Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rockies move into competative franchise mode

Over the past 3 years the Rockies have fielded some pretty competitive teams; yesterday they took some steps to become a truly competitive franchise. 

First they locked up team leader Troy Tulowitzki.  When I say locked up, they took a man already under contract through 2014 and extended him out through 2020.  2020!  By then we'll have flying cars!  It's a decade long $134 million commitment that's none to surprising coming from Rox GM Dan O'Dowd.  This totally fits his M.O. of providing long term deals to franchise-level talent so they can act as the rock of the franchise (pun intended).  While O'Dowd whiffed on Mike Hampton's $124 million, 8 year deal in late 2000, in 2001 O'Dowd threw 9 years and $141 million at franchise cornerstone Todd Helton, and it's obvious that this Tulo deal is meant to echo the Helton one from a decade ago.  Position players are much easier to project long term production for, and this is why deals like the Helton one, and potentially this Tulo one, are usually safe-ish bets for a franchise.
(Homeboy's about to get paaaiiiiiiid)
Second, they agreement, in principal, to re-sign free-agent pitcher Jorge De La Rosa.  The word is that the pending deal is a 2-year contract for $21 million with various options for 3rd and 4th years.  It was widely accepted that Jorge was the second-best free agent starter available heading into the free agency period, and for the Rockies to keep him is a firm sign of their continued commitment to stay at the competitive level they had shown over the past 3 seasons.  Reportedly, they had been interested in Carl Pavano, but I'm glad they chose to stick with DLR.  Besides the fact that Jorge is 5 years younger than Pavano, and that he is a strong Latino role model in an area with a large Latino population, Carl has a history of blowing up in the faces of GM's who put financial faith in him.  Anyways, I think it's good policy to stick with talent already in your system as it avoids transition pains and keeps expectations in the realistic range.  The Rockies, from field staff to the front office, know what they're going to get from Jorge.

(Resigning talent like DLR is the first step to ensuring that the current success continues)

Sure, the Tulo deal is useless for current purposes, since he wasn't going anywhere (but I still like the deal.)  But combine it with locking up your big free-agent potential departure, and you've shown, in one fell swoop, that you are serious about remaining on top.  If the knock on Dan O'Dowd is that he routinely lets young talent leave after their 6 team-control years are up, then this can be a sign that the status-quo has changed, and that the Rox are willing to spend to keep the good times rolling.  Kudos to O'Dowd and the Rox for taking the necessary steps to remain competitive.  If they add one more decent free agency chip (say a veteran bat) for a reasonable price, then O'Dowd will have done his franchise a good service, and positioned them to win not only now, but in the future as well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: Breaking News! Buffs to hire Long-thought-to-be-dead Vince Lombardi at 3pm News Conference!

Over the Thanksgiving Break the Buffs went on the road and got horse-whipped by a team wearing red; the primary culprit was a piss-poor defense, however turnovers also helped lead to the crushing loss.  I'm not talking about the football team, I'm of course talking about the basketball team's shit-tacular effort in Boston yesterday morning.  That story, and more, as I dive into this week's grab bag....

Nebraska Loss - As the song goes "there is no place like Nebraska."  Thank God, cause I don't know if I could stand another joint like that one.  I have some pictures from my final trip to Lincoln (oooo, travel pictures!), but suffice to say any good times to be had were squashed by the team's let-down performance Friday Afternoon.  The Buffs wound up losing by 28 points, which can easily be attributed to 3 costly turnovers and a questionable onside kick which led directly to Husker scores.  All-in-all, CU never got going, and the Husker offense just pounded the Buff D into the ground.  When your offense only has the ball for 9 minutes in the first half, there's eventually going to be some defensive issues, and, while the unit played admirably, they looked tired and over matched all game long.  This loss kills any Cabral-for-coach plans, and ends the Buffs season and Big XII career on a low note.

Quickly on my trip: it wasn't all that bad.  The Husker fans were actually kind of nice this time.  Everywhere I went people would shout "Fuck the Big XII" and "Fuck Texas."  No animosity was thrown my way, and I even got some free beverages out of the thing.  Sure, Husker ugliness is usually reserved for when they lose, but the friends we met up with actually directed us to a pretty decent time.  Now if only it wasn't in Lincoln....

Pictures! - I admittedly suck at taking pictures, but it is what it is.  I've selected 5 pictures from the 5 I took during the trip; enjoy!

This is the view from my hotel room.  Awww, but I paid for ocean view!

A happy pregame tailgate moment

The precipitous drop from my seats. It was a full 4 or 5 stories straight down.  I'm surprised no one has died during a windy game before. 

The sun was in my eyes for most of the game, so this is the best crowd shot I could take prior to halftime.  THAS A LOTTA RED!

After the sun went down, Cody started throwing tipped interceptions, and all was lost.

The stadium had some lame fireworks display post game for the end of the Big XII era, or some such crap, but it wasn't worth my time to capture.  You may be asking yourself "Where's the picture of the traditional border crossing bathroom break?"  Well, for one, it was reaaaallllly cold when we crossed, and two, do you really want a picture of me pissing on a sign?  Other than that, when we got back to the hotel the others went swimming and I went to sleep because I'm old and lame; and so thus ends the pictography.

Coaching Rumblings - If you are following the search as closely as I am, you may have been slightly concerned when the inter-tubes lit up with the bogus news that Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt was going to be announced as the new Buffs head coach at a 3pm news conference today.  The rumor was started by some random website who couldn't even get Coach Mac's name right.  A whole bunch of people freaked out, assuming the worst.  It was bullshit, and all is back to normal.  It's not going to move that fast; we'll know when the guy is selected, and it won't be some random SEC blog breaking the news to us.  Hell, half the viable candidates haven't even been interviewed yet.  If it aint from a Colorado based source, I'm not putting to much stock in the information.

On that front, Bohn took the opportunity the Vikings/Redskins game provided to interview two of the leading "family" candidates.  Eric Bienemy and John Embree both got looks over the weekend, and certainly Bienemy is on the short list.  I've also heard Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun's name a lot, although I haven't talked to many fans who would want him as their top choice.

Basketball team loses to the smaht kids from Hahvahd - Sigh.... for the first time ever the Harvard Crimson have defeated a Big XII basketball team, and of course it was the CU Buffaloes.  The Buffs continued to stumble out of the gate, losing their 3rd road game in as many tries.  I listened to exactly 3 minutes of the first half before realizing what was going to happen and falling back asleep.  The same poor team defense that was present last season continues to plague the team this year, the difference is that the stellar offensive efficiency seen under the Bzdelik Hyper-Princeton offense is missing.  CU shot only 34.5% from the floor and had only 5 assists on 19 made baskets.  CU even managed to be out-rebounded by the small conference Harvard team.  Alec Burks was non existent in the first half, and the team struggled all second half to remain within 20 of the Ivy League Crimson.  In all reality any hopes of the NCAA Tournament have been flushed, and the team can only hope to make the NIT now.  The season's been a massive disappointment so far, and it's become clear that the dramatic change from Princeton-style to traditional offense is having a profound affect on this team.

TCU joining Big East - About that MWC move Boise St... it's not looking so good.  TCU has just announced planes to jump to the Big East of all places for the 2012 football season.  The move will be for all sports.  As of then the "new" Mountain West will be Boise St plus the left overs of the old MWC and the WAC; all the marquee names have jumped ship.  Imagine if the Utahs, TCU, and BSU had joined forces with Nevada, Fresno St, Hawaii, and Air Force.  That'd be a hell of an 8 team conference, probably even worthy of a BCS bid.  Instead, the powers all went their separate ways, leaving Boise holding the bag of shit at the end.  Let's all give Boise St the ole' sad trombone for effort!

Peyton Hillis - On the brighter side of life, I'd like to take a moment to trumpet the accomplishments of my man Peyton Hillis.  The bruising runningback we're apparently calling "the dumptruck," was plucked off the Josh McDaniels scrap heap (one man's trash is another's treasure) and is now diamonds in the hands of the Cleveland Browns (and my fantasy team).  Dude had another 3 touchdowns Sunday, and is reminding everyone of Mike Alstott.  Best fantasy pick-up ever!
(Your running back is now DIAMONDS!)

Josh McDaniels - Speaking of Josh McDaniels; it's probably not the best time to be giving your owner a convenient excuse to shit-can your ass.  As the Broncos continue to be consistently inconsistent, the revelation comes out that a member of McD's staff went and taped a 49ers practice in London.  After 15 loses in 20 games, you can't let something like that happen.  While I'll buy that Josh had nothing to do with it, and that his apologies were genuine, it's not a good time to be giving your detractors ammunition.  With Hawk gone, the Colorado sports constituency needs fresh blood, and it looks like J-Mac's going to give it to them.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Husker Preview

"Hate, son, hate; the great motivator" -- The Great White Hype

How do you sum up the rivalry that defined your CU experience?  I don't know if I can, but I'll give it the ole college try.   In this preview, for what very well could be the final time CU and Nebraska meet on the football field of battle, I'll try to sum up the rivalry, what it means to me, what it means to the CU fan base, and what I think the final meeting will entail.  I may not do it justice, but I promise you that this preview will be entirely biased.  I mean it; this post will be entirely 100% objectivity free. If you want objective analysis, head over to the Denver Post, where they whore out their paper to sell a few extra copies to the hick transplants.
("It's alright.  I just kicked the ever loving shit out of you, and essentially ruined your program for the better part of a decade, but at least you get the opportunity to embarrass yourself on national TV in a month.")

I'm headed East Friday morning at 1AM.  For the last CU-Nebraska game you better believe I'll be there.  It's the end of an era.  It may have been filled with too few CU victories, but it was a great era none-the-less and I'll miss it.  In the final game's honor I present this preview dedicated to hate.

Jump below for the hate-y goodness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick Post: Site-News; Thanksgiving break

Tomorrow I'll be posting my (probably) massive, 100% biased, Husker Preview.  It should be fun...

There will be no Friday Beer post, since I'll be at the game Friday.  If you're looking for a beer suggestion, then you have to go with Buff Gold.  No other beer is acceptable for Husker week.

Fuck 'em up, Fuck 'em up, Go CU!

Goodbye to the Big XII

I'm writing this now, rather than in early March when the basketball season ends, because, to be honest, the conference was created as a football conference.  With the final Big XII football game CU will ever play in going down Friday afternoon, this is certainly a more appropriate time to eulogize our time here.  At first, I was really pumped up for this post.  After 9 years of traveling to literally every backwater town the conference has to offer, I figured I'd have something poignant to say about leaving the Big XII.  I realized last night at 1AM that I don't.  In all reality, I won't really miss the Big XII; in fact, I'm very happy that I'll never see most of the schools ever again.

Sure, I'm going to miss the yearly Nebraska kerfuffle, I have some great memories from my trips to Dallas for the basketball tournament, and UT has a soft spot in my heart for being located in one of the few hospitable places the conference has to offer.  But, outside of that, there really isn't too much to miss from a conference of fly-over states.

A little history

While the Big XII is not dying (even though it is) the Big 8 is now officially dead.  It had lived on for 14 years as a meaty blob within a super-sized Texas husk; but now, with the departure of CU and Nebraska for greener pastures, the Big 8 is no more.  CU first became affiliated with many of their current conference brothers in 1948 when it left the Mountain States Conference (where we were confederates with little brother CSU and then, and future, big-time rival Utah) for what was at the time called the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association or the "Big 7."  The Big 7 at that time was made up of CU, Iowa St, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and K-State.  That's right, we've been associated with those schools for 62 years.  Oklahoma State re-joined the MVIAA in 1958 to become the "Big 8", and the league officially adopted the name in 1964.  The conference stayed the same for 30 years and in that time we won, or shared, 5 conference titles and, of course, won that national title of ours.  We were even one of the first schools to really challenge Oklahoma in the conference during the time that the Big 8 was known as "Oklahoma and the Seven Dwarfs." 
(Coach Eddie Crowder and the late-60's Buffs began to stand up to powerful Oklahoma.  From: the post)

In 1994, when it became apparent that the Southwest Conference would die a quick, yet painful, death, the Big 8 schools decided to throw their lot in with 4 schools from Texas to create the Big XII as we know it today.  The conference kicked off in 1996.  During the Big XII era we won the conference once and appeared in 4 title games over a period of 5 years.  In all sports, the Buffs have won a respectable 27 conference titles, second most in the North (behind "you-know-who"), even though we don't compete in as many sports as the other 11 schools.

(The highpoint of our stay in the Big XII)

A little perspective

I grew up in Big 10(11) land and only cared about CU from an outsiders perspective (although I was a fan). I don't even specifically remember the Big 8, having mostly experienced CU football in non-conference play prior to the Big XII years.  Maybe that's why I feel no larger attachment to the Big 8 schools. However, it is sad to see over 60 years of competitive relationships die.  For nothing but history's sake it's sad to move on.  But, if that's the only problem with moving to the Pac-12, then there's no problem at all.  You can never be held back by reminiscing.  The passage of time and the changes we make are what's good about life.  Think about how exciting it is to have opponents like Oregon and USC coming to Boulder; the excitement of next year is infinitely greater than had it been just another year in the Big XII.

But this isn't just change for change sake, we need to move on.  Those 4 Texas schools the Big 8 absorbed in 1996 have come to dominate the conference.  UT and A&M alone have more conference titles in all sports than the North, and the overall tally is South 269 to North 141.  Why did this happen?  Because CU, along with Nebraska, formed the backbone of strength in the North Division, and we haven't held up our end of the bargain.  I don't think we really should've been expected to in any sport other than football, but even there we've faltered.  Over the past 7 years both CU and Nebraska have endured a down-grade in football.  Since football is the only sport anyone cares about, this down-grade has permanently eroded the 2-division championship structure (which is why I'm against the championship format); and that's how we got to where we are with the dissolution of 60+ years of history.

A little conclusion

Eulogizing our time in the Big XII would be pointless without talking about our future in the Pac-12.  CU now moves on to a conference where it's not expected to carry the load it was expected to carry in the Big XII North.  USC, UCLA, and the Arizona's will do the heavy lifting the Pac-12 South needs to keep the conference balanced, and any gains CU makes will only create more competition in all sports.  If anything, we're located in a center of power with UCLA and it's over 100 national titles under it's belt.  Financially, competitively, academically, and environmentally we're headed for a better situation.  In addition, those November road trips to the barren wasteland that is the Great Plains are being replaced by trips to the California sunshine.  So, really, after it's all said and done, are you really going to miss KU, KSU, ISU, MU, OU, and OSU all that much?  I'm not.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: We're going to war

It's hate week, which means objectivity is out the door.  Great win Saturday for both the program and the seniors, and I think Cabral is inching closer to being a top-3 level candidate for the open coaching job.  Just saying, but had we fired Hawk sooner we could be closing in on that 9 win season I talked about a few months back...  Sigh.  Time to delve into the bag where I'll talk Speedy Stewart becoming Mr. Utility, Coaching Search rumblings, and the disastrous basketball loss in San Francisco.  On to the bag...

Win over KSU - Another impressive win is in the bag for Interim Head Coach Brian Cabral.  CU racked up 476 yards of offense, Speedy nearly cracked 200, Scotty grabbed the TD record, Cody had another near-perfect day, and the defense did just enough to win as the Buffs soared to a 44-36 win in the last Big-12 game ever to be played in Folsom Field.  The Buffs essentially spotted KSU 14 points through some awful special teams play early in the game, but the team never let their heads sag and scored 27 unanswered points to take control of the game.  Senior day went off without a hitch, and the fans even gave a great cheer when Cody was introduced.  A great way to send off a great set of Buffs.
(The family Hawkins on senior day; Cody would eventually win the well-deserved Buffalo Heart award.  From: The BDC)

I was a little concerned that KSU backup QB Carson Coffman was able to come in and spell the injured starter by throwing for 270 yards in limited action, but KSU was behind for most of the game, and they threw on almost every down of the second half.  While Coffman's effectiveness may have been unnerving, KSU's star RB Daniel Thomas' ineptitude running the football made me very happy.  He only grabbed 58 yards (season low) and had a very costly fumble.  It's the second straight running back that we've held to a season-low in yardage.  The Buffs defense added another 6 sacks, and generally looked strong except on 3rd/4th and long, where they gave up a few back-breakers.  Considering how strong they were on 1st and 2nd downs, there should be no problem shoring that area up for Friday's game against the hated corn.
(The Buffs D has gotten back to hitting.  From: The BDC)

Speedy fills up the stat sheet - Speedy did everything Saturday.  267 total yards; 195 rushing (with two scores), 49 receiving, and even 23 passing on a sweet HB option pass to Toney Clemons early in the second quarter.  Stewart is quickly becoming the Buffs workhorse as he grabbed 37 touches out of the 70 offensive plays that the Buffs called.  While he did fumble 3 times, they were all quickly recovered by CU with no harm done.  Speedy is quickly proving that, if he holds onto the ball, he can be one of the best backs in the country.
(Speedy's been a beast the last 2 games.  From: The BDC)

Coaching buzz - The big news over the weekend was that former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti withdrew his name from the search.  I absolutely expected this as I've said many times that Bellotti never seemed all that interested or drawn in by the job.  As a candidate I was never all that enthused anyway since, while he made great leaps in building the U of O program, they got better after he left, and he made most of those strides with Phil Knight's (Nike) blank checks being cashed all over the place.

On the brighter side of coaching; word is we are actively talking to Les Miles.  Yes, that Les Miles.  If Les is interested, this could be the greatest coaching coups in quite a while.  If he's seriously interested, we need to get this party started, and start honestly talking with him.  If not, let's move on to more viable candidates.  He should know our financial ceiling, and if that's  problem for him, he can't string us along for shits sake; hopefully Les is an honest broker, cause, while Bienemy was the top of my list last week, Les is my A-#1 choice if he'd come..

Cabral - Speaking of the coaching search, Brian Cabral has got to be on our shortlist at the end of all of this.  Whatever his dark Hawaiian voodoo is, it's working wonders fast.  It's obvious that he's focused the team on playing strong, fundamental football with a lot of passion and energy. The team seems to be playing free and easy, and as a result is playing extremely efficient football.  In the two games that he's coached Speedy has 76 touches out of 139 total offensive plays, Cody hasn't thrown a pick, and the defense has racked up 14 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries.  Those are areas that had been lacking under Hawk.  We've also avoided randomly chasing points by needlessly going for it on 4th down or going for 2 when it's not essential.  We're playing basic football; sometimes coaches make the game too complicated, and it seems that Coach Cabral is trying his best to avoid that.  I really like the way the team is playing under Coach Cabral, and, in turn, we owe it to him to seriously consider him for the job.  I'm still not sold that handing someone the reins after a successful interim stint wouldn't be a possibly disastrous knee jerk reaction, but the man deserves a good look.
 (At the very least, he should be our DC next year.  From: the BDC)

Hate week - I thought this would be the case, but CU opened as a 24 point underdog to the hated corn.  LOL, they must have pre-set that line 4 weeks ago when Hawk was still entrenched in Dal Ward.  Word to the betting community; this isn't the same CU team.  While we're on the subject, Nebraska isn't the same as they were a few weeks back, either.  Did you see the game Saturday night?  Their offense blows ass.  This isn't the same offense that was lighting up the nation earlier, and the team seems ready for a season-crushing home loss.  If South Dakota State, Iowa State, even 2010 shitty Texas can make this team blink, then CU can bitch-slap them to close out the modern rivalry.

In his post KSU-game comments to KOA, Coach Cabral closed by saying "we're going to war" this week against the corn.  Damn fucking straight!  This is for blood, this is for multiple years of bragging rights; this is for Sal, and Coach Mac, and Coach Barnett, and Scooter Bienemy.  Chis Brown, Darian Hagan, Brandon Drumm and Brian Calhoun are looking over proudly at this CU team as we go to war against the hated corn this week. I'll even be there to make sure those fucking people know we hate them one last time. The game even means something for each team as a 6th win makes CU bowl eligible, and Nebraska needs a win to clinch the Big XII North.  This shit is fucking on.

Taylor Martinez kinda, sorta quit; but not really - For a few hours Sunday afternoon, it appeared that Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez quit the team after getting raked over the coals by hayseed-coach Bo Pelini on national TV for texting in the locker room.  It's now apparent that Martinez didn't quit, but missed/skipped practice Sunday, and that led to the rumors that exploded all over the interwebs yesterday afternoon.  Here's my question, if Martinez skipped practice, is Bo going to let him play Friday?  That certainly wouldn't fit his M.O. as a tough-headed firebrand of a head coach.  Anyways, love to see the Huskers implode like this, maybe we can touch match to powder and ruin them for the future by handing them an embarrassing loss Friday.

(Pelini's a fucking hick.  Get that shit under control freak!)

Basketball clusterfuck - The men's basketball team fell to a troubling 1-2 start after losing to the USF Dons in overtime 83-81 Saturday night.  The loss was sealed after the refs penalized the Buffs for a phantom timeout.  After USF scored the game tying basket, the refs conferred and awarded the Dons a technical foul because they claimed someone on Colorado had called for a TO the Buffs didn't have.  The Buffs still deny either verbally or physically signaling for a TO.  USF hit the resulting free throws, and the Buffs missed their desperate attempt at the final buzzer.  My Northern California corespondent tells me there was still one TO showing on the scoreboard when the phantom timeout was called, meaning that even if CU had signaled for a TO, they would've had reason to think they had one.  (He also referred to the USF gym as amateur-ish, and mentioned the whole operation was crap.)  Regardless, it's a tough and damaging loss for a team that needs all the wins it can get in non-conference to make the Tourney.  At this rate, the Buffs had better damn near sweep the rest of non-con play if they hope to make it to the dance.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Beer Post: Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Kansas State Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!" 

This will be my final gameday beer-o-the-week post of the year.  Next week, the game is on a Friday, and I won't have time to post.  It's Nebraska next week, anyways.  All you should be drinking is pure, unadulterated hate!  Btw, if you're expecting coherent, unbiased analysis of that game, you clearly don't know who you're dealing with....

This week the "little apple" pussies come to town.  That someone had the gumption to name some random shithole in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas after one of the best cities in the world has always amused me.  Manhattan, KS shares nothing but a name with it's East Coast namesake, but it does give me the opportunity to turn to NYC for beer inspiration.  Across the East River from the real Manhattan is a little hamlet called Brooklyn; you may have heard of it.  Brooklyn so happens to be home of one of my favorite breweries in the world: Brooklyn Brewery.

Brew-master Garrett Oliver is a wonderful ambassador to the brewing world.  He creates some of the best brews in the nation, and is heavily involved in brewing culture in America.  I strongly encourage you to try anything of his you come across.  However, since I have to pick only one, I'm going to name their staple Brooklyn Lager as this week's tailgate beer-o-the-week.

Brewed since the late '80s, and based on a pre-prohibition recipe, Brooklyn Lager is a good version of an easy to drink style.  Dry-hopped and well malted, this beer makes for a great session beer.  It's not going to challenge your palette too much, but it'll make for a great tailgate brew.  If you can find this beer west of the Mississippi River you'd do well to buy a 6-pack or two. 

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat JuCo State!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quick Post: Search Committee Grumblings

When you first look at the search committee, you may exclaim, "Hey, there's no football people on that list!  This will be a disaster."

Don't hyperventilate, this isn't an issue.  Search committees are put together to mollify special interests.  Ask yourself who are the special interests, by which I mean those outside of the football program, who are most likely to get bent out of shape by the new coach.  The answer: the academic side of the University and high-level donors.  Guess who's makes up the committee; academics and high-level donors.

They're included to give them the illusion of influence.  At the end of the day, I have no doubt that Mike Bohn will hire who Mike Bohn wants to hire.  His job is basically on the line, why would he put his future employment in the hands of some random committee.

Today, Woody Paige mentioned that we already had a list of 22 potential head coaches.  If the committee is so damn important, why is there already a list?  It's a side show, a way of mollifying people who, when properly motivated, could spike the process.  Get them "involved" in the process and they can't run to the press with dissenting opinions.  It's called politics.  Fuckin-a people, we're looking like a bunch of rubes freaking out over this.

K-State Preview

Senior Day.  While I didn't play football at Dear Old CU, I still got a senior day on Folsom Field.  My Mom was even in town, all the way from the City of the Chi, to see my final performance on the field.  And then CU proceeded to lose 30-3 to the fucking Huskers.  My soul died a little that day.  Anyways....

It's always bittersweet to see exiting seniors take their final bow in black and gold.  It's the nature of college football, but none-the-less, you sort of grow accustomed to seeing them on the field after 4 or 5 years.  To be sure, the 15 seniors on the 2010 Colorado Buffaloes have been through some wars.  From the hollow-promise of the early days of the Hawk era, to the current transitional period, these guys have formed the back-bone of of a team that has mostly struggled..  I'm sure they would've liked to put more wins up on the board, both for their teammates and their now-departed coach, but, none-the-less, they stayed true to the CU spirit and have fought all the way.
(With his father's employment situation dealt with, and a good game under his belt, Sr QB Cody Hawkins can enjoy his Senior Day.  From: the BDC)

It'll be a special moment for those 15 guys when they make their last run out from behind Ralphie on the East side of Folsom.  They've earned, through trial and tribulations, the right to take that final run with their head held high.  Whatever happens Saturday, they did their best during their time here, and have earned the respect of the entire CU community.


(Don't for get to bring your power-towel, or Ron Prince will kill your family)

We laugh about it, but K-State has been pretty successful over the years poaching talent from the lower levels of college football.  With a quick count I found 43 guys on their roster who transferred into the program from either a Juco or another D-1 school.  It's a tradition at K-State to get whatever talent you can, and try and make the most of it, and it's not surprising that they have to go that route.  It must be difficult to beg and plead high school athletes, who have the pick of free rides to multiple schools, to come to the "Little Apple."  Let's be honest, Manhattan is a shit-hole that rivals Waco, Ames and Lubbock in horribleness.  It's a testament to Coach Snyder's recruiting abilities (and the slack admissions standards) that he gets anyone, let alone players with talent, to go there as opposed to anywhere else.

Speaking of Coach Snyder, the living dead still roams the K-State sideline.  He even has his name on the stadium, yet there he remains, coaching on in geriatric spirit.  Even a semi-forced retirement wouldn't keep the old man down, as the Ron Prince era was so awful that the University had to go crawling back to an aging legend in order to return to some semblance of respectability (sound familiar?).
(He's... just... so... old!)

Old Bill is sort of a CU bogey-man.  Besides having built the perennial door-mat Wildcats into a pseudo-national power in the late '90s, he's routinely taken joy in sticking us where it hurts.  My most vivid memory of the man is him running up the score against us in 2003 as the clock expired.  We got him back the next year, however, as "Big-play" Ron Monteilh scored the only touchdown of his career in the final seconds to beat them 38-31 on 2004's Senior Day.  Good times. 

(Suck it, Snyder!)

This year's version of the Wildcats features a powerful rushing attack lead by Senior (and Juco transfer) RB Daniel Thomas.  Thomas is a beast.  Leaping onto the scene last year, he has continued to lead the Wildcats this season by racking up nearly 1,200 yards through the first 10 games.  He gets 5.2 yards per rush, and is damn difficult to tackle.  Expect a 100+ yard day from this guy every time.  The rest of the offense features the middling quarterbacking ability of Sr QB Carson Coffman.  Coffman will try and find Sr wide-out (and Juco Transfer) Aubrey Quarles when he isn't handing it off to Thomas.  Overall, their offense is pretty solid.  Coach Snyder doesn't mess around, and he utilizes a smash-mouth football philosophy built around the talented Thomas.  They get 368 yards per game this way, and usually score over 31 points.  It's a measured, forceful attack, and one that will be difficult for a typically poor tacking CU defense to stop.
 (We'll have a devil of a time stopping Thomas)

Defensively, the Wildcats have been prone to giving up huge chunks of yardage; 436 yards per game to be precise.  The team is currently mired in a 1-3 slump after a promising start, and much of that can be attributed to defensive struggles.  Over those 4 weeks the defense has averaged giving up 511 yards per contest, and the run is highlighted by Baylor's 683 yard offensive blitz 4 weeks ago.  We should be able to move the ball against this team.  The defense is lead by Sr (transfer) DE Prizell Brown, Jr LB Alex Hrebec, and Jr DB Tysyn Hartman.

 Prediction Time

Feel free to call me intrigued.  Like most members of the CU community, my interest was piqued by the intensity shown in last weeks 34-14 win over ISU.  I haven't seen that level of passion from my CU Buffaloes in years, and obviously that has something to do with the installation of Brian Cabral as the interim head coach.  However, as coach Cabral pointed out in his Tuesday press-conference, we're not going to sneak up on K-State.  The intensity must only go up from here.  Any let down will only lead to a season killing loss.

Most exiting senior classes leave a gift to their institutions of higher learning as they exit.  In that spirit, I expect that this class will leave the gift of a 5th victory on the season, and the right to play for bowl eligability against the hated Huskers (It's hate week in 3 days, btw).  The K-State defense has struggled of late, and, if there is any continuance of the level of effort seen against ISU, we should be able to contain (not necessarily stop) Daniel Thomas.

I may be a little homer-happy after last week, but I'm going out on a limb; look for Cody to have yet another massive game, and get the 332 yards he needs to pass negative-nancy Joel Klatt in the CU record books.  CU gets a big win and we move on to the hated corn with high spirits.  CU  38 - KSU 13 (Oh, boy is that a mistake in the making).


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coaching Search Breakdown

Apparently, we're announcing our search committee today.  At least the process is visibly moving along.  Some people have complained about the pace; that, while they never expected to have a new coach in place right away, they are frustrated with the lack of information.  With games still to be played, you can't have the AD publicly running through candidates; that would cheapen the rest of the season.  The players have plenty left to play for, and they showed last week they still cared enough to try and make a bowl; Bohn is doing the right thing by executing a measured and silent (so far) search.  I expect the search to heat up, both in reality and what the press reports, after the Nebraska game is over.

In the meantime, here is my view of the coaching candidates.  These are the names I hear the most, and what I think of them.  In the end, while I would accept a few candidates, there is only one guy I think should be the next coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.  Who?  Well, you'll just have to jump through to find out

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lost Traditions

It was obvious that Hawk tried to change things up.  There were the noticeable tweaks (smoke tunnel entrance, and the Roundup walk to the stadium), and the less noticeable (thunder chute, covering up of the "pride and tradition sign.").  As any head coach would do, he came in a tried to put his own stamp on how the Buffs prepared to run out onto the field.  Some of his changes worked, some of them didn't.  I thought the roundup was a cool concept with unfortunately low response from the fanbase.  The covering-up of the sign seemed like a massive oversight.   Considering the climate he was brought into (the "scandal")  it's rather unsurprising that he tried to change the way the program "felt."  I guess my problem, and one that many others shared, was that he was remaking the entire way that CU saw itself; what it meant to be a Buff.

In that respect its been nice to see Coach Brian Cabral try and use his stint as Interim Head Coach to return the Buffs to some of their old traditions.  In the 7 days he's been running the show, Cabral has: canned the roundup walk, gotten rid of the inflatable smoke tunnel, restored the "Buffalo Heartbeat," and banned the color red.  Coach Jashon Sykes even expects the infamous "pride and tradition" sign to make a quick comeback.
(He's bringing the pride back.)

Yes these are essentially cosmetic changes.  A sign is, for all intents and purposes, just a plaque on a wall.  But, in a sport where you work as a unit of many for one cause, unifying structural concepts can be significant.  I love the concept of the "Buffalo Heartbeat."  While I had never heard of the tradition before, I can see how Buff players of years past could have used it to form a bond with their teammates before heading out onto the field.  Banning the color red is a quirky way of reinforcing the concept of "us vs. them," and it can create a rallying mental point, even in non-Nebraska weeks.  Things like that can be just as important to the identity of the program as the logo or running out behind Ralphie.

You don't always have to do things the same way, and change can be good.  However, I don't think it's merely coincidence that the 4 wins so far this year have come in games that included outside motivation and tradition.  CSU is a rivalry (such as it is) and no context is needed.  In the Georgia and Hawaii games, CU was honoring it's past, and the players were told/shown what it means to be a Buffalo, and what it takes to be successful here.  Against Iowa State, not only was there the external spark of Hawk's firing, but Cabral had re-instituted the pre-game institutions referenced earlier.  It was easy to get up for these games; in these four games, the players were forced to have a sense of purpose greater than themselves, and it showed in the final score.  When I think back on the half-a-lope performances and demeanor of games and teams over the last 5 years, I wonder if this, the lost traditions, is the root cause.

This is all a round-a-bout way of saying: I think we need to stay "in the family" for the next hire.  If we don't, the guy better "buy-in" to what it means to be a Buff the way an outsider like Bill McCartney bought-in 27 years ago.

Unless something interesting happens (read: a coach is hired) by tomorrow, I'll have my short list for the next head football coach up tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: Like in the before time, the long-long ago

While watching the Buffs put a cap on one of the best defensive performances I've ever seen a Colorado team produce, my friend commented that "this is like it was in the before time."  Indeed, that was vintage Buffalo football, replete with a crushing defense and a punishing run game.  It's morning in Boulder again.  On with the bag...

Shoulder to Shoulder we will fight, fight, fight-fight-fight! (and win) - It's always nice to win, but, with everything going on with the program this week, I was overjoyed for the players.  They played with heart and earned a much needed win to keep bowl hopes on life support.  It was an all encompassing victory; dominating defense and strong offense combined with an uptick in emotion to push the Buffs back towards respectability.  It was the type of performance that most people expected with the current talent level, and their effort showed the benefits of a coaching change; they played free and seemed to enjoy playing football again.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves, with two tough games left this team is still a very long shot to make a bowl.  However, it's good to see the Buff pride back on the East Sidelines.
 (The pride is back!  From: The BDC)

Defense - I've been racking my brain since Saturday afternoon, and I still can't come up with a more dominating defensive performance in the past 8 years.  Sure, we've shut out a team or two during that time-span, but nothing can compare with an 8 sack shellacking of the opposing quarterback.  Just utter domination.  Not only did the D have 8 sacks, but those 8 came from 7 different players.  This wasn't a one or two man show, it was the whole team, and they killed it out there.  CU held ISU to negative yards rushing and to less than 230 total yards; they even forced 6 three-and-outs and scored a touchdown.  Damn was that an awesome thing to watch.
(Sipili, and his defensive mates, made life hell for ISU Saturday.  From: The BDC)

Cody - While many doubted him in the wake of his fathers termination, Cody Hawkins went out there and had one of his best games in a CU uniform.  His second quarter TD toss to Toney Clemons may have been the single best throw of his career; rolling to his right he launched a strong, tight spiral to the back of the end zone to find a falling Clemons.  It was a thing of beauty.  Overall, he finished with a very strong line of 16-24 for 266 and 3 TD's.  Just a great performance from the much maligned Buff QB.

Rodney Stewart - There was some rumblings in the press that the reason Speedy wasn't pounding the rock in the 4th quarter of the KU game was that the coaches were worried about his durability.  Really?  I know he's had a little injury issue here and there, but the guy is a horse.  He certainly erased any doubts by putting the team on his back Saturday.  Speedy has 39 total touches for 148 yards.  While he didn't find the endzone, he was consistently running between the tackles and wearing the defense down.  Yeah, he did have a few problems holding onto the ball, which I'm sure Coach Hagan will be all over for, but give credit where credit's due; he was a workhorse out there.

Coach Cabral - I don't want to hyperventilate and start demanding his inclusion as a serious candidate for the head coaching job, but doesn't he deserve consideration to be the next defensive coordinator?  I understand that, more than likely, the next guy will bring his own DC, but damn does Cabral get his guys going.  He brought back some of the passion and tradition (we're banning red again!) that had been missing the last 5 years.  He didn't hold his guys back from "getting too pumped up," and he allowed the players to play by not over-analyzing key situations.  Hey, look, a kick on a 4th and short!  A 12-2 run-pass ratio in the 4th Quarter when up by 20+ points!  Hawk sometimes tried to re-invent the wheel when it came to game management; Cabral kept to what works.  It's a well deserved 1st win for the man who best exemplifies what it means to be a Buff.
(The man cares about what it means to be Buff, and I love him for it.  From: The BDC)

Basketball season of to a so-so start -  It was an up-and-down affair Friday evening.  While the Buffs came away with an 88-80 win, they allowed a team returning only 4 players from their roster to hang around all evening.  They even allowed speedy Idaho State point guard Broderick Gilchrist to damn near steal the game with his 39 points; if not for his stellar performance, it would've been a blowout.  It was worrying that, while we tried 7 different guys guarding him, we just couldn't stop Gilchrist.  At least this gives Boyle something to focus on heading into the Georgia game tomorrow night.  On the plus side, CU spread the ball around (4 players ended up in double figures), the new video boards looked awesome, and the hot dogs were as good as ever; I guess you take the good with the bad.  Burks also had the slam of the year in the first game.
( "This is Air Buffalo, Flight #10, requesting clearance to land."  From: The BDC)

Andre Roberson - He looked ready to contribute.  The rangy 6-7 freshman guard from Texas provided 11 big rebounds and 6 points in only 21 minutes.  Yes it came against a team picked to finish next to last in the Big Sky conference, but he looks ready to contribute.  He even had a spectacular pass inside the paint, and he looks solid at both ends of the court.  He may not set the world on fire as a freshman, but, if he keeps this up, could prove to be an important cog in the Buffs wheel.

Bears game, Devin Hester, and Brad Childress - There were a couple of interesting story lines that emerged from the Bears 27-13 win on Sunday over the Vikings.  First and foremost, it was an important home win over a divisional foe for a team looking to cling the division lead.  While I still think the Packers will eventually come out on top, the Bears somehow keep winning games while their offense keeps stubbing its collective toe, and, with a win in hand over the Pack, control their own destiny. 

Devin Hester even made a return to the special teams highlight reel with his 147 return yards.  Hester hasn't returned kicks in 22 of the Bears last 24 games.  Why?  He's clearly the best option on the team.  Why can't he both return kicks and run routes with the offense?  I've always thought the object of offensive football is to get the ball into the hands of your best offensive player as many times as possible.  Getting the ball into Hester's hands just makes winning easier, and having him return kicks is a great way to get him an extra 5 or 6 touches a game.
(Hester needs the ball in his hands, and kick returns are a great way to get him the ball.  From: The Trib)

Poor, poor Brad Childress.  His team hates him, his owner is looking to fire him, and he had to stand on the sidelines and watch his team throw away it's dying playoff hopes.  He's certainly not going to keep his job past the end of the season (you just don't get away with going over you boss' head like he did while releasing Randy Moss), but the question remains weather he'll stay employed through season end.  Sure, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf says he won't fire him during the season, but isn't that exactly what Jerry Jones said about Wade Phillips?  Put me down for Childress being fired in a few weeks.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Post: Thinking ahead...

Yesterday the 2011-12 Pac-12 Basketball schedule came out... anyone else interested in a early February roadtrip to Arizona?  With the traveling partners format, you get 2 games in an extended weekend.... just a thought.

Schedule link

Friday Beer Post: Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Iowa State/Special Basketball Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Tonight is the first basketball game of the year.  In respect to the season's opener, I've decided to forgo my usual frantic search for an appropriate beer for the football opponent to undergo a frantic search for a beer representative of tonight's basketball opponent.  In case you're lost, the CU Men's Basketball team faces the Idaho State Bengals tonight at the CEC (8 o'clock tip.... you better be there. *shakes fist*).

Idaho State got me thinking Idaho Springs, and any Coloradan can guess what that means: Beaujeaus Pizza!... err, no.... beer post, damnit ... Tommyknocker Beer!  Accordingly, their Maple Nut Brown Ale is this week's Tailgate Beer-o-the-week.

Tommyknocker uses a bit of maple syrup to give this beer a sweet finish to offset the flavor of some darker malts.  Sure, it can be a little too sweet, but you can't just have bitter and floral flavors all the time. Just think, kickoff for Iowa State is 11:30, which means breakfast tailgating.  Doesn't a dark beer with hints of maple sound good to go along with you breakfast tailgate?  Damn straight it does!  You'll thank me later....

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat the Cyclones!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quick Post: Basketball Early-Sigining Period

As was expected, Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie signed on the line today.  Next fall they'll be donning the black and gold.

The article also makes mention that 6-7 forward Damiene Cain will sign tomorrow.  I had heard he was still "undecided," but that we had the inside track.  He'd be a nice pickup as he has the potential to be a nice power forward addition.  Should Cain sign, we're out of scholarships this year.

Assuming Alec Burks goes pro after this season, Coach Boyle will have 1 more schollie to spend in the late signing period/bank for next year.  Here's to hoping he uses it on another power forward to round out the roster and add size balance.

Iowa State Preview

It's been kind of awkward the last few days.  I always find it's awkward to get what you want; "Oh, OK, now what do I talk about...."  Hawk is out, having put the program in it's most tenuous situation since Chuck Fairbanks prowled the sidelines.  No doubt, Hawk left with class, denying some in Buff nation the explosive exit they wanted so they could continue to hate the man; the dude knew it was coming, and took the axe-fall with grace.  In his place, for the time being, is True-Buff Brian Cabral.

The last time Coach Cabral lead the team, he never coached a game.  In the wake of former-coach Gary Barnett's comments, where he relayed his player's concerns over the kicking abilities of that girl kicker we once had, Coach Cabral guided the team through spring practice.  By the time the season rolled around, Coach Barnett was back on the sideline, and Cabral went back to churning out quality linebackers.  This is all a round-a-bout way of saying, I have no idea what to expect from the team on Saturday.

Losing you coach, even one who lost as much as Hawk, is not an easy thing to take.  Sure, some players couldn't stand the man, but others lived and died on every word that Hawk uttered.  Regardless of how the players as individuals perceived Hawk, his absence over the final 3 weeks of the season will be noticeable and jarring.  How the players approach Hawks removal over those 3 weeks is as much a guess as to me as it is to everyone else.


Lost in the shuffle of Hawk getting fired is that fact that the Iowa State program that is coming into Boulder is quickly passing us by.  New-ish head coach Paul Rhoads is kicking their program into gear; his players play hard for him, and they are pulling some upsets.  Weeks after beating Texas in Austin for the first time ever, The Cyclones were taking the Huskers to the brink.  Having just scored the tying touchdown in overtime last week against the Huskers, Coach Rhoads called for a potentially game winning 2-point conversion.  While it failed, and cost the Cyclones their first win in Lincoln since 1977, Rhodes assertive style is giving Cyclone fans hope for the future. 

(Coach Rhoads is getting the ISU program fired up)

With two games to go (@-Colorado, Home - Missouri) they need one win to attain bowl eligible status.  Considering how tough Missouri is, they're going to really want and win this weekend; I expect their full effort.

Offensively, ISU is lead by Senior Austen Arnaud.  It feels like Arnaud has been around for ever; this is his 3rd season as the starter behind center for the 'Clones.  When Coach Cabral was asked yesterday about how Arnaud and ISU, and how much they've improved, he mentioned that they were running the same offense they ran last year, but that now they're just running it better.  Point-in-fact; they kind of aren't.  Somewhere along the way, they've lost about 40 yards per game from last season's offensive output.  Arnaud, in fact, has seen dropped production in each year, having gone from 232 yards per game in '08, to 168 yards per game in '09, to 156 yards per game so far in '10. 
(Arnaud hasn't had the breakout season many predicted)

Their offense as a whole seems like it's not all that potent; no receiver averages over 40 yards a game, and leading rusher Alexander Robinson adds only 83 yards per contest.  Overall, they don't even find the endzone that much, only scoring 24 points per game this season.  Honestly, their offense reminds me a lot of ours; above average, but not good.

Defensively, they've been inconsistent.  Last week they held the Huskers to 140 yards under their season's average, yet a stretch of 3 games in October saw them give up 35+ points each week.  Overall, the unit gives up over 420 yards each week, and that's never a good sign.  CU could find some space against these guys, and might have a similar offensive game to last week where we piled up 35 points in the first half.  (CU has had a hard time putting 2 halves of football together in the same game; last week is a prime example.) Defensive leaders are Jr DE Jacob Lattimer, and So LB's Jake Knott and A.J. Klein.

Prediction Time

Good Lord, I have no idea.  Is CU going to show up on Saturday?  Are the coaches going to be able to cobble together a gameplan in only 4 days?  Who knows... but I'll try and take a guess.

The road team hasn't won this matchup since CU dominated ISU 44-10 in 2003.  While the games have mostly been close, last 3 years the game has been decided by a touchdown or less, home field has usually made the difference.  We're also talking emotion; the players have, for the most part, taken the downfall of Hawk a little personally.  As a result I think we come out fired up and playing free.

In light of those two points, I'll take the Buffs to win in a nail-biter.  CU 21 - ISU 20


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quick Post: EDSBS is funny

Pretty funny, EDSBS, pretty funny.
It (keeping Hawk for a 5th year) may be excused by Colorado's tenuous financial position as an athletic department, but broke or not they will pay Hawkins a $2 million buyout anyway, and then attempt to hire a coach paid exclusively in lift passes, weed, and well-maintained young women from the Denver suburbs. - link

My Massive Basketball Preview

Color me unsurprised to hear the skeptical outside previews of the Colorado Buffaloes Men's Basketball team. Hell, I'm surprised the Big XII coaches didn't pick us last out of force of habit. It's Colorado Basketball, why should anyone expect anymore out of the program than a .500 record and a shot at the NIT? The outside perception of the program is dogshit; I shouldn't expect anything else. In the 13 years since Chauncey Billups set the CEC on fire the team has made 1 other trip to the big dance. In essence the program has given outsiders no reason to expect better than what we have been. The only way to turn around this perception of a loser program with some surprising, but ultimately meaningless, talent is to have the season that I expect them to have.

 (It's basketball time!  From: The BDC)

I expect this team to win 20 games; hell, prior to the Shane Harris-Tunks injury I thought they could win more than that, but let's set that as the season's benchmark.

Throughout this preview I'll break down not only the players, but the games they will play and the conference they will leave after this season. It's really 3 columns rolled into 1!  If you care, even a bit, about CU basketball: stay tuned. If not: you're no longer my friend :-)

(Hey!  A new feature!  This post is soooooo long, that I've included a "jump break" for the first time.  Click below for more ramblings...)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Long Buff-National Nightmare is Over

Update: 11-9-10. I like Bohn's comment, it sums up the situation perfectly. "While we recognize the progress that we have made in several areas during nearly five years under Dan, the negativity and divisiveness that is associated with the current leadership has become detrimental and is beyond repair to our current enterprise and it’s time to make a change." -link


The deed is done. Brian Cabral is, once again, the interim head coach of the CU football program because Dan Hawkins has been fired.

I remember the day Hawk arrived in Boulder. He had stayed with Boise St. for the bowl game, and had delayed his arrival with the team. He showed up like a whirlwind, talking about "Hawk Love" and "getting this thing going." I was genuinely excited. Here was one of the brightest names in the national coaching ranks; someone who even the likes of Notre Dame had discussed as a potential coaching candidate was coming to Boulder. I thought for sure that he would be the spark that could bring the football program out of the post-"scandal" doldrums. We now know that wasn't the case.

Hind-sight is always 20/20, and I'm not going to sit up on my high horse saying "I knew it all along" simply because I didn't. I thought Hawk was the guy, I even thought this as recently as last Fall before the CSU game. But it became clear over the years that something was rotten in the state of the program, and that Hawk needed to go.

(He Gone)

It's weird, I still kind of like Hawk. I think he has an attitude that could work in Boulder. I even still think he's got a good football mind; I just think he's been battered with some bad circumstances, and been unwilling to changes his ways. Essentially, at the end of the day, the thing that has hampered him the most was Cody's decision to switch his commitment from BSU to CU. Realities aside, the appearance and perception was that Cody was the guy as long as he had eligibility left because he was the coach's son. How many QB's have we lost over the past 5 years in recruiting battles and to transfers? I'll bet you the majority of those kids thought that, fairly or not, they would never see the field because of Cody. How would this team look right now with emerging All-America QB talent like Landry Jones under center?

Over the past 5 years Hawk has refused to admit when "his guys" couldn't get the job done. Why does Kent Riddle still have a job? Because Hawk couldn't bring himself to fire the guy. He may even realize that Riddle can't get the job done at this level, but the man stays loyal. Personally, I find that a noble trait; I'm big on loyalty. However, as a paying customer, I demand accountability that Hawk was never willing to provide. At the end of the day, this accountability issue, more than anything else, is why he had to go; it was a systemic flaw in his ability to lead the program to success.

Hawk realistically should've been fired last November. By all accounts Mike Bohn even got on the plane to Hawaii having already made the decision to fire him when he got back to Boulder. But circumstances conspired to make the situation linger. Key votes in the Colorado Legislature would've voted against an initiative that CU desperately needed to stay financially viable as a whole had Hawk been fired last fall. It was a pragmatic decision to retain him, and one that I'm sure was a bitter pill for Bohn to swallow. Even this year, Bohn stuck with his belief that you should never fire a coach mid-season far longer than he should've. Combined, this gave Hawk and extra three-quarters of a season that he could've used to save his job. The schedule even lined up, and, by the end of non-conference play, I looked at our schedule and saw possibilities of 8 or 9 wins. Instead that opportunity was thrown away. Hawk continued to game plan the exact same way he had for the past 3 years when that style hadn't brought so much as a road win. He refused to adapt or correct course midstream; he had, in essence, given up. I am somewhat surprised that he didn't put up more of a fight.

In the end, it's a net positive day for CU. While I still think it would've made no difference to keep Hawk for 19 additional days, it's absolutely understandable to make the move now. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and move on with our lives. I wish it would've worked out with Hawk, but it hasn't and Bohn made the move that needed to be made. It's a new day for the football program; the Pac-12 era officially starts at high-noon.

Monday, November 8, 2010



Quick Post: Basketball Recruiting

I forgot to mention this in the bag (mostly cause I was too focused on the football disaster. Tad Boyle landed his second basketball recruit over the weekend. In addition to 6-0 guard Askia Booker, who Boyle had landed last week, Boyle received a verbal commitment from 6-4 guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Both recruits are from California, and may indicate that the Pac-12 move is paying off on the recruiting front.

It's always good to fill out the schollies, but shouldn't we be getting a big man? We still have one left to land this year, and maybe Coach Boyle's waiting for Alec Burks scholarship to come off the books when he goes pro after this year.... Regardless, Boyle's next commitment better be a post player....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: In my time of ding

"In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn, all I want for you to do is take my body home." Just put this damn season out of its misery already. On with the bag...

I've seen some shit - Early in the KU game, we were joking at my house that our 4 score lead was a ruse, and that in reality we were losing and that Mark Johnson was just making shit up to lift the fanbase's spirits. If only it really was all some elaborate prank. Instead Buff Nation is smacked with the 2nd largest 4th quarter collapse in history. It's the 2-ton weight that broke the camel's back. There is nothing lower than this; we have reached the bottom of the bottom-less pit. Over the past 8 years I've seen some truly depressing CU performances: Washington St. in '03, Oklahoma in the Big XII championship in '04, Texas and 70-3 in '05, Montana St. in '06, and Missouri in '09 spring the easiest to mind. This loss, however, takes the cake. It is, by far mind you, the worst loss I've ever seen (heard) us take.

The loss broke my puppy picture finding skills - Kansas is so bad that they allowed a far below-average CU team to build a 35-10 lead at halftime. CU even lead by 28 points with just over 11 minutes left. You would think, with the recent road struggles and the season needing this win to retain it's pulse, that the game plan for the 4th quarter would've been conservative. Had they just sat on the ball, simple running plays and easy screen passes, CU would surely win, and the season could still have been salvaged. Instead, the team begins running trick plays and throwing multiple passes into a strong wind. No great comeback can occur without the other teams obliging actions, and this one was no different. Hell, had we just kneeled the damn ball for the entire quarter it probably would've ended in a Buffaloes victory.

(Speedy's awesome day was wasted because we wouldn't give him the ball in the 4th quarter: from

This is a coaching loss - Hawk didn't even try to defend his actions. 10 seconds into a contractually obligated post-game interview with 850 KOA, Hawk cut the interview short rather than answer questions as to why he didn't just run the damn ball. There are 5 year-olds playing Madden who know how to sit on a lead, and Hawk won't even try to defend the game plan. Why? Because he knows there is no defense. This team needed that win, real bad, and Hawk did nothing to stop the oncoming collapse.

Hawk, and his coaching staff, let the team down. Sitting with a comfortable lead, they made no adjustments, and instead allowed a reeling Kansas to get back on their feet. It was instead the beleaguered first-year Kansas coaching staff who was making adjustments and fighting to the last whistle. They never gave up on the game, and it showed. The CU coaching staff just lay there like a beached whale, waiting for the coast guard to come by and push them back into the water. No one over there cares anymore; they're just going through the motions. It's fucking disgusting. The kids had their effort (Speedy and Paul Richardson had stellar performances) thrown away all because the CU coaching staff is acting like a bunch of seniors on skip day. If they don't want to coach anymore, then Mike Bohn should oblige them and send them all packing. (I don't really want the entire staff fired tomorrow, I just want them to realize that you can't just mark time and get this shit done. Regardless of what's happening in the near future, you still have to fucking work do your job!)

(Hawk and the coaching staff let this happen. From:

Audio/Visual presentation - I came to class today prepared with an audio/visual aide! The following is my hastily thrown together tribute to the oncoming end of the Dan Hawkins era.

Listen, I don't really hate the man, or want to do him physical harm, but it's a visceral reaction to the depressing shit foisted upon Buff Nation each week. I'm sure over the course of his tenure with CU that DH has only done what he thinks is best, but it simply hasn't worked, and he needs to go. Honestly, the sooner the better.

What now - Alright, time to take a deep breath. We've known for weeks that CU is done with Hawk. They've even been silently fleshing out coaching candidates. Hawk will be fired by the end of the season; and even a victory Saturday wouldn't have changed that fact. The question is, and should be, does he get to coach the remaining 19 days. Mike Bohn has always been of the mind that you don't fire coaches in the middle of the year. He has his reasons, and some of them I even agree with.

In the wake of the KU debacle, the flames on Hawks hot seat were turned up to 5,000 degrees, and most everyone has demanded DH's head on a platter. Surprisingly enough, I don't think now is the time to fire him. However much firing Hawk this moment would make me feel better, there are only 19 days left. There is near nothing left to salvage this season, and firing him would not improve recruiting or team performance in any meaningful way. The only way to change things would be to get a full new coaching staff in here, and that can't happen until after the season ends on Nov 26th. 19 days.... it's not that long of a time, when you think about it. Having Cabral coach the final 3 games would make everyone feel better, but would it actually make a difference? I don't think it'll put butts in the seats, and I don't think it'll translate into victories, either. Vengeance can't be the only reason to make a decision, and I'm starting to come around to the idea of letting him stay; if you keep him after Cal, and Mizzou, and Baylor/Tech, and OU.... does firing him now to speed the clock up by 19 days make any difference?

Prudence and patience should be the order of the day; we shouldn't act like some unruly mob going after Frankenstein. The man deserves to be fired, and he will be... in 19 days. At this point all the damage has been done to CU and the only shit left to burn in Hawk's reputation and future employment opportunities. He's going off the rails; cutting off interviews early, showing poor class and effort in how he closes out his tenure. Really the only person he's hurting right now is himself. Who would hire a man who gives up and coasts through tough scenarios?

Why do they keep putting the Cowboys on National TV - In non-CU-Suckitude news... the Cowboys were in the national spotlight again last night. The only team in America who needs a new coach more than the Colorado Buffaloes is the Dallas Cowboys. They're fucking awful, yet the NFL keeps shoving them down our throats. I've never bought into the whole "America's Team" bullshit, but this is getting pathetic. The Cowboys were never going to be good this year, yet 5 of their 16 games will be on "national" TV (i.e. Sunday night, Thursday night, or Monday night). Now, they're abysmal and America has to suffer through games like last night. I couldn't even keep that game on in the background.

Basketball starts Friday - Basketball starts Friday (everyone in the Boulder-metro area should attend), and I couldn't be happier. Besides the fact that it gets my attention away from the pathetic football team, it's also my favorite winter past-time. I really wanted to go to the tip-off event this past weekend, but I was still too shocked by the KU loss to leave the house. I'll have the first part of my massive preview probably up tomorrow, and I'm simply bubbling over with excitement for Friday night.

(Tad Boyle greets fans at Sunday's tip-off event. From: The BDC)

Happy Monday (such as it is)!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quick Post: Fuck My Life

While I didn't have the score even close, I said we'd beat ourselves and it'd be because we'd refuse to run the ball. Yeesh, was I on the money with that one. Had we run even a bit in the 4th, the game, while ugly, would've ended in a CU win. Instead we're running trick plays and putting our QB in a position to make mistakes. Did the refs maybe screw us? Sure, but that doesn't excuse the absolute failure to get our shit together. This is a coaches loss, and nothing else. No adjustments, no accountability.

In his post game interview with KOA (that lasted all of 12 seconds) Hawk said "We were just playing football." That wasn't playing football, that was allowing your kids to be robbed of a victory they truly deserved. Let me reiterate: Dan Hawkins and his coaching staff put the team and the kids in a position to fail in the 4th quarter. Welcome to the end of your career, Dan.

Fuck my life.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Beer Post: Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Sasnak Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Finally, after weeks of lame beers I get to pick a solid beer. Kansas, besides being flatter than a pancake, is also home to a legitimate craft brewery. Well, sort of. You see, Boulevard Brewing, who brews this week's pick, is technically in Kansas City, Missouri. But, damnit, Kansas is in the cities name, so I'm calling it Kansas. In addition, Lawrence, KS is much closer to KC than Columbia, MO, so you can suck it; Boulevard's Double Wide IPA is this week's Tailgate beer-o-the-week.

A double IPA version of their Single-Wide IPA, Double-Wide is my favorite Boulevard offering. It's strong on the hops, with well-balanced fruit flavors. As you can see from the picture, it has a beautiful complexion with a strong, frothy head. Part of Boulevards "Smokestack Series," Double-Wide is a quality IPA that sits well on your palate, with plenty of bitter, sweet and floral flavors to go around. I checked with Liquor Mart, and they've got it in stock so I'm good to go. No big party this week, since the game is only on the radio, so I'll have some time to enjoy this big beer properly.

Happy Friday! Go Buffs, Beat Sasnak (please)!