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Sipping the CU Kool-Aid

It’s been a long nine months for the Buff Nation.

When last seen in competition, the Buffs were limping off the field against Utah, falling 28-13 last November. The final score was not indicative of the beat down the Buffs suffered at the hands of the Pac-12 Champion Utes, however, with Utah outgaining CU, 444 yards to 148. The Buff offense only generated two field goals that afternoon (with CU’s touchdown coming as a result of a 100-yard kickoff return by Nikko Reed), with one field goal “drive” going three plays for zero yards after an interception, the other field goal being a 56-yarder by Cole Becker just before halftime.

And it’s not like the anemic offensive performance was anything new. Even in defeating Washington, 20-17, the weekend before, the Buffs were outgained, 426-183. For the season, the CU offense was 126th in the nation in passing; 121st in scoring; and 129th in total offense. The Buffs finished 4-8, 3-6, but every Pac-12 loss was by 15 points or more.

The 4-8 final record matched that of USC, but the off-seasons for the two teams could not have been any more different.

USC did not take its final record sitting down, hiring away Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, then setting about to bring in top assistants, and then buy – sorry, lure – quality transfers to play for the Trojans. USC immediately went from an embarrassment to a playoff contender.

Meanwhile, in Boulder … 

— Head coach Karl Dorrell did purge the the offensive coaching staff, with running backs coach Darian Hagan the only survivor. Offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini was replaced by Minnesota offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, who was not retained by the Golden Gophers. While a change at coordinator was certainly required and long overdue, the hiring of Sanford did not make a national splash, barely meriting mention in the national press.

— CU’s long march through the offseason was then made all the more difficult to endure when six starters defected through the Transfer Portal. To add insult to injury, four of the transferees (Mehki Blackmon and Brenden Rice to USC; Christian Gonzalez to Oregon; and Mark Perry to TCU) left for teams the Buffs would face in 2022 (with both Blackmon and Gonzalez making preseason All-Pac-12 teams). The Buffs did add several players to their roster through the Transfer Portal, but none who rated as highly as some of the players CU lost.

— The Recruiting Class of 2022 was large (25 members), but did not bring in a single four-star recruit, and, despite the size, ranked no higher than 45th nationally (Rivals; 47th at 247 Sports).

— Then, as other schools announced NIL opportunities for the their students, and “boosters” at other programs announced multi-million dollar collectives to help “recruit” star performers to their schools, the University of Colorado remained relatively silent. CU did establish a portal through INFLCR for student-athletes to obtain NIL opportunities, but has left it largely to the players to market themselves (Jeremy Dougherty has been tweeting for the past several months about a CU Collective – the latest … When the @CUBuffsFootball team wins another national championship, it will be a simple reflection of a much bigger accomplishment. We will announce as soon as we can. We will need everyone’s help. #believeinthebuffs … but as of this writing, nothing has been announced).

Which all has led to a cavalcade of negative press leading into the 2022 season … 

— CU has been picked to finish last in the conference in the preseason Pac-12 media poll, well behind an Arizona team which has one exactly one game in the last 34 months. The Pac-12 preseason media All-Pac-12 teams included at least two players on the first two teams from every school in the conference, except for Colorado, which had no first- or second-team All-Pac-12 selections;

— Athlon has CU as the No. 92 team in the nation, last in the Pac-12, projecting a 3-9 record for the Buffs;

— Lindy’s has CU as the No. 83 team in the nation, last in the Pac-12;

— CBS Sports rankings as CU as the No. 98 team in the nation, behind every team CU will face in 2022, and ahead of only three other Power Five schools – Kansas; Duke; and Vanderbilt;

— Las Vegas has put the over/under on CU wins at 3.5 (with CBS Sportsline advising its readers to take the under);

— ESPN’s Football Power Index has CU as the No. 100 team in the nation, behind every team CU will face in 2022 … giving the Buffs a 2% chance at making a bowl game.

— Colorado is listed as a 10.5-point underdog at home to TCU in the season opener. Want to guess how many Power Five schools are opening the season as a double-digit underdog at home? Two … CU and Georgia Tech, which is a double-digit underdog at home against Clemson.

And yet … 

As is the case with every other fan base in the nation, hope springs eternal. With the opening of Fall Camp, excitement is renewed. The pads come out of storage, and the fan base gears up for another season with new energy.

“Obviously, on paper we’re supposed to be terrible,” Sanford said this past summer. “Everybody’s saying that. But I think internally there’s a different feeling.”

More recently, Sanford had this to say about his offense: “We have a lot of talent on this roster. Not a lot of people outside of this building are giving us a lot of respect for the talent we have. We believe in the kids that are in this room. So we wanted to praise the model. When they do what we’re asking them to do, we want to praise them for that. When they make great plays, we want to praise him for it.

“That is by nature, how I’m wired.  I’m probably, to a fault at times, the ultimate optimist.”

Neill Woelk outlined several reasons for optimism heading into the season in an article just before Fall Camp opened, including: An upgraded coaching staff; a new offense; an upgrade in quarterback play; and a more comfortable defense. More recently, Neill has penned an article citing CU’s improved depth across the board, stating:

The depth on the Buffs’ roster is arguably the best CU has had in recent years. There are true position battles throughout nearly every position group — and each group has young players who can step in and contribute.

The importance of such depth is hard to overstate.

It means injuries will not be immediate catastrophes and the Buffs will enjoy the luxury of fresh bodies in the midst of a game. It means competition in practice — and an ever-present reminder that the top spot on the depth chart is never a given.

Insight from inside the fences of CU’s Fall Camp, or wishful thinking from an insider? We’ll find out soon enough.

Perhaps the best summation of the state of the CU program can be found in Athlon’s final analysis … Dorrell is in his third year in Boulder, but this is still a rebuilding program. Outside expectations are low, but with a rebuilt staff and young talent, there is a quiet confidence. Dorrell is ready for the challenge: “I do believe by the time we line up and play, we’ll have a good 22 – first and second team – on both sides of the ball that can move and so some good things for us”.

The Buff Nation will be on hand for the 2022 season opener at Folsom Field (Friday, September 2nd, 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPN). A much larger Ralphie VI (“Ember”) will lead the team onto the field.

Buff fans will cheer on the new CU offense, which will be better (after being 129th out of 130 teams, it would be difficult to be worse). We will know early on if the new and improved Buff offense is indeed new and improved, or if this will be yet another long season, with CU’s hopes for a bowl bid (once again) extinguished before Labor Day.

Fall Camp will soon give way to game preparation. The first “T.I.P.S.” posting of the year is just two weeks away.

Every team in the nation is currently undefeated.

It’s time to at least sip the CU Kool-Aid.

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29 Replies to “Sipping the CU Kool-Aid”

  1. Stuart,

    This is a good article.
    And the comment section (is about the buffs and the season)

    represents where the Mighty Buffs fan base is at

    Torn to pieces. Wanting hope and looking everywhere to find it.

    Frustration coming and going in all directions.

    Seasons getting close.

    What’s it gonna be?

    Oh that first game what if they win. What if they lose.

    Even you Stuart have gotten a little, no more than a little, sour after a decade and a half of reality.

    Different words and sentence structure but in your comment section……….you see the Buff fan taking on all sorts of personalities to hopefully:

    SAY, OH NO NOT AGAIN. I CAN’T TAKE ANOTHER YEAR LIKE THE LAST 15

    be patient with us please.

  2. I am taking a sip now and then. Almost every player interviewed on O seems to say how fresh things are compared to last year and praising the “multiples” in the new offense. I just hope those multiples include a healthy dose of misdirection. ….which is something you are going to see a lot of from Air force. Also something that helps greatly when you are behind in individual talent or experience.
    Hope fully the younger players on D will stay with their assignments and not get suckered in.
    Speaking of D and the imbalance of game stats Stuart mentioned above the more yards we gain on O the less the yards allowed from the D. Its a mystery to me how Chev spent so much time in football including the air raid at tech and was so clueless when he was put in charge.

  3. OC Mike Sanford: “What I do want it to be known is that our players are learning a multitude of football and that’s probably the biggest hint that I would give is that we’re not just going to be one thing,” he said. “We’re going to have a multiplicity”

    Translation: We aren’t good enough at anything to hang our hat on it and make it our identity. So we’ll just keep trying different things and maybe something will work.

    Sounds like a Kool-Aid recipe for success!

  4. One reason for sipping the Kool Aid. At some point the 15 year dismal slump will end. And no one will see it coming. Is this it? Sure hope so…..

  5. I have to say I have sipped, then drank, and now chugged the kool-aid. Now some of my positivity is just my fandom getting in front of reason. I am excited to hear what Brian and Adam can share about the scrimmage tomorrow.

    1. I have a hard time judging what is good in a scrimmage, if the offense makes a play where was the D, same the other way. Plus they have to keep it simple to not give anything away, so doesn’t the defense have that in their favor?

  6. Not doing it. No kool-aid for me this year. Sorry. Maybe taking ep’s curmudgeon mantle is my calling? Nah. Just a temporary blip.

    Go Buffs

    1. Nah you always had it.
      Whip lash

      $2500 You want to double it?
      Or are you the squirrel in the road??

      bowl buddy

        1. ya boi,……….. you and your no faith you said it. Be true to your beliefs. I am.

          double it.

          You said you ain’t in to the Buffs so put your money where your mouth is Mr. Squirrel.

          So?

          In fact lets quadruple it. No wait 10 times. I am in for 500. And your 50 times that. So you up for it, Mr Squirrel?? What say you? You don’t believe it so pucker up boi..

          So??

          bowl bound

          Note: Putting money on a sure thing is not gambling boi!

          Note 2: Now do your dance.

          1. So put your money where your mouth is. $2500 straight up. You won’t do it. Why not? You say bowl game is a sure thing. Back up your talk, for once. Clown.

            Go Buffs

          2. And his dancing begins as predicted.
            Bring on the clown.

            You mouthed off with out thinking, as usual now it is gonna cost you $2500. Can’t wait.

            Note: Squirrels in the middle of the road rarely make it across. Don’t know which way to go.

            Bowl Bound Buffs

        1. What say you live up with your original proposal??

          And if you want to up it lets go.

          Buffs.

          Note: I already got your 2600. Who you think you are dealing with another banker?

    2. So the only reason you are “looking forward to the game” is so you can say “I told you so.” You know the old saying “any publicity is good publicity? Substitute the word attention and you have earache.
      Now that he has more, mea culpa, thankfully his daily novels in here, devoid of any real personal knowledge of what goes on in a game, have been less frequent.
      This why I think he is a non fan and just a subtle troll posting as headache, or give it a brake on other school sites. He says he was a wrestler. No program here. Wrestling is big in Nebraska. Posting there as ear worm?
      Taking a bet on 50 to 1 odds against his fandom? Lets call it phony fandom. Being the hedger he is There is a good chance if he loses he will find some lame excuse not to pay off.

      1. You’re hilarious. You’re able to hold two opposing thoughts in your misanthropic mind, aren’t you? We know VK can’t. Whoever he is.

        Go Buffs

        1. EP and VK are two peas in a pod that dominated Buffzone comments. For years they have attacked anyone critical of what has been going on with the Buffs. They used to defend Mike Bohn for firing Barnett and they were big Hawkins supporters circa 2006-8 until they turned on him. Great job guys!

          1. dig up my comment about Bohn firing Barnett
            I was a supporter of the Hawkins hire until the second year loss to CSU. How was anyone to know it was really Peterson at the time.
            Let me know when I attacked you and why
            and of course you never criticize anyone
            which makes me wonder why you never turned on Hawkins. You got a kid mr helicopter?

          2. Some people just float along in life unknowing but pretending to know. Now you Andy are pretty much just making crap up.

            It is interesting that you believe I personally dominated
            Buffzone. If I only knew I had such power.. Yur a ridiculous lil troll.

            Now as far as Barnett, you forgot to use TP, cause I live near him. play golf with him and fought those crazies tooth an nail

            Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd as far as the flimflam man,,,,,,,,Ya I had hopes.
            Bohn sold us a bill of goods. I bought it. But sold it quickly with a small loss. too bad Bohn ( and you )didn’t do the same thing.

            Now Andy I must have hurt your sensitive side sometimes in the past for you to be just making things up. Probably back in the troll infested BZ and its wild days where Buffs were Buffs and trolls were squished eh? Did I hurt you Andy? Did big bad VK make you cry?

            sorry andy, I didn’t know. But don’t be lying about stuff you know nothing about and continue to move on.

            Sheesh oh rama

            Note: Earache??

        2. 2 opposing thoughts? is that a rubber and glue tactic?
          You have already tried to alter your bet
          hilarious
          oh and
          interesting too.

          1. How have I tried to alter the bet? I offered it to you. You didn’t go for it. You must believe six wins are there then. Sure thing.

            Rob asked if I would carry the same offer for him. I said ok.

            VK wanted in. I said ok.

            VK taunted me. Again. I said put your money where your mouth is. Bet straight up. Even though he claims it is a sure win, he will not back up his talk with his wallet.

            So where did I alter my bet?

            And lastly, I believe this will be a rough year in the win column. Does not mean I don’t hope they prove me wrong.

            And guess who else is already talking about the future of the team?

            Go Buffs

          2. And here I thought that if I posted an essay about CU’s upcoming season, the comment section would actually be about the Buffs.
            Fair warning to those involved – knock it off, or face having all of your comments deleted.

          3. And to clarify, since I often seem to have to explain the obvious to you and vk, this is a new bet offered to our pal. Not an alteration to the existing bet. Hey, wanna bet he won’t take it?

            Go Buffs

        3. misanthropic
          Very interesting word and you use it quite often.

          Are you living in that world? Trying to get out?

          Anyway just remember when you get out of yur fog each morning to say (scream)

          I AM GONNA HAVE TO PAY VK TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS.
          Thank you

          1. Nah. You’ll try to get out of paying me $35 and Rob will make good on his $15.

            Still odd you won’t actually put your money where your mouth is.

            Go Buffs

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