Friday, October 29, 2010
The Buffs just can't seem to get out of the opening weeks of training camp without losing a player for the season.... sigh.
John Henderson of the post had this to say today: "I'm told four people are atop the target list: Bill McCartney, Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and LSU coach Les Miles."
There you go, that's your starting point.... we've got a short list. Let the search begin in earnest.
(Personally, I'd like to see Les Miles. He's got a brand of crazy that I can get behind...)
Oklahoma is a little difficult because, like many states in the Big XII, they don't have a strong state-wide brewing culture. As a result, I've had to once again dig deep for a beer. Of course, next year I won't have this problem; With brew-crazy states like California, Oregon and Washington on the schedule, coming up with a gameday beer will not prove difficult. Anyways, this week marked the 5th Anniversary of the 2005 White Sox World Championship. To honor them, this week's gameday beer-o-the-week is none other than the beer of champions: Miller Lite.
(For some reason I'm really craving a Miller Lite right now....)
It's Miller Time, baby! Boo and hiss all you want, this week is going to be tough to watch. Come half time you're going to want to be appropriately inebriated; at that point are you really going to care what your beer tasted like? Brewed like every other watered down American-style light beer, Miller Lite is absolutely indistinguishable from it's beer category cousins. They can talk triple-hopped till they are blue in the face; the beer is just not that good. But it is the official beer of the '05 White Sox, and for that I salute them! Go Sox!
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, Beat OU!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Playing just barely over half the game last week, Cody ended up throwing 43(!) times. Good gracious lord that's a lot of attempts. While I think we have the receivers to handle that many attempts, CU certainly doesn't have the QB or offensive scheme to handle that load. What's more is that drives are surely going to be shortened, leading to an already depleted defense being stranded out of the field for longer periods. Just look at last week: in the second half, with Cody slinging the ball all over the yard, CU scored points, but left the 'D' out to dry; the 10 minute Time of Possession advantage that had been built in the 1st half was flipped on it's head, and the game ended with a TOP tie. You want to know why the defense looked so gassed in the 4th quarter? It's because Cody threw the ball 34 times in the second half, and Tech was give an extra 10 minutes of possession.
(Lot's of Cody is never a good thing. From: the BDC)
CU cannot rely on it's passing game if it hopes to win (or really even compete) this weekend. The legs of Rodney Stewart got the Buffs 3 wins this year, I don't see any reason why they should be forgotten because of a change in QB. So the zone-read plays and pistol formations won't work with Cody in the game; just simplify the play-calling, and rely on more traditional runs. In the '07 game, with Cody at the helm, the Buffs ran more than they passed, kept the ball, and pounced when OU stumbled. That's what CU should rely on this weekend; give the OU offense too much time with the ball, and you'll never get up off your feet.
I've said on a few occasions that I almost hate Oklahoma more than I hate Nebraska. Don't get me wrong, when it comes to Lincoln, NE I want the terrorists to win, but I've never had a good experience with Oklahoma fans. In '02, an OU fan kicked my tuba case as I was packing up after the Big XII championship, and would've busted my horn if I hadn't been quick on my feet. In '03, after nearly watching CU take down #1 OU in Folsom, a Sooner fan verbally assaulted me as I marched out of the stadium. In the '04 Big XII title game Sooner fans pelted the stadium with oranges as time expired, and I took one off the back of my head. All of that is after Sooner victories, mind you. In my experience these are not nice people; others may have different experiences, but that's where I'm coming from. That's why this picture from the '07 CU game makes me happy:
That shot, from version 2.0 of the "Dan Hawkins signature home win over a team we shouldn't beat," is all the good that has come out of the OU series for me. The rest is insults, physical pain, and emotional letdowns. I say good riddance to OU; I hope we never play them again, and I hope the State of Oklahoma is fraught with infertility, obesity, and economic hardships for the next 100 years.
It's the only, it's the only, it's the only, it's the only, it's the only, it's the only, it's the only ... song we know!
I want to forget that this game is on the schedule. At least with the trip to Lincoln there's rivalry pride on the line. With this weekend's trip to Norman, OK there's only an ass-whuppin on the line.
Offensively, not only are the Sooners facing a depleted CU defense, but they bring one of the more impressive offenses in the conference to the field. Lead by starting QB Landry Jones (who coulda, shoulda been a Buff), the OU offense racks up over 450 yards and 35.7 points per game. They are explosive and dynamic, relying on a pro-style offense to get shit done. To date, they have passed for double their rush yards, but that doesn't mean their ground game is insignificant. RB Demarco Murray has set the all-time Sooner record for TD's, and kicks in just over 100 yards per game on the ground. He's just another in a long line (Griffin, Peterson, et al) of OU running backs who will give the CU defense fits. WR Ryan Broyles will be all over the field as well, and is by far the favorite target of the QB Jones. This is a well coached unit, and will be tough to defend in Norman.
(You can't forget Murray; he's the one putting points up on the board, afterall.)
Defensively, things get slightly better for CU. There are weak points that could be attacked. Their overall defensive numbers are slightly skewed by the game versus Air Force and their damn triple-option. While the Sooner D is only giving up 239 yards per game in the air, take the run-happy AF and inconsistent ISU offenses out and they're giving up 282 yards through the air per game. If you can pass the ball, just a little bit, they can be broken for some scores. The OU 'D' is lead by JR LB Travis Lewis, SR DE Jeremy Beal, and SR DB Quinton Carter.
As always, this is a well coached team. Bob Stoops isn't one of the most highly regarded coaches in the country for nothing; he gets good players to OU, and then gets the best out of them. They're everything you would expect in a Sooner team: talented, fast, dangerous. They may not be the best team in the country (*cough* Oregon *cough*) but they are more than good enough to take the Buffs back behind the wood shed.
Kyle Ringo came out and said something stupid about having a "feeling" about this game, and went on to pick the Buffs to win. Some people are even jumping on the "we might just compete with them" bandwagon because of the '07 win, and the '06 "it wasn't so bad" loss. This is nonsense; we're getting rolled this weekend.
Yes, OU's 'D' may be susceptible to a persistent passing game, and CU does figure to throw the ball a lot, but Cody is not the QB to break them down. The weakness in the defensive backfield is a fool's gambit for CU, and, should we go chasing after it, we're in for a long afternoon. Cody may have a win over them under his belt, but that doesn't mean that he won the game. It was the CU defense who got the ball back in '07 enough times to give CU the game. With Perkins, Major, and every Nickel-back out, the current defense is tired, under-talented and playing out of position. Jimmy and Jalil won't be enough to keep the Sooner attack at bay, and if we spend all afternoon passing, they'll be left out on the field to dry.
In OU's non-conference tilts, 3 teams (Utah State, Air Force, and Cincinnati) gave them scares because they could move the ball and keep up with the OU offense. Do you really think CU's offense can keep up? I expect the OU offense to crack 40 (or more). Given that Hawk can't seem to even get 30 out of his offense on most days, CU doesn't even have a chance.
Add in the road-woes, and I expect the Buffs to get crushed. Get your board-games ready, 'cause, by half-time, you'll need them.
OU 47 - CU 13 (HEY, WE SCORED!)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I've sort of grown fond of the Giants over the course of the year. Loaded with White Sox '05 World Series heroes Aaron Rowand and Juan Uribe, and a bevy of young stars like Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey, I find the team kind of heart-warming. They play good baseball, with solid defense and pitching, and have a hard time beating themselves. They're fun to watch, and I've been silently rooting for them, even though they had to leap-frog the Rox to get to the Postseason. Above all, Posey was a big reason why I won my fantasy league title this year, and I'm crazy loyal to guys like that (see: Gagne, Eric).
(El Profundo!, so named because of his profound buttocks, is a South Side hero that I will root for regardless of current team affiliation)
The Rangers have been a power-house in waiting for years. Since their last playoff appearance in 1999, the Rangers have had 8 losing seasons out of 11. Yet, for essentially the entirety of the past decade, baseball fans have seen some good young talent end up on the Rangers; struggling for 11 years will get you quite a few high draft picks, after all. While I've heard about their young players, I always wondered if they'd ever get enough pitching to put that talent to good use. With the addition of Cliff Lee to a staff that already boasted some strength, that pitching is in place, and a berth in the World Series is the reward. Now can it be enough to get them a ring?
In a perfect world I'd love to see the Giants win. I find them eminently more likeable than the Rangers who are run by a coke fiend and powered by a Jesus freak. Ron Washington may be hilarious, and Josh Hamilton may be crazy-talented, but I want them both to fail. However, in the end you always have to give the edge to the team with the most pitching, and that's not the team who will send Madison Bumgarner to the bump (talented though he may be). Give me the team with Cliff Lee, and give me them in 6.
(Cliff Lee is too dominant to ignore; with him available to pitch 3 games, the Giants are all but doomed)
One additional thing I would like to mention: start dates. Since the addition of the wild card (and another round of playoffs) in 1995, the World Series has generally started sometime between the 17th and 24th of October; this has been annoying, but tolerable. The only exceptions were 2001 (when a week of games was postponed because of 9/11; series stated on the 27th) and last year when the series started on the 28th of October. This year, we're again having it start in the final week of October. I get why these the late starts are happening (FOX gets what FOX wants), but baseball needs to seriously look at finding a way at fixing this. It was 5 years ago yesterday that the '05 series ended (with a White Sox victory!), and we're just getting this thing started today? This late start is not only going to hurt play (the weather in San Fran is not going to be pretty), but I imagine it's going to hurt ratings as well.
Had the series got started last week, like had been tradition, baseball might've bypassed the start of the NBA season. As it is, all major sports are now in play, and this weekend there are a bevy of interesting football games on. Add in the kiddies out trick-or-treating on Sunday and Election Night distractions next week, and you've got a recipie for a lightly watched series. Good job MLB!
Baseball can only blame itself; they can milk the season schedule however they want after all. They've been talking about reducing the number of regular season games, but only in exchange for more rounds of playoffs; that's just changing the tune but keeping the same dance steps. Last year the series ended on the 4th of November; this has got to change. A Summer sport shouldn't have it's title decided in November.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Ringo's column - It was nice today to see Ringo kiss and make up with Cody. It did not go unnoticed that it was Ryan Thorburn who wrote the weekend article bashing Cody for his post-game comments. Ringo's absolutely right, Cody should not be blamed for playing as hard as he can; that it's the coaches who should be blamed for having to rely on his sub-D1 talent. My whole point yesterday was that Cody is too emotional when he goes to the press, and that he needs to, for the sake of everyone involved, stay away from microphones. That some people are going onto twitter and attacking him on a personal level is just plain incorrigible.
Kiszla's column - I've always felt that Mark Kiszla is kind of a douche. He's Mariotti-esque in the way he pushes his agendas, and it just rubs me the wrong way. That's why it pains me to admit he's right. Bringing Mac in during the season would be a bad move; but I'm slowly coming around to the idea of Mac actually becoming the next CU head football coach. Kiszla makes the valid point that installing Mac (or any other new head coach) during the season would create an needlessly uncomfortable situation. I'll buy it. Regardless of how the coaching deal shakes out, I think Hawk needs to be fired come Sunday/Monday, and, considering his experience with the position, Cabral needs to be installed as the interim head coach. We still need to look for other candidates, but if Mac was the one who's name is called the day after the Nebraska game, I won't cry foul. In a perfect world, I would like someone from outside the program come in and right the ship. But, with Mac willingness to take the position, it might just be time to turn our lonely eyes to the past for future leadership.
Thorburn's column - I was wondering why one of the two practice interview videos was with Shane; it seemed like an odd choice... The long search for playable Buffalo big-man has filled many column inches over the past 6 years (since David Harrison left). Considering that it's no surprise that Thorburn has jumped on the Harris-Tunks hope; but doesn't this column sound eerily similar to ones written about Austin Dufault last year? Adding some weight onto a wiry frame? check. Subtle intimation that if he doesn't pan out there's not really another option? check. Throw in some comments about how poor CU is at rebounding and blocking shots, and you've got yourself an easy-ass column. I'd love to see H-T develop into a decent post player (I really like some of the offensive skill sets he brings tot he table), it's just that, much like the football team and their "best practices ever" every week, I've heard the story before.
Yahoo Politics Van story - I found this story interesting since I had a friend participate in this video (He got all the answers right... with a little help from yours truly). Listen, asking a bunch of drunk kids at a football game the answers to basic political questions is a sure-fire way to make people look dumb; but it doesn't mean that the student body at large is either uninformed or ill-taught. I love how Tom Lucero, the regent who constantly runs around screaming the sky is falling, took the bait and whacked the school as a whole over this stupid video. It fits his panicky M.O. to a 'T'. Look, they gave us pie, and asked how many members of congress there are (considering that we were 8-ish beers in the hole at the time, I'm glad we were able to stand up straight); you know that they attracted some idiots, but what you don't know is how many people got those questions right. I got a minor in poli-sci from Dear Old CU, and I'll state for a fact that not only could I answer all of that dude's questions without thinking, but I could've taught him a thing or two in the process. The education that CU provides is excellent and encompassing, and anyone who twists their panties over this video is a moron.
Monday, October 25, 2010
If Mac wants the job, I bet that's the way we go. There are too many old-time Buffs with big checkbooks who want that to happen for it not to occur if Mac is down.
Buffs Lose Winnable Game... Again - The Buffs coulda, shoulda won on Saturday. Up 10 points at home at the end of the 4th quarter, you should never drop a game. (Bob Bell at TRR had nearly the same phrasing. Swear to God I didn't take that from him) Yet, with the injuries to Tyler Hansen and Jon Major, the Buffs just couldn't put enough talent on the field to keep the Red Raiders at bay. Surprisingly, Cody Hawkins entrance into the game also brought with it a momentary spell of vertical passing. Seriously, it looked like Bob Hodge to Jeremy Bloom on every play. However, that series of deep passes in the 3rd quarter would give way to offensive ineptitude in the 4th. After a promising drive ended on another Aric Goodman field goal miss (great to see him out there, btw), the Buffs went 3-and-out on their final 4 drives. The run game: forgotten. The defense: breathless, and left alone to defend the gates of Folsom. Cody: bravely screaming at freshmen wide receivers to cover up for his own ineptitude. It was a disaster, and one that drives the nail into Dan Hawkins coaching coffin.
(I hate Dan Hawk.... OMG THAT'S THE CUTEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN)
I would've rather been beaten 59-14 over the weekend (I'll get to the Broncos in a bit) than lose a game like this at home. A shameful performance that proves the current coaching staff has no imagination or spark of life left in them, and no care for how the rest of the season plays out. If they have cared, maybe they would've tried adjusting to the 4th quarter defensive schemes Tech was throwing at them. If they cared maybe they would've tried to run the ball to keep the short-handed and exhausted defense off the field. If they cared maybe Aric Goodman wouldn't have been relied on to save the season. The rest of the coaching staff has checked out and is already thinking about their next job, and Hawk is an empty coaching polo as it is. Why are we keeping this guy around for another 45 days again? We might get 1 more win the rest of the way...
(He's got to go, now. From: the BDC)
Season's over *clap* *clap*, *clap*-*clap*-*clap* - The students couldn't even muster a half-hearted "Fire Hawkins" chant at the end of the game. No one cares, and the whole situation is starting to get damn depressing. There are 5 games left on the schedule, and no one gives a damn. Yet, I hear idiots like Neil Woelk telling me that we need to keep Hawk around for 6 more weeks cause it would would do no good to make a change now; that we owe it to the seniors to play it out as is. Horseshit. Not only would the jump start on the public coaching search be beneficial, but I know anecdotally that seniors like Nate Solder have already checked out and are focusing on life after Dan Hawkins. At least Neil, the man who repeatedly compared Hawk to Coach Mac, now admits that Hawk is surely fired.
As to recruiting, what difference does it make between recruiting with a coach who's surely fired and one who's non-existent (essentially the same thing?). Hell, how hard is Hawk really recruiting right now? We already threw away one recruiting class (last year's class when Hawk thought he was fired only to get a last minute reprieve from Oil-man Bruce), shouldn't we at least try and save this one? The thing is done, we need to move on; the sooner the better. (That's not an OU pun, but it's going to sting next Saturday... on national TV too.)
(That's the face of a man who knows his fate. From: The BDC)
Cody, just stop talking - Speaking of the problems with Boulder and the family Hawkins, Cody went and opened his mouth to the media after the game. I never want to criticize the kids who play; they're pouring their hearts on souls out for the paying customers, and deserve nothing but appreciation. (I bash Goodman from the perspective of why does Dan keep subjecting this kid to further humiliation, rather than a personal attack on him as an individual.) However, on Saturday Cody started throwing his teammates under the bus and whining to the media like a little school girl. His petulant temper tantrums on the field after 4th quarter incompletions pissed me off to no end. To make matters worse, he goes into media interviews with his "you're being mean to my daddy" attitude. I don't want to hear how mean the media is, and I don't want to see a senior QB throw his promising freshman receiver under the bus for miss-running a route (especially after he did such a good job earlier int he game). Freshman will make mistakes, the media is going to pile on a losing coach, and those same losing coaches will be fired; it's how this shit works.
Sometimes I feel bad for the kid; his father's success or failure at his job was partially resting on his young shoulders over the past 4 years. It's a heavy burden, and I've given him a lot of passes over the years (excusing him in the on-going feud with Ringo, supporting his a starting QB for far longer than I should've). A part of me even wants to let this weekends indiscretions slide; with his father's job on the line, Cody went 6-19 in the 4th quarter for 25 yards and essentially sealed his father's fate, that can't be easy to live with. However, I just can't excuse petulant attitudes in the face of necessary criticism. If he can't handle it, he shouldn't be on the roster. He needs to be quiet the rest of the season and understand that this is how the world works. Hell, since poppa Hawk is going to walk away with $2 million, the family Hawkins will walk away from this fiasco in decent shape. (speaking of being petulant... that's the last time I'm going to bitch about Cody)
M*A*S*H unit - As for on the field shit, with the injury total piling up (Major and Hansen are done for the season) it's starting to become difficult to field a credible team. With the injury to Hansen the Buffs are one play away from having to burn the redshirt on yet another promising young QB (Hirschman); they're so desperate to keep that redshirt intact that they are openly talking about using WR's Kyle Cefalo and Scotty McKnight as QB's in a pinch. Defensively, with Major out for the season, the Buffs are further short-handed. We'll have to rely on Liloa Nobriga and other young, untested LB's to fill Major's shoes. At least Terrell Smith looked good on Saturday (albeit with the usual spate of freshman mistakes).
(Update 10/25) I forgot to add my thoughts on the Hansen injury. After getting dicked around by the Hawkins family for 2 and a half years (burning his redshirt twice, and pulling him twice), I was happy to see him take over the team. It was his job, and he deserved it. Now he's done for the year. The kid doesn't deserve this. The football gods are spiting the hell out of the good people on this team, and it just aint fair.
The whole state sucks at football - Collectively, the State of Colorado (Broncos and the 3 D-1A schools) lost 183-51 over the weekend. Woof. The Broncos especially, who carry the hopes of everyone in the State, shit the bed. Rival in town, they lost 59-14, showing absolutely no fight. How long before McDaniels is seriously on the hot seat? Since starting his coaching career with 6 wins, the team has gone 4-13.... not good. Bad football all-around; maybe we should become a baseball state? How would that suit everybody?
(The natives are getting restless. From: the post)
Dolphins game - Interesting play in the fins game. With the fins leading late int he ballgame, Ben Roethlisberger dives for the endzone and gets awarded the touchdown. On replay it was shown that he actually fumbled before the endzone, but because the Dolphins didn't immediately recover the ball, the ref couldn't award them the ball. Instead the ball was placed at the half-yard line and the Steelers went on to win. I was actually impressed with the ref; it was a brilliant interpretation of the rule, regardless of the fact that it screwed over my team. I'm just frustrated with the linesman who originally called the play a TD; what was he looking at?
Bears also suck pretty hard - Jay Cutler's favorite target Sunday was DeAngelo Hall. Unfortunately, DeAngelo plays for the Washington Redskins. You would think that after the first 3 picks that Cutler would stop trying to force the ball into Johnny Knox, but nooooooo, he tried it again and got picked for a 4th time. Sigh... another team that I root for drops a winnable game; maybe I'm just a jinx.
("Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me three time, shame on you. Fool me four times, shame on the Bears for trading a bajillion draft picks for me. From: the trib)
Happy (lol) Monday!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Knowing how much the Bohn-Hawk relationship has soured over the past few year, I can say this with all certainty: Hawk is fired for sure.
This week marks the final visit of a Texas team to Folsom Field for the foreseeable future. In last week's post I promised a 6-pack of this week's beer to the first person who could guess what I'd choose to celebrate the occasion. I had a bunch of guesses. No, it's not Shiner Bock (or anything from the Spoetzl Brewery); I ain't going to pick something with a ram's head on it. It's not those Budweiser's with the state of Texas on them, either. Nope, it can be only one beer: a beer that is not only as horrible as any other on the planet, but also carries with it that typical Texas pomposity. Rick got it right; this week's Tailgate Beer-o-the-week is the one, the only, Lone Star Beer.
Honestly, what else could I have picked? Brewed with what I can only assume is 100% rat urine, Lone Star is a beer only a Texan could love. The one time I had Lone Star it gave me the worst hangover I've ever had; this stuff is mostly poison, and I feel bad if you're ever stuck with this at a drinking establishment. One of my friends once had the "brilliant" idea of brewing coffee with beer. All he had in his fridge was some months old Lone Star; what would've been a horrible idea had just gotten much worse. The stink alone should've killed us all. I cannot stress this enough do not drink this beer if you have any other option.
It even says "don't mess with Texas" on the bottle; fuck that shit. Texans as a whole have poisoned this state for far to long; coming in to ski, clog up our roads, and push us around on the football fields. I certainly have a policy of messing with Texas, and on Saturday so will the Buffs. Fuck them, fuck their beer, fuck their politics, and fuck their football. Pac-12 bitchez!
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, Beat Tech!
(P.S.: Rico won last week's psuedo-contest, so I would be buying him a 6-pack of Lone Star had it been available anywhere on-line. I thought that in this age of on-line beer ordering that I could find some Texas distributor willing to ship that shit to California, but even the online guys won't touch Lone Star; it's that bad. So, Rico, I'll have to come-up with some other shitty beer to send you. Send me your address, and wait for the horror...)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
(Believe me, I want Hawk gone as much as anyone, just please support the team. -link)
Lost in the shuffle and excitement of the Pac-12 announcement this week has been the game prep for Texas Tech. Fans across Buff Nation have been focused on future matters, specifically because current matters are getting to be unbearable. The players however have sensed what is a key point: that this weekend's game against Texas Tech is a must win if they want to go to a bowl game of any sort. While I may not agree with any notion of there being the possibility of a "special season" left for the 2010 Buffaloes, I do agree that they players still have something to play for. Bowl trips are to be treasured (especially in the Dan Hawkins era), and I am certainly rooting for the players to earn one.
(Anytime I hear about Red Raider football, I can't help but think about that dude)
Hating Raiders of any color (Red, Silver/Black, Blue) is a proud Colorado tradition. I find it amusing that both the Broncos and the Buffs are having their respective Raider-weeks at the same time; an interesting quirk of the schedule that only I would think about.
The Red, tortilla-throwing version of Raider Nation comes to Boulder from shitty Lubbock, Texas. Coincidentally, my only time spent in Lubbock was on a trip to Waco. From one shithole to another, I guess. We entered the town on a lark; I simply wanted to see the campus (and buy a shot glass). Driving on Main Street toward campus I came upon a torn down brick building with kids playing in the rubble. It was like a scene out of Somalia or Afghanistan... only in Lubbock... on Main Street ... on a school day. What a fucking shithole.
Tech has long been known for their passing attack. Formulated under Air-Raid genius Mike Leach, the Tech offense used multiple quick and undersized WR's to turn 5 yard out routes into 15 yard gains. They would do this all day, consistently throwing 50+ times a game. All of a sudden NCAA passing records were being shattered by the likes of Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, Sonny Cumbie (had to look him up), Cody Hodges and Graham Harrell. These were not great QB's (outside of possibly Harrell), but the system allowed them to thrive. Quick passes meant they were never sacked and had relatively easy looks all day.
Offensively, the firing of Leach, and subsequent hiring of SEC reject Tommy Tubberville, has meant a slight change in offensive scheme. Don't get me wrong, Tech still slings the ball, it's just not the same offense as previous years. Instead of just completing the bubble-screens and short out-routes, they are a more vertical passing attack now; they have no qualms stretching the field with shots to the wide-outs on streaks and posts. They are still deadly through the air and behind QB Taylor Potts (who was Cody's housemate on ESPN's "Summer House;" Sadly, I watched every episode) Tech is throwing for over 315 yards per game. His main targets this year are the outstanding Lyle Leong and the above average Detron Lewis. The big difference in the current iteration of the Tech offense is the inclusion of a run game. In previous years the run game was just there to give the QB's arm a break. RB's would usually pose more of a receiving than a run threat; now they run with a purpose. RB's Baron Batch and Eric Stephens have helped the Red Raiders average over 114 rushing yards per game, which would've been unheard of under Mike Leach. This will be a tough unit to keep off the field, especially in light of last weeks difficulties with Baylor.
("Potts pass complete to Leong" is a phrase we're going to hear a lot of on Saturday)
Defensively, Tech is, as always, prone to giving up bunches of yards. It has always seemed to me that for all the yards they gain on offense, their defense is more than willing to give up just as many. On the year their defense is giving up more yards per game and per play than the offense is gaining for them. Overall, they've only scored 9 more points than their opponents, and are getting gashed on the ground to the tune of 142.5 yards per game. Any Big XII offense should be successful against this team, and were CU to struggle, the Buffs would only have themselves to blame. The Tech defense is lead by senior linebackers Bront Bird and Brian Duncan. Freshman Jarvis Phillips has a surprising 4 interceptions, but that may just be a case of offenses picking on him a bunch since he's a frosh.
I still don't like Anthony Perkins being out, and I don't like the fact that Jimmy Smith is coming off of a concussion. The defensive backfield will be hard pressed to use freshmen and backups to cover what is always a strong Texas Tech passing game. I am, however, excited to see freshman DB Terrel Smith on the field. If you followed fall practices at all, you heard a lot of buzz about Smith, and while there are often flashes in the excitement pan of fall practices, I expect Smith to play well on Saturday (assuming he sees the field unlike Kirkwood last week). Overall, the unit needs to get off the mat after getting knocked around by the Bears last week. Facing a QB who's less inclined to run, and an offense that relies less on post-snap reads, the defense should be better in my estimation (I highly doubt Tech will be able to run for over 300 yards like Baylor did last Saturday). CU played a similar style offense earlier this year (Hawaii) and should feel more comfortable then they did against the read option. The Buffs defense is better than they showed last week, and I look for them to prove it this weekend.
(Freshman Terrell Smith looks to get his first action this weekend. From: the BDC)
Offensively, I think the Buffs will play well. I think the coaches realize they focused a little to much on running the football to keep the ball out of Robert Griffin's hands. Look for them to mix it up a little bit, and throw a little more this week. Paul Richardson showed he can play at this level last week, and, combined with Clemmons and McKnight, I think the Buffs would do well to air it out a little bit more this week. Additionally, Tech can be gashed with the run game, and I expect Speedy to have another big game on fewer carries than last week.
Since the formation of the Big XII, CU is 4-2 against Texas Tech, and 3-0 in Boulder. In fact CU has never lost to Tech in Boulder, having gone 4-0 all time against the Red Raiders in Folsom Field (even beating them solidly in 2006 for the first of 2 wins on the year). We always seem to play well against Tech; Hawk's last road win was even against the Red Raiders in '07 (remember those heady days?). Sometimes you just have a programs number. I don't expect the winning trend against Tech to end, and CU will beat Tech. It won't be pretty, and everyone in the stands may have to sweat it out, but CU will win this game to keep bowl hopes alive.
CU 32 - TT 23
It'll be interesting to see what CU ends up getting in the Pac-12 alignment deal. We had a gentleman's agreement with Larry Scott that CU would be in the same division as the L.A. schools, and that sounds like it will be the case. We also wanted equal revenue sharing, but it sounds like that will have to wait. CU also desperately wants a 5th conference game next year, otherwise it could find itself in a tough spot with the suite renters; it remains to be seen, but I imagine Bohn will make that happen.
(Pac-12 commish Larry Scott, CU AD Mike Bohn, and Big Alfred Williams from the day of CU's move to the Pac-12. From: The BDC)
Other items, like the location of the conference title game are theoretically inconsequential. The game will never be held in Denver anyway, and, unless a massive turnaround in in the works, a home site game in Boulder next year is highly unlikely. Whatever CU's position was on this issue, I would gladly sacrifice it for another area of concern.
Buried in Ringo's column today on the pending Pac-12 division alignment announcement was this nugget: "If the Buffs don`t get five conference home games in 2011, Bohn might be forced to ask Colorado State to come to Boulder for one season to help the transition in league affiliation before returning the in-state series back to Denver in 2012"
I'll tell you what, I applaud Mike Bohn for almost everything he does, but when he throws up a stinker, it smells for years. It hilarious to me that an agreement in which we bowed to political pressure (from Denver and the state legislature) will come back to bite us in the ass and create more political pressure (from Boulder business leaders and the people in the suites). Even as far back as last August when the CSU agreement was being negotiated, there were rumblings, albeit quiet ones, that a conference shift might be in the works. Yet here we are, depending on the flip of a coin between 5 and 4 home conference games to meet our 6 total home game contractual agreements. I imagine Bohn will make 5 home conference games happen, but there should've been more leeway in the RMS deal to accommodate conference realignment messing with future schedules.
Can you imagine the howls of outrage from Ram fans if Bohn has to ask for the game in Boulder next year? They'd probably leverage the move to Boulder for a game in Hughes or another "home" television cut (i.e. the game on the mtn; blech). Either way we'd lose money and booster support. As Lando Calrissian once said "This deal is getting worse all the time."
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
In the first, Shane Harris-Tunks talks about getting some muscle on his wiry frame, and getting acclimated to the fast paced style of Tad Boyle:
This one is Head Coach Boyle talking about the challenges of installing a new system and how to pace out conditioning heading into a new season:
It's easy to look to the past for answers (believe me I know, I majored in history at Dear Old CU), but would the return of Mac be a good thing? Snyder has made a decent re-acclimation to the game, but he was only gone for 3 years, and there were still players on the team that he recruited. Ron Prince had even kept the seat warm by running the same style of program (recruiting JUCO's, etc). It was essentially the same job he had 3 years prior, he just had a sabbatical. Coach Mac, on the other hand, has been out for 16 years. In that time-span not only has the program changed (including 3 coaching changes), but the University, game of football, and indeed world has changed. Should he start next year, he would be recruiting players who were not even born yet when he left the coaching world in 1994 (I'm old). While the read-option spread may be a modernized version of the wishbone, other aspects of the modern coaching world, as Ringo pointed out today, (APR reports, recruiting restrictions, modern media) would be entirely new to Mac. Inherently, weather you want to admit it or not, Coach Snyder's return to the K-State bench is not the same as a potential Coach Mac return; (cliche time) the game has changed.
(It's always nice to think about the glory days, just don't dwell in them)
However, as many would point out, he doesn't have to be your typical head coach. I have jokingly called for myself to become the next CU head coach under the guise that I would be a "cheerleader-in-chief"; that CU would hire me at a minimal salary, and then spend the left over cash on hiring the best assistant coaches in the nation to actually run the team. Obviously, that would be a terrible idea; CU would become even more of a laughing-stock. But a legitimate name, like Bill McCartney, could lead the program respectably while allowing his assistants to "run" the team; assistants including his probable, hand picked, successor.
Being a "leader of men," as Joel Klatt talked about yesterday on 87.7 (and Dan McNeil used to talk about back in Chicago), is a trait that doesn't leave you. Leading wouldn't be Mac's problem like running the team potentially could be. It's from the perspective of team leadership that I would appreciate Coach Mac's return to Dal Ward. Were CU to bring back Mac, they would also need to bring in highly skilled (read: paid) assistants to run the team, recruit, etc. Include a natural successor (Bieniemy?), and I'm on board.
(The next CU coaching staff????? From: The BDC)
Either way, shit-can Hawk.
Monday, October 18, 2010
(Just think of the puppies and the pain of losing to Baylor slips away...)
Before I get started with the bag, I have to make an apology to Buff Nation; unbeknownst to essentially everyone else, I traded a Buff loss to the Football Gods for a UT win over the Huskers. I still think it was a good trade; Nebraska loses their shot at a national title, we were headed for a rough season anyway, and there's no way that Hawk recovers from this to save his job. Additionally, there's this guy:
"We're going to the Texas game because losing to Texas last year almost killed me physically, and emotionally. And so we're going to go and see the vengence that we so deserve. And so we basically are not paying any of our bills this month, and we are going to use all of our money to buy 3 different flights ..."I wanted him to suffer the pain of having wasted his money, his time, and possibly his house on a crushing home defeat to an average Texas team. If you're unhappy with that deal, the best I can say is I'm sorry; I did what I thought was best in the long term interests of Buff fans everywhere.
On with the bag...
CU loses to Baylor... Hawk solidifies future unemployment status - All joking aside, while Baylor is better than they have been in past years, there is no reason that we should be losing to them at home. Hawk's tenure as CU head football coach, for all intents and purposes, ended Saturday night. Once again, CU found itself down 10 points at home in the 2nd half, however, unlike the previous 2 games, a comeback wasn't in the works. The season isn't over (though I'm really starting to like my 4-8 pre-season pick), but unless the team reels off 5 or 6 wins the rest of the way, I don't think there is any chance that Hawk is retained going into next year, regardless of the political and economic realities of the University as a whole.
Playcalling weirdness - I was as confused as anyone else that we went for 2 after the first touchdown. While I was less surprised the second time around, I remained perplexed over the idiocy of going for 2 twice (!) in the first half. This after we tried to go for 2 three times in the Georgia game (converting 1, and having play-reviews kill the opportunity for 2 others). I guess my question is; does Hawk even care anymore, or is he just trying to dick over as many CU fans as possible on his way out the door...
(I just can't feel sadness looking at that face)
On the final drive, I was upset that we didn't take a more vertical approach to moving the ball down the field. In his post game comments, Hawk talked about 10 yard chunks, but on the final drive, the Buffs had 5 plays go for 6 or fewer yards. All I was looking for was 15 yard passes up-field. You don't have to heave the ball; just don't throw it to the TE in the flat on 8 straight plays! A prevent defense does two things well; It stops the long ball, and keeps short stuff from breaking. The weakness is intermediate passes over the middle of the field. With just under 2 minutes left, passes over the middle for first downs would've been just fine. I was initially flustered over the final play-call, but, in retrospect, a jump-ball to Clemmons is acceptable since he was the best athlete on the field at the time; while I would've liked a more aggressive pass-route combination, I'll give it a pass.
(That's how close CU was to overtime... or a win had we not left two points on the board. From: the BDC)
Injuries - In last weeks preview, I worried about how the injuries to B-lock and Anthony Perkins would effect the game. Specifically Will Jefferson, B-lock's replacement, fumbled on what would've been a scoring drive (and that turnover lead to Baylor taking a lead they would never relinquish), and Jered Bell, while leading the team in tackles, helped contribute to Robert Griffin gashing the Buffs for 137 yards up the middle. Hey, if players are injured, I can't blame their replacements for not being as good as the original starter (see: Mahnke, Patrick), but those injuries probably cost CU the game.
(Have we thought about using Ozell as a RB? From: The BDC)
Baylor racked up 543 yards of offense - I was shocked to see this. The defense didn't seem capable of making adjustments to the read play that Baylor kept running (Yes, Dan, that was a read play. Just because it's not the West Virginia version of the read, doesn't mean it's not a read play), and we couldn't buy a holding call on the edge to save our lives. It certainly didn't help that Jimmy Smith went out with a concussion, but this was by far the worst defensive performance of the season. At no point did I feel the Buffs could stop the Griffin lead offense; case-in-point, their punter never saw the field. After all I've seen this year, I expected better, and I think Perkins absence had a lot to do with it.
(What defensive issues?)
Where was Kirkwood? - Last week Buff Nation was thrown the bone of having Aric Goodman benched for (essentially) a guy off the street. However, when the first kicking opportunity of the game comes up, Hawk decides to go for 2, and when the first field goal opportunity of the game comes along, Hawk sends out Goodman. We spend all week hearing about Kirkwood, and never see him kick (I feel bad for the kid). While Goodman made both of his kicks Saturday, his ass still belongs on the bench. Hawk chalked up the move to the distance of the kick and some other nonsense (Goodman made a 57-yard kick in pregame warm-ups). I guess I just feel if you bench a guy he should stay benched; Goodman has made plenty of kicks in practices and pregames before, how does that one 57-yard kick when it doesn't matter change anything?
Lol, the Bears are awful; Dolphins beat the Packers - I had been feeling that the Bears are an awful team disguised in division leaders clothing (They've played a weak schedule and have gotten lucky a few times); I was proved right on Sunday. While the Seahawks are better than they should be, a division leader shouldn't be dropping games like that at home. With a quarterback coming off a concussion, and with the offensive line looking like swiss cheese on passing plays, the Bears only ran 12 times (!). That is unacceptable.
(Aaaaand the Bears have been exposed. From: The Trib)
My Fins (Yes, I'm a Dolphins fan, get over it), beat the Packers to regain some momentum after 2 humiliating losses and a bye week. I really want to think that the team is good, but their two previous wins are over bad teams, and I'm not sold on the Packers. Looks like an 8-8/9-7 year for the Fins... still, it's a good road win.
Bulls preseason outlook - Finally, something positive to talk about! I caught a little bit of ESPN's NBA preview show last night, and it got me thinking on the Bulls. After an offseason where they failed to land the whales they were aiming for, I find myself liking the Bulls chances in the East. Barring an idiotic move for Melo, the Bulls have one of the most well-rounded lineups in the conference. They offer top flight offensive and defensive options in the paint (Noah and Boozer) they have one of the best young creators in the league (Rose), a legit outside threat (Korver), and I've always liked Luol Deng's versatility. What's more, there is set of defined roles on the team; you can't say that about Miami. The Bulls will not only be a good regular season team, but they will be a tough out in the playoffs; I think an Eastern Finals push is not out of the question. I even like the coach they hired to replace Del Negro (Thibodeau). Things are looking up for the Bullies...
Friday, October 15, 2010
Specifically, McGhee said:
"There are people who have known me for 20 years, and I`ve never talked to them about my mother. I`m a private individual. To think that I would have asked this guy into my place, then brought up my mother after only a few minutes of knowing him -- that`s ridiculous. ... He has said I used my mother to extort money. I would not use my mother`s name in vain. ... What I want people to know is that it`s not about me. I want to make sure the public knows that CU guys don`t do this." -link
McGhee says that Luchs came off as inexperienced, and that he had no interest in communicating with him; that their meeting was appropriate, brief, no money was ever exchanged, and that they never communicated again after that initial meeting.
Additionally, yesterday on 104.3, it was revealed that the "teammate" accused in the article of following up and asking for further money out of Luchs was Alfred Williams, and he was P.I.S.S.E.D. Williams and McGhee flatly denied the allegation and Al specifically called the author George Dohrmann a liar. ("You called me last week with this crap, and I told you it wasn't true ... you are a liar, sir." - Big Al on the Fan; he screamed that, btw. Big Al is someone I definitely don't want screaming at me, whether on the phone or in person) Big Al had, before the article ran, flatly denied to SI that the events occurred as depicted, and yet the story ran as depicted by Luchs without acknowledgment of that denial.
Essentially it comes down to who you believe. Kanavis says he was called, that at the time of the call he didn't remember Luchs, and asked for Dohrmann to call back later (he was at work at the time). Dohrmann claims to have tried a few more times and given up pursuit of a reaction from McGhee. I think that's weak tea. If you're going to lead a damning piece with a line like "you never forget..." you'd better get a clear reaction one way or another from the subject. That's the lead of the article, the juicy tidbit that gets you to read further; it better be fucking true. I understand Dohrmann's position; he's got this big story, and there have a bunch of big confirmations on important segments, and the opening paragraphs are necessary to grab the reader. I just wish he would have either stuck with Kanavis until he got a confirmation or denial, held the article for a week, or cut the opening paragraphs. With a denial as strong as Big Al's was, you had to at least dig a little harder to get Kanavis' side. Just because a dude doesn't answer a phone call and email doesn't mean you get to throw him under the public opinion bus. Work harder, damnit!
As it is, I'm going to believe my fellow Buffaloes when they tell me, in such uncertain terms, that this story isn't all true. I believe that McGhee did meet Luchs, but that the meeting did not go as described in the article. I believe Dohrmann was put in a tough position both by Luchs' story, his own ambition, and the slow response of McGhee (although Big Al's reaction, in my opinion, should've warranted further follow-up). I'm interested to see where this goes; whether there will be any further pursuit of this issues by either Kanavis or S.I. My gut tells me that S.I. will write a quick follow-up for next week noting the denials, and attempt to forget about it; miking the national opinion of the piece. I'm not sure what Al or Kanavis will do...
As we all know from watching Winnie the Pooh, Bears like honey. In that spirit I've chosen Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss as this weeks Tailgate Beer-o-the-week.
Read the disclaimer again, I warned you that I might pick some beers that are below average. And, really anything Leiny makes is going to fall into the "below-average" category; So be forewarned. I've always got the feeling that rather than brewing their beer with the special ingredients noted in the style, that Leiny just adds artificial flavoring (I'm looking at you, Berry Weiss). If true, that would be a totally douche brewing move. That said, Honey Weiss is drinkable.
Honey Weiss is a pale, sweet session beer. It's probably more of a summer style, but the honey angle was too good to pass up. It's crazy light, and it may not be as sweet as you might assume from the title. Leiny may not be the best brewery on the planet, but at least their stuff is cheap. All I'm really hoping is that the Baylor Bears get stuck in that damn honey tree this weekend.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, Beat Baylor!
P.S. - We've got Texas Tech next week. If you can be the first one to guess what next week's gameday beer-o-the-week pick will be, I will personally buy you a 6-pack of that beer! (Hint: that's not a good thing)
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Earlier this week it was announced that former soccer player Marcus Kirkwood would get the first kicking opportunities Saturday night. Kirkwood, a soccer player from high school, has never played a down of 'Murikan football in his life. He's also 6-6 and looks disturbingly like Lurch in his official CU photo.
(Not trying to be mean, just saying "hey, dude looks like Lurch." From: cubuffs.com)
It's hilarious to watch him answer reporters questions in the video on Buffzone; he obviously wasn't ready for, or expecting, the attention. He's absolutely surrounded by reporters in that video! That just shows the level of desperation the entirety of Buff Nation, including the media, feels towards our kicking situation. I don't know how the gigantor-lefty from Arvada will perform the first time he's in front of a football crowd; what I do know is that he can't be much worse than Goodman is/was. At least we're trying something new...
(Hey TubaJohn, you may not want to read the next few paragraphs; I'm going to whack your alma mater around a bit)
It's awkward that I'm looking forward to this game. Why should a CU grad give two shits about Baylor? CU has historically done 3 things well: 1) send shit into space 2)have hot girls on campus and (current difficulties aside) 3)play football. Baylor excels at precisely 1 thing: existing in an area full of crazies. When you think Boulder, CO you think mountains, hot chicks, all the marajuana you could possibly smoke, a general "librul" attitude, and a kick-ass school. When you think Waco, TX you think Dr. Pepper, one of the great shit-hole towns this country has to offer, and the ATF burning down those Branch Davidian people. You tell me who's got the better life?
Yet, here we are treating this game like a rivalry. It all stems from Baylor alum Buddy Jones getting his panties (little girlie pink ones too!) in a bunch over Baylor not being thought of in any conference realignment plan. In a series of emails Jones, a Texas lobbyist, whored himself and his school out to anybody and anyone who would listen in an attempt to keep Baylor significant. Buddy could see the writing on the wall. It's only by the grace of former Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock that Baylor is even in the Big XII to begin with. He knew without immediate action, and without powerful friends in high places, that Baylor would've been left behind. So he decided to pick on the school with the fewest ties to Texas: CU.
Working behind the scenes, Mr. Jones, with the support of the Baylor administration, lobbied hard to keep the 6 Big XII South teams together. Jones goes and spins some bullshit (they pile it high in Texas) about how Baylor is better than CU in Women's Basketball (no one cares) and that Baylor's Baptist leanings should make them attractive to other conferences. (Baptist following? Did he honestly think the hippies in Berkley were going to think that was a selling point?) It was a lot of big talk coming from a school without a bowl appearance in the Big XII era. Additionally, somehow (*cough* Baylor *cough*), the news of our academic progress report got slipped to the press a few days early. Baylor was doing everything they could to stay remotely relevant (if you think being the local whipping boy is being relevant). They, along with the other small-fries of the conference, even offered larger cuts of the financial pie to UT, A&M and OU to stay.
In the end, UT decided to stay in the Big XII, and so the dissolution that Baylor feared never occurred. Let me make this clear: UT decided. This was about money and money alone. At no point in the process did UT ever consider Baylor's (or for that matter A&M or Tech) interests. What UT wanted, UT got; namely more money. I guess it worked out for Buddy, for now...
Still, fuck those guys. That piss-ant little private school can suck a bag of dicks. I thank God every day that I don't have to live in that God-forsaken shit-hole.
(TubaJohn gets a pass; he's the only cool thing to ever pass through Waco)
Unfortunately for CU, in a game filled with prideful implications, we aren't playing your father's Baylor Bears. Somehow (I suspect with large bags of weed) Coach Art Briles has lured some talent to Waco. I watched them lose to Tech last week and saw a surprisingly big team with speed in a few key areas. This will not be an easy game for CU.
Offensively, Baylor relies on multi-talented QB Robert Griffin III. The kid is blazingly fast; he almost made the '08 Olympic team as a hurdler. Watching the Tech game Saturday, I was also impressed by his arm; much stronger than I had thought. RG3 can sling it with the best in the nation. He's improved dramatically as a passer from his freshman year; for the year he has 13 TD passes and only 2 picks. He is a special player, and can almost beat a team on his own. While CU has some speed in the linebacking corps that will help, no one is going to be able to keep up with RG3 on their own; it will take a team effort to keep him from busting the game open. If it's not Griffin, the Bears look to RB's Jay Finley and WR Kendall Wright to keep the chains moving; but, really, it's the Robert Griffin show.
(RG3 is legit. From: SI)
Defensively, the Bears can be gotten. In the two games in which they played offenses who knew what they were doing (TCU, Tech), BU gave up a average of 45 points. In that Tech game alone, they gave up 635 yards of offense (!). Tech hasn't even been Tech since the coaching switch, and they threw up those stats. You can find holes in Baylor's defensive backfield if you look for them. TCU and Tech QB's combined to complete 63 of 82 passes. As efficient as Tyler has been this year, he should be able to find open receivers all over the field. Safety Byron Landor, DE Tevin Elliot and LB Elliot Coffey make the Baylor defensive machine go.
Speaking of Tyler, I think he will be real fired up for this game. Hawk slapped him in the face last week by pulling him for Cody, and I think Tyler is legitimately mad about it. I expect him to have a pretty darn good game; especially considering Baylor is susceptible to efficient passing attacks. You may not realize it, but Tyler is completing over 65% of his passes this year.
I also really like the way our defensive line is playing. Josh Hartigan is emerging as a good DE, and the boys up the middle, Pericak and Cunningham are playing really well together. Overall the defense has been good this year, and have been left out to dry by the special teams. Additionally, while Griffin has the potential to be an all-world QB, I think our fast defense has the potential to stunt him a little bit. Ron Collins is a good D-coordinator, and I'm excited to see what he has up his sleeves for this week.
(Puppies... that mean's there is depressing shit ahead...)
I really don't like the injuries to Anthony Perkins and Brian Lockridge. Perkins would've been a huge help this week; keeping track of Griffin and helping in run support (whatever freshman ends up replacing him will struggle). Lockridge helps Speedy stay fresh and effective, and the move of Will Jefferson to RB isn't exactly making me do cartwheels in anticipation. CU needs that run game to keep the ball out of RG3's hands. Combine that with our piss-poor special teams, and I just don't like the Buffs chances.
You're not going to like this, but I think CU loses at home to Baylor.
Yes, CU plays better at home, and, yes, CU plays better in night games. But this won't be your typical night game. Usually CU plays marquee opponents under the lights who bring in large numbers of fans who would otherwise skip the game; for Baylor I'm expecting those fans to stay home and an otherwise under-whelming crowd. Additionally, expect a massive hangover from the Missouri game, and, unlike Hawaii, I expect Baylor to be able to capitalize on that hangover to put the Buffs in a deep hole early.
The chants of "Fire Hawkins" will be quite loud Saturday as the Buffs fall: BU 31 - CU 17.
I feel so dirty typing that...
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Barely over a week after the celebration and remembrance of CU's 1990 national championship team concluded, Sports Illustrated drops this bomb: 3 of the players on that team had taken money from an agent. That agent, Josh Luchs, has a tell-all article in next week's SI, and it starts with this story:
There are moments you will always remember, like your first kiss or your first home run or the day you met your wife. For me, the first time I broke an NCAA rule to try to land a client is just as indelible.
It was before the 1990 football season, and I flew from Los Angeles to Denver and drove to the University of Colorado to try to meet with Kanavis McGhee. He was a big, pass-rushing linebacker who was expected to be a high pick in the 1991 NFL draft. I was 20 years old -- the youngest agent ever certified by the NFL Players Association -- and had less than a year's experience, but for whatever reason I convinced myself that I had a shot with him.
I figured out where Kanavis lived, drove to his apartment and knocked on the door. No one answered, so I waited. About four hours later, Kanavis finally came home and I bum-rushed him at the door.
"Hey, Kanavis, my name is Josh Luchs. I'm a sports agent, and I flew here from Los Angeles specifically for you," I said. "You're a great player and I came a long way, and I'd really appreciate it if you would sit down and talk to me for a few minutes."
Kanavis said, "Sure, man. Come on in."
We sat on his couch, and I gave him my spiel. I told him about myself and asked him questions, trying to connect with him. After about half an hour, Kanavis said to me, "Josh, you seem like a pretty good guy, can I share something with you?"
"I need some help. My mom lost her job and she's sick and she hasn't been able to make her rent. If I don't come up with $2,500, she is going to get evicted from her apartment."
"I don't know," I said. "Let me think about it. I'll come by tomorrow and let you know."
That night I sat in my hotel room making a list of pros and cons in my head. Sure, it was breaking NCAA rules, but I would be helping Kanavis out. How would I feel if my mom was sick and I didn't have money to help her? I went through this for hours and finally decided to do it. The next morning I went to the bank, pulled out some of my bar mitzvah money, $2,500 in cash, showed up at Kanavis's door and told him, "Kanavis, I gave this a lot of thought, and I want to help you out. I know how I would feel if it was my mom."
"Thank you so much," he said. "You're my boy, man. You're really coming through for me."
I went back to my hotel and for a little while I felt good, but then the phone rang. It was a teammate of Kanavis's calling.
"Hey, man, Kanavis told me you're a pretty good dude," he said. "I got this problem, and I need some help. My father is really sick and he is losing his apartment and I need $2,500. Do you think you can help me out the way you helped Kanavis?"
My heart dropped. I hung up and got the hell out of there. The whole flight home I was kicking myself. How could I be so stupid? -link
Luchs, the agent from the article. From: SI)
I usually don't quote so liberally from an article, but I do so because the story is so damning. (I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing, because it is an interesting read) The article goes on to claim that 1990 team members Joel Steed and Greg Thomas took money from Luchs along with McGhee. (Thomas didn't respond to phone messages, Steed flat out denied the allegation, and McGhee told them to call back later.)
I'm not going to go into the agent-player relationship. The agent-college player world is one of seedy back room deals, often born because the NCAA keeps these players from earning any money off of their on field efforts. (In fact one player in the article says he'd do it again specifically because it meant food on his table versus going hungry) What I do want to talk about is what this means to the 1990 team.
While the main CU player referenced in this article, Kanavis McGhee, hasn't responded yet (everyone at CU, from Coach Mac to Dave Plati have denied the allegations. I think it would be weird if the McGhee story was untrue, however. Not only is it filled with detail, but others in the article have admitted and expounded on their money-taking. Innocent until proven guilty; yadda, yadda), and it would be imprudent to assume guilt before hearing his response, the implications of the story told in the article raise a few questions. Specifically, what would the NCAA do?
We've all noticed the NCAA's aggressive posture over the past year in going after violations. USC, UCONN, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Miami, Arizona, West Virginia, LSU, and Michigan (off the top of my head) all have been investigated, and have copped to, violations in the past year. I'm sure the list is longer. Considering that the NCAA is hell bent on making it look like rule benders and breakers are going to get caught, I'm sure they will go apeshit over this article. It's not like CU is the only team mentioned here; it's damn near everybody in the southwest! There's a lot to be investigated, and it will take time for them to both decide if and how they will go after the violations listed in the article.
What could happen to CU? When a player gets paid by an agent, that constitutes a "major" violation. Typically that player would be ruled ineligible, and, at the very least, all games that player played in after the violation would be stricken from the record (in the NCAAs peculiar method of attempting to forget anything bad ever happened... ever. That thing you saw happen was a mirage... wooooOOOOOOoooo). While a lot of time has elapsed, and I don't think they would "punish" the existing program, it's not unprecedented for the NCAA to go deeply into the record books to expunge rule violators (see: the Michigan fab 5). I could see them trying to erase 1990 from the books. While I don't see the AP re-voting on the season (hell, many of the writers in that poll are dead), it would put a giant band-aid over that national championship sign on the suites.
While I don't believe Mac ran a "dirty" program, if McGhee (and others) took money from an agent it would tarnish the championship team in my eyes. I can't sit here and lambaste the USC's and Miami's of the world for using ineligible players, and then turn around an look away when my school does the same. That would be SEC-level hypocrisy. It would be shameful if this ends up being a true account, and one CU itself should look into, especially since Kanavis is on the coaching staff.
Fuckin-a this fall is starting to go south...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I should say that I have a personal reason for admiring Mike. Beyond his work helping recover the athletic program after the Tharp years, he also revitalized the connection between the athletic department and the marching band. During my senior season he stepped in and made the band one of his focuses; improving relations, ensuring we had a voice on the Buff Club Board, and engaging the band members face to face. From my perspective, having been part of the institution when it was largely ignored by Dick Tharp and his cronies, Mike's involvement was a breath of fresh air. (Tharp can suck a bag of dicks) So yes, I am biased to like Mike and his efforts, but so what.
Pt 1. Mike Bohn has been awesome for CU, and I'd be sad to see him go.
Mike Bohn's leadership in a time of financial and political hardship for the University as a whole has been stellar. Think of this: despite all of the on-field losing, despite the financial hardships, despite the state of the athletic department when he took over, and despite the general apathy (even disdain) the State outside of Boulder has for this University, the Athletic department has vastly improved since Mike came to CU.
Throughout his tenure he's helped raise the level of donations, fill seats in what should otherwise be (and what historically has been) an empty Folsom Field, improve our football, basketball and volleyball facilities (Seriously, the spring teams used to practice in a high-school gym across town), improve relations with the City of Boulder, renew a focus on integrating past stars into current promotions to build a sense of history, and help the department recover from the taint of the football scandal (as bullshit as that scandal may have been). When you walk into Folsom 1 week after being blown out by Cal and see an almost full stadium, including a full suite section (which was once embarrassingly empty), to see CU play a no-name Hawaii team, you know how good Mike is at his job.
For further proof, just look at the Pac-12 situation. A university down on its on-field luck, strapped for cash because of the never-ending cuts from the stat's budget, and without a marquee following was at the forefront of conference realignment. It still amazes me to this day how Mike and the AD staff was able to pull this off. While ADs and Presidents at KU, Missouri and Baylor ran around like 3rd-rate whores, sniping at rivals behind their backs and prostituting themselves to big-brother UT, Bohn and CU were already 10 steps ahead, and continued to handle themselves with grace and professionalism when others couldn't be bothered. It was a master class in how to work a situation to your advantage.
(Wait, how did we end up in the Pac-12 again? From: TRR)
In the end, Mike Bohn has done his hometown proud. He has reinvigorated the CU fan base even when there has been nothing to be reinvigorated about. While I desperately want him to continue his good work here, should the offer from KU come, at this point I feel he has earned the right to call his own shots. If he wants to go to his alma mater, he's earned that right, and I'll do nothing but tip my hat to him for a job well done.
Pt 2. On Mike's coaching hires.
Many people attack his high-profile coaching hires, but what else could he have done? Sure, Hawk and K-Mac have been awful, and the decision to let RP coach for one more basketball decision was semi-idiotic, but he was kind of set up to fail in each of those cases. While I don't believe you can really blame Mike for wins and losses on the field/court (his job is to market and fund-raise, not coach), it is a valid topic of discussion. Here then is my defense of each hire:
Hawk was a prime head coaching candidate in the winter of 2005; anyone suggesting that Mike should've seen that Pederson was the genius at Boise St. has their head up their ass. Boise gets by with big wins of shitty programs, and has produced a prime coaching candidate that had flopped before (Dick Koetter). I'm still not convinced that Pederson would succeed if he had been hired, and I imagine he'd be another Boise St. coaching flop if he left the Broncos (Which is why I imagine he's not going to leave). Hawk was a good hire; we got him relatively cheap he was excited to be here, and it was a nationally recognized positive step. To look back and say "Oh, Hawk sucks so obviously Bohn didn't do his job right" is a bullshit reconstruction of past events. Anyone who uses Hawks hire against Bohn is an asshole. (I'll even defend the extension, but that's a whole separate issue)
K-Mac was going to fail regardless of he on the court exploits. She was following the winningest head coach in CU Women's Basketball history. Ceal Barry is an institution in Western Women's athletics and following her would be like following Chris Rock in a comedy club. Absolutely, a .500 record in conference would've been nice, but I don't think anyone could've succeeded as a Ceal Barry followup. Furthermore, do you really care about the Women's basketball team? Be honest.... At least with Linda Lappe you have a direct line to the Ceal Barry days.
The end of the RP era was a legitimate disaster. Letting him coach in '06-'07 was a mistake that even Bohn would admit was egregious. Unfortunately I think he might've been forced into the situation through the financial distresses of the time. Hawk had just begun to lose (The decision came on the heels of the 0-6 football start), and I wonder if Bohn had the money to re-sign Patton. In that situation, Mike now realizes he should've just fired him, rather than let the situation play out. That decision ultimately set the program back 2 years. But look at his replacement; Jeff Bzdelik was an excellent hire. We got a high profile head coach, on the cheap, who helped turn the program around. The absolute worst thing you can say about Coach Bzdelik's time in Boulder is that he left the program in better shape than he found it, and that's a hell of a thing to say when you're talking CU Men's Basketball. Good hire there, and a potential good hire in Tad Boyle. Overall, from better coaching to a VAST improvement in facilities, the men's basketball program is where CU has seen the most progress under Mike Bohn's tenure (not surprising coming from a KU grad).
(Mike with KU buddy, and new CU head coach, Tad Boyle. That KU focus on basketball has really helped us out. From: The BDC)