If we’re getting this much hate, we’re doing something right

David Ubben, CU beat writer for The Athletic, posted an article entitled, “Deion Sanders’ Colorado experiment will soon be put to the test — how do players think it’s going?”. In it, Ubben interviewed a number of Buff players, asking their opinions as to the current state of Colorado football, just weeks away from the debut of the Coach Prime era.

The comments were almost universally positive:

— “I didn’t know how the process was going to work, how we were going to jell together,” said outside linebacker Jordan Domineck, one of 18 graduate transfers on the new roster. “We’ve jelled so well, it feels like we’ve been together a lot longer than we actually have.”

— “Everybody says it’s impossible, but I don’t think it’s impossible at all,” said offensive tackle Savion Washington, who followed his position coach Bill O’Boyle and head coach Sean Lewis, Colorado’s offensive coordinator, from Kent State to join the Buffs in December. “It hasn’t been as hard as I thought. I’ve been here eight months, and I feel like I‘m locked in with everyone.”

— “Championship, that’s our goal. That’s what we want to reach for our first year, no matter what,” said defensive lineman Shane Cokes, who arrived from Dartmouth. “We’re all working together to reach that common goal, and it comes from the top down, having Coach Prime’s idea in mind of winning that championship. It’s not a bounce-back year, go 6-6.”

The comments from the players were almost universally positive. Not so much in the comments section:

— I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that Colorado doesn’t win a game this season. Entirely new coaching staff, scheme, and this many new players? 0 for the season.

— We’ll see. I’m not a fan of Prime-Time. This name reflects exactly why. Lots of sizzle and no steak. This isn’t Jackson State. We will see how his act works as the competition improves. I’m not sure how far this act can carry a Colorado team, when they have to leave the cafeteria..

— When one runs his mouth like Sanders he’d better deliver a winning season and then a bowl game in his first season….especially after giving his team the portal enema. He’s got “his” guys (and coaches) now and they are all sitting together at the same table…there is no room for any excuses. I believe him when he says he does not care…especially if it involves anyone or anything other than himself.

The comments from the readers are not dissimilar to the comments posted about pretty much any story about Colorado this off-season. These are college football fans who were completely dismissive of CU football nine months ago – if they took the time to think about the Buffs at all. Colorado lost games by an average of 29 points, had bottom ten numbers in almost every major statistical category on both sides of the ball, and were openly mocked the national media (recall CU “winning” the Bottom Ten on ESPN, and being the first Power Five team to be named the champion of the Bottom 25 playoffs on the CBS Sports website).

Rather than stand pat on the hand he was dealt, Coach Prime cleaned house. He famously called out the existing players on his first day on the job, and almost completely overhauled the roster over the off-season.

Instead of giving credit to the coaching staff for taking advantage of the Transfer Portal, opposing coaches who have spoken out have been pretty universal in their condemnation:

— Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi had no trouble calling out Coach Prime: “I grew up in a profession that you can’t tell a guy that he has to leave based on athletic ability,” Narduzzi said. “When you become a head coach you inherit that team and you coach that team. If someone wants to leave, that’s great. You don’t kick them out. I disagree with that whole process. That’s not why I got in the game.”

— Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule has been chattering – indirectly – about Colorado for months.“I had my first team meeting last night”, Rhule said last December. “I’m one of those guys, I don’t let cameras in, there won’t be a camera following me around. I want it to always be (about) the players.”

About Coach Prime being “not hard to find” in the Transfer Portal, Rhule had this to say: “I hear other schools talking about, they can’t wait for today, the transfer portal, they can’t wait to go out. I can’t wait to coach my guys. I’m not thinking about anybody else other than this team that’s out here.”

— And then there was this, from an anonymous Pac-12 assistant coach, quoted in the Athlon Sports preview magazine: “It feels like a lose-lose for (CU) with Prime. Either he’s gonna be really good, really fast and leave for another gig, which, looking at that roster, doesn’t seem possible. The alternative is that they’re gonna be bad and they’ll end firing him in a big circus. … Jackson State was so good because they could get FBS-level guys and beat on FCS rosters. That won’t happen here. They’re not a good roster right now. How does he handle losing big? We haven’t seen that.”

While Coach Prime, being who he is, will always attract haters, what has been surprising is how little credit he has been given for the roster and coaching staff he has put together. There are more four- and five-star players on the roster than at any time in recent memory, and there is a coaching staff with solid credentials who have signed on to the Coach Prime experiment.

And yet … when the Pac-12 media poll was released, Colorado was ranked 11th out of the 12 teams, beating out only Stanford. When Vegas oddsmakers put out their odds on the Buffs, Colorado was given an over/under mark of 3.5 wins.

Colorado at TCU? The Buffs are 20.5-point underdogs … a year after Karl Dorrell’s team was a 13.5-point underdog to TCU.

Colorado v. Nebraska? The Cornhuskers went 4-8 last season, including losses to Georgia Southern and 1-11 Northwestern. Nebraska hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2016, the longest drought in the Power Five … and has a first-year head coach who quietly has turned over about half of his roster while criticizing how Coach Prime has gone about his business.

And yet, Nebraska, on the road against Colorado, is an 8.5-point favorite.

While odds for every game of the upcoming season haven’t been posted, it’s a reasonable guess that, before the first snaps are taken, that CU will likely be considered betting favorites in only two games – home tilts against Colorado State and Stanford.

A 2-10 rebuilding year in Boulder under another first-year head coach, say Bronco Mendenhall, would have been seen as a reasonable goal for the woeful Colorado program, such a record in Coach Prime’s first year will be met with derision and a year-long chorus of “I told you so” by the haters.

Opposing fans are lined up, hoping CU will fail.

Opposing coaches are quietly praying that CU will fail, lest their fan bases start openly wondering why their team can’t enjoy a quick turnaround as well.

The networks will be putting CU front and center in September, trusting that, regardless of how the games turn out, the nation will tune in to watch the Coach Prime Show.

How will CU’s 2023 season turn out? No one knows. Coach Prime believes he knows, and he has a Champions Center filled with coaches and players who are drinking his Kool-Aid.

There is only one truism for this tumultuous off-season which is drawing to a close, and Jordan Domineck understands:

“This is the most hate a 1-11 team has gotten in the history of college football,” Domineck said. “If we’re getting this much hate, we’re doing something right. People are scared of us. I feel like that’s fear speaking out. So many people hate on us, but they don’t know what’s about to happen, they don’t see the work we put in and the talent we have.

“When we come out and show what we can really do, it’s going to shock a lot of people.”

Fingers crossed he’s right …


8 Replies to ““If we’re getting this much hate, we’re doing something right””

  1. Pre season conjecture is pointless and shouldn’t ever be taken seriously. My ultimate feeling is, if Shedeur is as good as everyone says he is, the sky is the limit. But I don’t know how to put a win total next to that given we have never seen it. Going into 2016 I felt we were good enough to win 6-8 games. “Experts” picked us last in the division that year. They were naive because, well, “experts” are stupid. I saw us go from losing big (2013), losing small (2014) losing infuriatingly (2015) to being a senior led team that is pissed off and ready to finally win. The problem with this team is I have nothing to go off of to render a judgment. The only thing I can think of is usc and TCU kind of did this last year. Usc went from 4-8 to an 11 win season regular season. TCU went from 5-7 to an undefeated regular season. Both of those are +7 in the win column. So with that mentality maybe 7 to 8 wins? But this is a much bigger scale and a much tougher schedule they faced. At the same time a great quarterback can allow anything to happen. Who knows, maybe the doubters are right, but I’m at a position to say nothing will surprise me this year because nothing like this has ever been done like this. So expecting something in order to be surprised is folly. Go Buffs!

  2. I’m drinking the koolaid with Coach Prime, I already have bets that he goes 6-6 or better. Its tough to see him without a few losses though, Oregon and USC have more 4/5 star players, plus USC has the best QB in the country.

  3. I have no idea how it will work out and anyone without power 5 experience watching every practice is just guessing. We are not Alabama but I wonder how Kelly feels away from the lights and the facility? Will Lewis’s offense work consistently? Will Kelly call a good defense, it’s been a bit since he called one? Will the great athletes from lower divisions put it together at the power 5 level? Will the back ups from behind other power 5 teams step up? I really don’t know the answers. I have hope though.

  4. “[neb’s (D*ck)] head coach, who quietly has turned over about half of his roster while criticizing how Coach Prime has gone about his business.”


    He’d probably say: “But, most of them left after I made that comment and I had to replace them.” It doesn’t matter how or when you pushed them out the door, in today’s portal world players leave “on their own” based on feedback and treatment from the new head coach and staff. Rhule may not have announced it publicly, but 40 something players chose to leave his program, probably told to leave or they were told how far down the depth chart they are, or… So hypocrite.

    Add the new recruits from HS and he’s got around 65 new players too.


  5. Wait till the Buffs start winning. The hate will increase 10 fold. Prime already has 6 to 8 more bulletin boards. Those crap mouth coaches didnt have very nice mothers. They are SOBs.


  6. I didn’t realize that Mutt Fhule has turned over half his roster since taking the Cornholers HC job. Hypocritical coach at Knubraska? Hard to believe. But he learned from the best (worst) of them all, Dr. Tom. Who covered for Lawrence Phillips abuse of women until he didn’t need him and hid Riley Washington’s gun in his safe so the “good” Dr. could “conduct his own investigation”. And then the Corn Nubs vote the d-bag to congress. Long memories in these parts for the sanctimonious creeps that reside to the northeast. Go BUFFS!!

    1. Your post popped up when I posted mine, same overall feelings regarding ALL of the hypocrisy from them.

      They also forget that they’ve been down as long as the Buffs and that their slide started with losses to the Buffs and the firing of their last good coach after those losses.

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