that. Guy wasn’t a gem, but his teams never looked like this. Never.

          3. Well maybe the first year. But he inherited the Embree dumpster fire and won 4 games. But got blown out a lot. But not 0-12.

          4. Dude. Really? Since you keep living in the past, the point differential and “missed opportunities” and overall competitiveness under macintyre improved every year. Even the painful 2017 and 2018 years. How we miss those halcyon days.

            You are delusional, losing credibility with every post.

            Bo Guffs- best ad ever

  7. Hate to admit but stopped watching…better for the mentals. What I’ve noticed during HCKD time is the lack of improvement our players show YoY. No one pops as ‘improved’. One example, T Lang, has somehow got less impactful every year.

    1. A few years ago T Lang looked like an NFL player. Wtf happened to that defensive line?!

      Agree that HCKD team looks worse and worse every year. Hell, every game.

      Even the Embree teams at least you could kinda see the defense start to figure out what they would be doing schematics wise, even if they didn’t have the talent to execute.

      But this team? Oof.

  8. If you’re squeamish, don’t read this article. Spot on Stuart. Wonder if Owen’s dad and uncle are getting in HCKD’s ear asking how he plans to not get the kid seriously injured. I’ve written this elsewhere, but HCKD needs to be FCKD (former that is) because with him, we are FCKD.

  9. New definition of despair. I hope the powers that be are identifying the quickest way to get out of the bottom and putting the plan together…..I have my doubts.

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