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Serenity NOW!

It was 11:36 p.m., MT … and I was pissed.

It wasn’t just that the CU game against USC had taken almost four hours to complete (3:55 to be exact, the fifth-longest game in Colorado history, and the second-longest in regulation), although having to stay up past midnight to finish the game write up certainly didn’t help my mood.

It wasn’t just that CU had just finished getting blown out … again.

I was pissed because USC had decided to score with 36 seconds to play.

On the play before the last minute touchdown, with USC already up 48-17, the Trojans threw the ball for an 11-yard completion. To recap: USC … ahead by 31 points with one minute left on the clock … was throwing the ball. The completion took the ball down to the Buff three yard line, with backup running back Darwin Barlow taking in on the next play.

Yes, I understand it is CU’s responsibility to stop the opposing offense. The Buffs had their chances on the final drive, just as they had chances early in the second quarter when USC converted a third-and-19, a third-and-23 and a first-and-25 on the Trojans’ first touchdown drive of the game.

No, I wasn’t mad because the final points had pushed the final score beyond the spread of 34.5-points. My prediction for the game was a 52-20 score, so a 55-17 final wasn’t exactly a surprise, though taking the Buffs and the points proved to be a bad bet because of the final meaningless touchdown.

No, what pissed me off was that USC, despite the game being well in hand, was throwing the ball and trying to score … for style points.

The game ended after 1:30 a.m., Eastern time on Saturday, so none of the pundits would be awake to note Lincoln Riley’s lack of sportsmanship.

And it’s not as if USC needed to beat CU by more points than they did.

USC is currently ranked 8th in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Trojans have games against No. 12 UCLA, No. 20 Notre Dame and then, in all likelihood, No. 6 Oregon. Win those three games, and the 12-1 Pac-12 champion Trojans would be all but assured of a College Football Playoff berth.

They didn’t need another touchdown against hapless Colorado. They could have taken a knee with a minute to go. CU had three time outs remaining, and wasn’t calling them.

USC didn’t have to score, but apparently beating lowly Colorado by the score of 48-17 wasn’t impressive enough.

And that, dear friends, is how absurdly low the Colorado program has fallen … that beating the Buffs by 31 points isn’t enough.

And it isn’t enough to pour it on.

They have to pour salt on the wounds as well.

It isn’t enough that CU fans are already suffering from one of the worst seasons in school history … we have to watch former players succeed against us.

USC had Mehki Blackmon starting at safety, with Brenden Rice starting at wide receiver. Blackmon had three tackles, while Rice had three catches for 70 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.

This coming a week after watching Christian Gonzalez intercept two passes on Oregon’s behalf in Folsom Field.

Just more reminders that CU is not only not relevant this year, it’s hard to hard to imagine CU becoming relevant next year … or the next few years after that.

CU finally has an NIL Collective, with Buffs4Life launching one recently … but we have no idea whether it is being successful.

Compare:

  • This past week, Oregon State supporters got serious about joining the NIL game. A new booster collective popped up on Thursday morning. “Dam Nation” bills itself as “The preferred collective of Oregon State athletics.” It was founded by a former Nike executive named Dick Oldfield and Kyle Bjornstad, a former OSU associate athletic director. The collective has partnered with Learfield, a collegiate sports-marketing agency. Learfield has pre-existing OSU sponsor connections.
  • Arizona State has the “Sun Angel Collective.” Jeffrey Burg is one of the founding members. Burg told Jon Canzano after the launch that the collective quickly raised more than $1 million. It focused on soliciting recurring donations from its massive alumni base.
  • Oregon, or course, has “Division Street, Inc.” — launched by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and some other high-profile UO boosters.
  • And Washington State has the “Cougar Collective.” It gave transfer quarterback Cameron Ward a $90,000 package that includes an apartment, a leased truck and flights to Pullman, Wash. for his parents.

Think the Buffs4Life Collective “quickly raised more than $1 million”? Think the Buffs4Life Collective has Nike support, or another company with an endless pipeline of funding? Think the Buffs4Life Collective is prepared to spend $90,000 to go out and get CU a quarterback this off-season?

Neither do I.

Which means that the Buffs are likely doomed to have a net loss of talent this upcoming offseason.

Yuck.

So, I’ve been thinking …

I’ve always told my wife that I work on CU at the Game for myself. It’s certainly not a money maker, and is a huge time drain.

I always told my wife that when CU at the Game wasn’t fun anymore, when it became a job … I would quit.

And at midnight last night, as I was pecking away with the game story – a 55-17 game story for a 1-9 team – it certainly felt like a job.

Last night was the first time I started thinking about quitting, and I have to admit it has a certain appeal.

“Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was the title for the final episode of M*A*S*H, which aired on February 28, 1983, bringing to an end the 11-year run on the iconic series. In the United States, the episode drew 105.97 million total viewers, which remains the most-watched program in television history not named “Super Bowl” (and the M*A*S*H episode ranks above all but eight of those).

The M*A*S*H series finale was a big deal in our dorm, as I hosted some 20 fans in my little single room (not that I was popular. It was because my room faced south, towards Denver, and got the best rabbit ear reception … kids, ask your grandparents to explain what I’m talking about).

Not that CU at the Game is in the same universe as M*A*S*H, but I have always remembered the title to the episode, and thought it would be an appropriate title to my sign off essay for the website.

I’ve never had a planned date to end the website, but there have been times when I have thought about a good cut off date. CU at the Game came into being in 1996. I relied upon the gracious help of the late great Fred Casotti (former CU Sports Information Director and Historian) and Dave Plati (soon to be former CU Sports Information director, and Historian in waiting) to give me access to CU’s files, so that I could go back during the off-seasons during the late 90s to put together writeups for every game from 1980 to 1995 (1980 being my freshman year at CU).

I have written contemporary game stories for every game CU has played since the 1996 opener. The website has been up and going since 2008; the podcast since early 2020.

I have posted something on the website every day  – 365 days a year – since 2008. That’s a lot of consecutive days creating original material; posting links to Daily Camera and CUBuffs.com stories; and scouring the internet for Pac-12 and national football stories relevant to the CU football program.

And there has been a lot of disappointment over those years, with CU having all of two winning seasons during that span, while enduring some of the worst football Colorado has ever produced.

No worries. I’m not quitting today.

But it might be coming soon.

I am going to wait to see who CU hires as its next head coach.

I am going to wait to see how the Recruiting Class of 2023 plays out.

And … I’m going to see how the Transfer Portal works out for the program. If the Buffs4Life NIL project is the real deal, and CU updates its transfer policies to allow CU coaches to at least talk to potential transfers, I might stick with it.

If, however, CU has another net loss to the roster, there’s no point in continuing the charade of believing CU is a Power Five program.

If we get to February, and its clear that the University of Colorado isn’t interested in giving its coaches and players a chance at being competitive, I’m going to pull the plug.

I will still be a Buff fan. I will still be a season ticket holder. I will still cheer my lungs out for my team.

I just won’t have a website anymore.

—–

23 Replies to “Serenity NOW!”

  1. Before you just outright quit and I wouldn’t blame you if you did, try scaling back a bit. Instead of writing TIPS and doing podcast, just do the podcast. Also, the loyal followers of this site won’t mind if you miss a day or two posting. If we want to read an article we can always go Buffzone or the Athletic or CUBuffs.com directly. Bottom line if you’re losing your passion no one could blame you.

  2. I don’t post often, but I said earlier this season that it amazes me that you have the patience to keep writing about this program when it basically never gives us anything to be happy about. I’ve been a Buff die hard all my life, but the last 20 years have broken me as a fan. We’ve won 1 bowl game this century. 22 years. 1 bowl game, and it was a minor bowl, against UTEP, and we could easily have lost. But beyond even the strict wins and losses aspect; we’re never fun to watch. Never. Somehow we’re simply incapable of finding a quarterback. It’s our Everest. Oh, we have lots of guys that come through with a little “QB” by their name on the roster, but we haven’t produced a legitimate NFL quality quarterback since Koy Detmer, and he was just a journeyman backup at the next level. With all the coaches and scouts that have come through here, how is it possible that we are fundamentally unable to find someone who can play the position? Remember when Baylor went from being a hapless, helpless mess to being really good? RGIII made the difference. In the quarter century since Koy Detmer graduated we’ve had no one. Not one guy who can make that difference. That is astonishing. So, here we are. The game has changed, the rules have changed, and the program is in a death spiral. I don’t blame you at all for being ready to hang it up. I just want to say thanks for all the dedication you put into this. I have had many hours of entertainment on your site and it will be missed.

    1. This.
      I’ve been going to CU football games for a long time now, but I gave up my season tickets this year. They’ve got to decide if they want to play football or not up there. Either way is fine, just let us know.

      1. Our score differential this season is 157 – 417. Surreal. We’ve only allowed fewer than 40 points twice this year and in one of those two games the opponent scored 38. The other was our “dead-cat bounce” game where we surprised Cal. We can’t score points, but we make up for it by not playing defense. We are absolutely putrid. Virtually no talent, and any talent we have is likely to leave in the portal. I agree with you completely. Either we need to start caring about football or just shut it down.

    2. we had one ….Sefo. Montez wasnt bad either. He managed to be a backup or practice squad for a while. The problem is coaching.When are we going to find a coach that:
      doesnt have a kid on the team
      hasnt been fired elsewhere
      brings a staff with imagination and courage on offense….that knows how to use a QB.

      1. I couldn’t disagree more. Sefo and Montez weren’t as awful as the other JAGs we’ve had, but they wouldn’t have started at any other P5 school. Sefo had heart and guts, Montez could sling it a little bit, but outside of one gritty run in 2016 (which still ended in us getting smoked in the bowl) what did they accomplish? I submit for your consideration that 2016 was more about a defense that played out of their minds for Jim Leavitt, and a running game that could carry the offense. We haven’t had a legitimate quarterback in so long that it defies statistical probability. You would think somewhere along the way even by accident we would have found a guy who could change games on his own. You have MAC schools that have sent more quarterbacks to the NFL than we have in the last 30 years. And yes, that’s the standard since we stubbornly insist year after year in trying to run a pro-style offense. I mean, I would be thrilled if we just said “eff it, we’re going to play triple option.” At least that would give us a chance to compete against superior talent. The service academies are proof; Air Force isn’t more talented than CU, but they still boat raced us. Something has to change, and I don’t think it’s just shuffling the staff yet again. Either we need more talent, or we need to radically change our approach to the game.

  3. Stuart, thank you, so much, for all that you do – EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

    Totally agree on the importance of NIIL developing in a positive direction/way.

    Regarding the upcoming coach search, yes on the TCU coordinator, yes on Rhule, and yes on Gary Patterson the former TCU coach. The BIGGEST yes, at least for me, is the Coastal Carolina Coach. Jamey Chadwell. He has won at every one of his jobs, and his DNA is quite comparable to Coach Bill McCartney. Seeing him talk about football, life, “buy-in,” and faith, he is a replica of Coach McCartney. He would get people fired up with his sincerity from Day One,… Maybe,…

  4. Some pretty fun football in the pac 12 this weekend. It illustrates and reaffirms that with a little belief, and a qb, things can turn around pretty quickly.

    Buffs have to keep Owen, and add 30lbs to his frame, keep Staub committed, and help jt improve his fundamentals. And get a coach who can sell his vision and the plan to get there.

    The roster is better than this year’s record shows, by a win or three. Next year, if they can keep them together, there’s a lot more experience and maybe depth.

    Go Buffs

    1. Honestly if you swap JT Shrout with a QB like Arizona’s de Laura, CU’s record would be very very different.

      JT is really just.. That bad.

      There was a comment on the reddit post game thread that cracked me up:

      >Colorado looks like Army if Army tried to switch to a spread offense for a week

      1. A qb makes a lot of difference. Cannon arm on jt. Sadly, with about the same accuracy as a cannon. I think he is ok at reading defenses and knowing where to go with the ball. And I think he’s a team guy. Can someone working exclusively on his mechanics help his accuracy? I don’t know. But I sure hope so.

        Go Buffs

  5. Stu,

    You have been through this diatribe several times.

    Don’t like it.

    What is your wife going to laugh at…………………………….if you can’t show her my posts?

    Settle down!

    The worm always turns. We just got a slow worm

    Quit looking down the rat hole.

    Pound some cervasa

    Get a hangover

    And get back to rolling

    The VKB……………orders it to be so

    Say hi to the Wifey. She puts up with alot………………..YOU

    vk

  6. It would be another loss for the Buff Nation if CU at The Game came to a close. Stu, hold on pass February, as Phil DiStefano steps down after destroying CU standing as an academic and athletic institution. Let’s see who replaces Phil, hopefully the egg heads put it together mind/body applies to the health of Universities as well.

    In regards to NIL, last I checked we have a sports management program at CU. Let’s use the student body and let them gain real world experience. I think everyone should watch the FIFA documentary on Netflix, it’s a roadmap of the corruption that will plague NIL programs in a few years. Uhhhm, Coors family, alums of the University… possibly throw down some $, beer and football kind of go hand in hand.

    It’s hard to watch our top players transferring to other Schools, for now it feels like we’re a glorified JUCO with a really nice campus. That said,Keep the faith Buff Nation. UConn just qualified for a bowl game… if they can do it, we’ll eventually rebound.

  7. Stu, this season is tough. The toughest since I started perusing your site. I completely understand your feelings. I don’t think the talent is nearLy as far as it was in 2012. The coaching, which I was so positive of in the off-season, is really really bad. I think the right coach might be able to come in an make a difference really quickly. Now can they get the righ5 coach….not so sure. But as always I am an optimist.

  8. Thanks for pouring out your heart, Stuart. I read something on your site almost daily.
    I hear a heaviness I haven’t heard from you before, and I have it too. College football is much different now (it feels like it happened so quickly) and there are too many variables for CU to correct. As much as I want the CU program to succeed, I still can’t wrap my head around paying players–along with high school recruits–to play this game. I know I’m supposed to “get with the times and just live with it,” but I can’t…and I won’t. So I’m proud of CU for not jumping on this bandwagon.

    At the same time, since we can no longer compete at a P5 level, it’s time for CU leadership to move us along , into levels of athletic competition that honor academic institutions for what they are and allow for its students to engage in athletic competition that doesn’t drain the university’s soul.

  9. I’ve been thinking about CU going to the Group of 5 conference. Without a serious NIL group it makes the most sense. CU could go from a perennial losing program to a winning program. It would be able to keep its players as players are more likely to stay with a winning program. Another key factor is the expansion of the playoffs to 12 teams, there is a much more likely path to the playoffs if CU is a champion of a Group of 5 conference than CU winning a Power 5 (or 4) championship. Yes they would be a lower seed but still in the playoffs. Right now they have no path to the playoffs under the current NIL rules. They will continue to be cherry picked and have to field underclassman year after year only to see the talented ones leave.

    1. The Boulder NIL Club is only up to $3,870.50 per month, so a little less than $50k per year spread out over the entire team…. after the administrative fee is taken into consideration each player gets like $35-$40 per month. Meanwhile Brendon Rice gets to drive around in Ferraris and the like… we’re doomed I tell you… doomed!

      1. The BoulderNILClub is different from the Buffs4Life NIL program.
        BoulderNILCLub is set up and run by players. Yes, it’s only at $3,870.50 per month, but the EugeneNILClub for Oregon players is at $6,118/month, SaltLakeCity for Utah is at $4,377/month, and the TucsonNILClub for Arizona players is at $0.00.
        BoulderNILClub is not the problem … or the solution

  10. Thanks Stuart for all you do. Keep it up until you don’t want to. We’ll survive somehow.

    Anyone remember the USC game at Folsom in 2011? Lane Kiffin had their QB Barkley go for his record sixth TD pass in the last minute of the game. Final score 42-17. Such a low class program. I was so angry. We had already moved down to the front row right behind the USC bench, and stood right behind Kiffin. We were screaming our heads off at him. Don’t think I could speak for a day. Probably not one of my more mature moments, but I tell you it was way better than screaming at the TV.

  11. Hopefully that rant ….er vent…..got some of that quitting out of your system. Please dont leave us with just Rooney and Howell …. and Neil takes too long to post something.
    You got me to thinking about what I watched on the tube during college. My second year I lived in Mrs Boone’s boarding house….I think on Walnut. I tried to find it again a few years ago but it seems like the entire town has been razed and rebuilt into multistory buildings. You almost have to find your way around between 17th and who knows how far east by going through a maze of parking lots
    but I digress
    At lunch time at Mrs Boone’s all us tenants would watch one of the soap operas from the dining table hooting and hollering. That was about it for TV. Too much socialising going on after classes.
    back to the game
    Its not too much of a stretch to believe those spoiled brat fans at USC had a lot more riding on the spread than you did. I would think that alone put Riley under a lot of pressure. Expecting him to take a cut would be unrealistic looking at jeopardizing what he is already making.
    Back to Mrs Boone’s
    One of our fellow boarders was the dude who distributed the Rocky Mountain News to all the pre pube types who took it to the door. He was also a bookie (with the Smaldones?) He only did pro games though. My dad was a packers fan so I stuck with them and made enough money to help greatly with my tavern tabs.
    Ahhh the memories from a guy who had to scratch and claw his way through college. Love to do it again if I could.
    Made all the Buff games in the Senior section. They made you show your class schedule to get tickets so I found a senior who wasnt interested in football who would loan me his.

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