Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick Post: On Wisconsin

Alright Wisconsin.  I don't like you, and you don't like me, but, for this one time, we're in this together.  You beat Nebraska, and we're good.
That stupid Pop Tart of a mascot better do a lot of pushups Saturday.
I can't stand to live in a world where Husker fans are happy, so I need you, Wisconsin, to crush their spirits in NU's first ever Big 10 game.  You've got the whole of Buff Nation on your side.  I just want to tell you good luck, we're all counting on you.

Oh, and Fuck the Huskers.  Old habits die hard.

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - WSU 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!" 

I doubt I will have any beer at the tailgate tomorrow.  Shocking, News-at-11 level shit, I know.  I just won't physically be able to partake in my normal tailgate routine.  That's because tonight I will be doing my best to try each and every one of the 2,400 beers at the Great American Beer Festival, and the hangover tomorrow morning will be just short of debilitating.

GABF, 30 years a part of the Colorado craft brewing scene, is like the Super Bowl of beer.  If you haven't been, the best way I can describe it is to have you imagine Heaven, in all of its glory and splendor, and then cram it into a convention center.  I've been 3 times, and every time I enter the main hall I swear I can hear the faint sound of angels singing.
*cue the angelic choir*
Over 450 breweries bring the best beer that America has to offer to the Mile High City, and, over the course of 3-days, invite anyone smart enough to grab a ticket ahead of time to come and have a taste.  One ounce at a time, beer enthusiasts from across the globe slowly whittle their way through some truly spectacular stuff.  It's a one-of-a-kind experience to watch 40,000+ people slowly get sloshed on some of the best beers in the world.

Since tomorrow morning will have to be a very quiet and sober experience, this evening will serve as my tailgate for the game tomorrow.   In respect to all of the beers I can wait to taste, I'm not going to single out any particular beer for the week.  Accordingly, I'm naming each and every one of the hundreds of beers I'm about to sample this evening as my tailgate beers-o-the-week.

I had screwed up this year; tickets sold out before I could get my finances in order.  Luckily, I got friends in low places who know how to procure items when needed.  For the low, low price of free, I get to attending the festival this evening.  THANKS RICO, YOU FUCKING ROCK!

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat the Cougars!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Washington St Preview: The Cougars are here, and they brought a flag.

Better late than never, right?  Interestingly enough, I think this version is better than the one that was deleted.  Second passes seem to always garner better results.  Go figure.

Washington St seems to operate in some sort of cone-of-silence; far removed from the center of the Pac-12 universe, and situated on the far eastern edge of the state, the Cougars seem to be afterthought in conference goings-ons.  Hell, outside of the annual Apple Cup game with UW-Seattle, I never hear much from these guys... except when ESPN's College Gameday comes on, of course.

For years, all you would have to do is turn on Gameday to be exposed to the dedicated WSU fanbase.  Invariably, a Washington St flag would be situated somewhere behind the head of CU alum Chris Fowler, begging you to ponder the question, "Why Washington St?"

It's a testament to the dedication and passion of a fanbase that is largely forgotten in the national landscape.  The tradition, started by WSU alum Tom Pounds, is now a ubiquitous part of Saturday mornings, and really is all WSU has a reputation for.  I suppose if it was a group of Alabama or the Ohio State fans, members of a large, and douchey fan base, I'd find the tradition annoying.  But since it's representing a relative BCS minnow like WSU, I find it kind of cool.

Good on ya, WSU fans!  You're doing yourselves and the rest of the Pac-12 proud.


CU will officially start the Pac-12 era against Washington St on Saturday afternoon.  Kick-off is set for 1:30.  If you're still hungover from attending the Great American Beer Festival, and can't find it within yourself to man-up and make it to Boulder, the game can be seen on FCS-Pacific.

Click below for the preview...

Site News: I fucked up

You know that Washington State preview, the one I worked on til 2 in morning last night? IT GONE! Deleted by ctrl-z fail.

After I finish slitting my wrists, I'll get to re-writting all of that bullshit. Look for it later today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick Post: Pac-12 preview bullshit

I continue to be amazed by the lack of imagination used by preview magazines.

Kensler noted in the Post today that the trend amongst preview writers is to stick CU at or near the bottom of the Pac-12.  My guess is that this is just left over habit from their football previews, 'cause CU won't nearly be that bad.  I'd probably agree with the writers had CU not grabbed three quality transfers (Brown, Adams, and Chen) last season to help fill out the roster.

Will there be a drop off?  Sure, but this program isn't finishing last in the exceedingly average Pac-12.  I know these guys don't know us, and hadn't watched us previously, but this is garbage.

WTF Wilner!  You had us 9th back in May (which was already bullshit).  What happened between now and May to drop us to 11th?

BTW, the Pac-12 released their basketball prospectus.  You can read up on it here.

Quick Post: Guy on a Buffalo Pt 2

OH YOUR GOD!  EDSBS (dply on Allbuffs had it as well) has alerted me to the emergence of "Guy on a Buffalo" pt 2!

Check it out:
This week, G.O.A.B. punches a cougar IN THE FACE!  How appropriate!

Apparently, these are scenes cut from the 1978 movie "Buffalo Rider."  I have never, EVER, heard of this thing.  You can, thanks to the magic of teh intertubes, watch the whole movie on Youtube.  Thank you internet gods!

Moneyball review

Since football season is all about waiting for something to happen, I went to see the Brad Pitt vehicle 'Moneyball' the other nightIt's a good flick, but ultimately flawed.  Here's my review:

I wanted to love Moneyball, I really did.  The book the film is based off of was one of the defining sports reads of my life (while I still disagree with much of it), it's a baseball movie (I'm a sucker for baseball flicks), and it stars Brad Pitt fer chrissakes ('Bon-jer-no').  I am, decidedly, this movie's target audience.  And yet, in retrospect, the film wasn't all that good.

To be clear, I had a great time watching it.  I got more chuckles out of the subtle jokes than many in the theater did, I was enthralled by the machinations of a clubs front office, and I ate up the beautiful presentation of the game I love.  Unfortunately, as a film, this beast was doomed from the start.

I could sit here and get picky, that Billy Beane would never have gone to the Indians offices to discuss a mid-level trade (where, in the film, he discovers the fictitious Peter Brand) or that the A's had built the "moneyball" system into the organization in the years prior to '02, but that would be nearsighted of me.  Ultimately, this film fails because it has nothing to build to.  

The character study of Beane, the acerbic A's GM, is brilliant and compelling (mostly 'cause Pitt is a fantastic actor), but there is no larger story arc.  The A's of the early 2000's are interesting only in respect to their ability to root out a store of under-valued talent that professional baseball had essentially never tapped.  While their example ushered in a new era of player evaluation and development, they lack the ultimate success, or shocking failure, that makes for a good story.  Outside of "Billy being Billy," there's really nothing to this film.  
Pitt is fantastic as Beane, yet he's driving the film to nowhere in particular.
The movie starts with the pain of losing to the Yankees in October. The audience is treated to moaning about how unfair the system is, and that the A's of the world have no shot against the villainous Yankees and their piles of cash.  Yet, when it comes time to resolve the story, the Yankees are nowhere to be found.  Instead, the climax of the tale ends up being an early September game against the lowly Kansas City Royals, in which the A's blow a 11-run lead, only to triumphantly walk-off... against the fucking Royals.  

Scott Hatterberg, played charmingly, yet briefly, by Parks and Recreation favorite Chris Pratt, hits his "dramatic" home run off the "great" Jason Grimsley.  I'm supposed to be entertained?  It's fucking Jason Grimsley!  I cannot stress this enough.  Beating the Royals during the century's first decade, no matter the context, does not make for good drama.
Pratt is awesome, but his climactic home run struck me hollow.
Maybe that's just reality letting down Hollywood.  The 2000's A's, despite plenty of against-the-grain success, never really achieved anything.  While in the book Beane rails about how foolish "old-school" GMs like My White Sox own Kenny Williams are, Beane never really had ultimate success to latch onto (While Williams, notably, did).  The truth is that Moneyball, or essentially a new way of evaluating talent, only granted the "have-nots" a few years of sneaking into the playoffs before the "haves" caught up to what was happening.  In retrospect, maybe the story should've been about futility; the ultimate tragedy of trying to pursue the Sisyphean task of trumping the Yankees with a sub-$40 million payroll. 

Regardless, Pitt is fantastic, and the flick is compelling enough to hold your attention throughout it's over 2 hour run-time.  See it, but don't be surprised if you find the final 30 minutes to be anti-climactic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Will the potential loss of the NBA season help CU?

Allow me to digress back into the world of CU basketball...

Non-conference attendance has always been a black mark on the overall profile of CU basketball.  While Buff Nation can often move themselves to show up for games vs high-profile conference rivals, pick any night in November or December, and more than likely the CEC will only be 30% full... or less.
Even the great Alec Burks played in front of a lot of empty seats in November and December.
The list of rationales given for the lack of attendance is nearly as extensive as the number of empty seat-backs.  Since I latched onto the CU basketball program in 2002 (my freshman year), I've heard the following list of excuses: the team's not very good, the opponent's not very good, I've never even heard of the opponent, I don't like the coach, it's cold outside, the CEC isn't a good environment to watch a game (bullshit), I'm more focused on football, I don't like basketball, I've got work in the morning, etc.  I hear less whining from 5-year-olds.

The end result is, on an average night in non conference play over the past 9 seasons, you would find barely over 3,500 fans in attendance.  Pathetic.

The fact is, I think CU fans have it rather good.  Parking is free, tickets are cheap (often for as little as $1), and the team is usually feisty enough to play hard for a few minutes.  If you care, even a little bit, about your university, there should be nothing keeping you from attending a CU game.

Regardless, I think there's hope on the horizon for attendance in non-conference play.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the NBA is very close to abandoning at least part of the '11-'12 season.  The league has postponed training camps, and begun the process of canceling preseason games.  Additionally, players from around the league are abandoning the sinking ship for lucrative contracts overseas.  While few "name" players have jumped to European and Asian clubs, some big names, like Kobe, have plenty of options when the time is right.  Essentially, the players are in full-on "the season isn't happening" mode.

While this situation isn't good for the overall health of basketball, it could end up being good news for CU's non-conference attendance woes. Should the NBA's regular season get canceled, either it it's entirety or a partial cancellation, many of the hoop junkies who are used to streaming towards the Pepsi Center may turn their lonely eyes to Boulder.  Families looking for a night of hoops in late November/early December may find the basketball Buffs to be a cheap and viable alternative.  At a time when the greed of owners and players alike may cause sports fans in Denver to throw their hands up in disgust, there may very well be a niche market arising for hard-working "amateur" athletes.  At least part of that NBA crowd could be ripe for the taking, at least in the interim.

Would the resulting increase in attendance be massive?  Absolutely not, but would it surprise me to see a 15% bump in overall non-conference attendance?  Not in the slightest.

To put that 15% in perspective, over the last 4 years (Coach Bz era and the Coach Boyle epoch), CU has averaged just over 4k fans per non-conference night (4,078).  A 15% bump (>600) would see that average attendance come close to 4,700 people.  I think that's a fair guess-timate.

Of course, you can't expect to see that across the board.  5,500 people aren't going to bust down the door to see CU play Fort Lewis College on opening night.  But, could sizable crowds of 6-7k show up to see the Buffs take on Georgia, Fresno St, and Wyoming?  I'd like to think it's very possible.  And, in a year where CSU doesn't appear on the home portion of the non-con schedule, it may be the difference between historically high and low attendance figures.


The nitty gritty on my projection.

Averaging 7k for the medium-profile teams on the schedule would allow the Buffs to hit my target numbers. I'll give CU fans the benefit-of-the-doubt (in honor of the NIT run), and say that 4k show up on opening night, even with the shitty opponent (that's a stretch).  For Cal State Bakersfield, I'll put the Buffs down for the non-con average of 3,500.  Additionally, I'll say attendance for Texas Southern and New Orleans combines to 5k (Christmas week is always poorly attended).  Total it up, and the projected non-con total is 33,500 for an average of just over 4,700 per night.  Right at my target and an actual increase of 17% over the past 4 years.

If this happens, I'll buy everyone a coke.

Historical notes.

High Non-Con average - 02-03 - 4,416
Low Non-Con average - 05-06 - 2,097
High Conference average - 10-11 - 9,809
Low Conference average - 06-07 - 3,491
Combined average Non-Con from '02-'03 - '10-'11 - 3,585
Combined average Conference from '02-'03 - '10-'11 - 6,974

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Hey, look, another road loss!

 The watch party at my house got a little rough Saturday.  While there was plenty of beer and food, one of us got punched in the mouth celebrating the first score ('twas unintentional, but the recipient didn't seem to understand that point), and another rolled his ankle stepping in a gopher hole while tossing the ball around at halftime.  All told it was just another awful viewing experience at my house for a road game; I really need to stop hosting watch parties.

This week in the bag, I'll perform some mop-up work on the OSU game, ponder special teams, run around football nation, and eulogize my pathetic White Sox.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - tOSU 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!" 

As far as I know, there are no breweries in the state of Ohio that produce a beer that is widely available in Colorado.  This creates a problem for me when trying to pick an appropriate beer to have when CU is playing THE Ohio State University.  So, please, excuse me as I go a little outside the box on this one.

A Buckeye, for those of you who aren't familiar with America's lamest mascot, is a nut grown from the American buckeye tree, which also happens to be the state tree of Ohio.  The nut itself is mildly poisonous, and was used by pioneers in the tanning of leather.  It makes for a very underwhelming mascot.
Fearsome looking, I know.
Since Ohio has a limited brewing culture, and their nut mascot is all I can latch onto, I decided to "hop across the pond" to tab an English Brown Ale, which are widely known for their "nutty" flavor.  My favorite of this variety is not only well-known and widely available, but also quite tasty.  I'm naming Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.

After going with the exceedingly average last week, this week I've tabbed quality.  Sammy Smith's Nut Brown is a darn good beer, and one that allows you to feel haughty and cultured just by displaying it at your watch-party.

Expectantly toasty and nutty-sweet, the beer ends with a contrasting bitterness on the finish.  While malty, it doesn't taste heavy, and you can have more than one without feeling weighed down in suds.  As with most English ales, it is probably best consumed after it has warmed up a bit out of the fridge.  If you're looking for something different, I suggest buying a few of the 550ml bottles for your tailgate; you won't be sorry.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat the Buckeyes!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The epic @DanBeebee rant

If there was joy to be found throughout the conference re-alignment kerfuffle, it emanated from the brilliance that was the @DanBeebe fake twitter account.  Day after day, from the apparently drunken ramblings in the evenings, to the miss-understanding of the direct message feature during the day, he's been a bright spot amongst the greed and backbiting of the national re-alignment discussion.

This afternoon, in response to the real life departure of the real life Dan Beebe from the Big XII, @DanBeebe went on an epic rant for the ages.  Hilarity ensued.  Holding back no punches, he hit on each of the original Big XII schools, and especially destroyed A&M and, of course, UT.

To record it for posterity, I now present, in its complete form, the (apparently) departing rant from the Fake Dan Beebe.  Enjoy.

Quick Post: Why CU is more desirable than UT or OU

I bet there's more than a few people in the Red River Valley muttering to themselves "the Pac-12 accepts Colorado and Utah into their conference, but rejects Texas and Oklahoma?  Has the world gone mad?" 

Nope, it hasn't. 

I feel it all comes down to the balance of power.  The 8-team west coast core of the conference, that has been together since the 50's, has a understanding of each other's role, a sense of who holds the power within the conference.  The fact is, with the '11 inclusion of CU and Utah, it expanded with partners who are not in any way threatening to the status quo.  There's no threat to the old balance of power. 

This would not have been the case with Texas and Oklahoma.  The power balance would've shifted, rather drastically, away from San Francisco and LA.  While the money probably would've been gargantuan, to accept in a new set of rivals, and make concessions in the process, would be to lessen the power and influence of the old guard, and that's just not how the world works. 

I bet, in the end, there were a lot more schools from the old Pac-8 crew who objected to the potential expansion scenarios than had been expected.  That, more than any howling from Bruce Benson and the CU fanbase, kept the Pac-12 from super-conference status.

UPDATED: OSU preview: the Mike Bohn Memorial Fire Dan Hawkins Road Trip, sponsored by Cinch Jeans

When the Buffs inked this game last season, without the guaranteed return trip befitting a program of CU's stature, I couldn't help but think of all the 1-AA schools who travel the country looking for ass-kickings and a quick paycheck.  Sure, the Buffs are getting a massive non-con appearance fee, but it's still football prostitution at its finest (with Mike Bohn as the pimp).  It's an awkward situation, being hamstrung by not only the typical CU budgetary woes, but also paying-off a disastrous failure of a coach and not receiving any TV money to boot.  While CU seems to have caught OSU at the perfect time, with the Buckeyes hurting more than they have in a decade, it's still a massive challenge to walk into the Horseshoe, and the whole scenario boils down to a cash grab.
Mike, you gotta keep that pimp hand strong!
The long and the short of it is we needed the cash.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and all that.

So bring on OSU with their deep pockets, and bring on whatever horrors await in the shadows of the Horseshoe.  Things will not always be this way, but, for one weekend at least, we are the Little Sisters of the Poor.  However the game goes on Saturday, I'll be humming "Take the Money and Run" all day long.


The final non-conference test of the season kicks off at 1:30 MT.  Since you probably aren't going to Columbus for this one, I suggest tuning into ABC (or ESPN2 if it's blacked out in your area) to catch the 5th all-time matchup between the Bucks and the Buffs.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick Post: Speedy is finally going home

The 2009 trip to Toledo was supposed to be a special one for star CU running back Rodney Stewart.  As I sat there in the Glass Bowl stands (yes, I was in attendance that night), I found myself surrounded by a bunch of his friends and family who had taken over the CU section in hope of seeing the diminutive running back perform once more in his home state.  However, it was not to be as a thigh strain kept him out of action.

I felt terrible that his supporters, all clad in supportive T-shirts, wouldn't get the opportunity to see their Ohio hero play.  While Speedy went on to have a strong sophomore campaign, which he followed up with a stellar junior season, I think everyone in attendance that night would've liked to see him play.

But, that is not the end of the story.  This weekend, Speedy has another bite at the homecoming apple. The Columbus, OH native is truly coming home to play in front of friends and family.  This time, injuries aren't a concern, and Speedy is the focal point of the offense, both as a proven runner, and as a receiver.
Speedy, who starred as a high school running back in Columbus, finally gets a chance to play in front of friends and family this weekend.  From: Rivals
I have no doubt that Speedy will be ready to shine in the Horseshoe, to show the Buckeyes what they missed when they ignored the homegrown tailback out of high school.  I hope he has the game of his life on Saturday, and that he enjoys the homecoming that's 2 years overdue.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quick Post: the Pac-12 is staying the Pac-12!

The SWC hordes have retreated!  Larry Scott remains El Jeffe!  The Pac-12 is still an economical 12-Pac!

I hope the rest of Buff Nation is as jubilant as I am, because this is fantastic news.  A vote on the future of the conference tonight came down decidedly opposed to any of the varied expansion proposals that had been bandied about.  While I'm sure CU was decidedly against any expansion scenarios, I'd be interested to see who else made up the "overwhelming support" in favor of remaining a 12-team league.

While it's probably true that this is just a temporary bump on the road towards a western super-conference, it's important that the Pac-12 enter into the new era on it's terms.  If Texas, or for that matter any other school, can't come to grips with who holds the power in negotiations, then they can take a hike.  It's El Jeffe's way or the highway!

For CU, this means more time to solidify it's position and relationships within the new conference, while staying in a schedule model that includes yearly games in Los Angeles.  For the Big XII, this probably means a few more years of existence before the executioners axe falls.

Yet another Buffalo victory in the expansion wars!

UPDATED: Buffs and the eastern road trip jinx

Please, allow me a slight digression into a painful bit of CU history...

When the Buffs head east this weekend to the palatial confines of Ohio State's Horseshoe, they'll not only be carrying their 5 year-long road losing streak and playing a more talented team, they'll also be fighting against a historical predilection to defeat on eastern road trips. While the Buffs hold a barely over-.500 overall road record, bolstered by a 103-57-4 record in road games played in Colorado, east of the Mississippi River CU is only batting a paltry .317. (For comparison, outside of Colorado, yet west of the Mississippi, CU holds a somewhat respectable .452 winning percentage.)
Crossing the Mississippi River has been a difficult task for CU in the past.
While the program's most important win, the '91 Orange Bowl, came in the very eastern city of Miami, something happens to the Buffalo mojo once the team crosses the "Big Muddy."  Hell, even in that magical year of 1990, the Buffs suffered their only loss of the season when they crossed the Mighty Mississippi to play Illinois.

In order to better understand the program's historical difficulty with eastern excursions, I went through the season archives at, and came up with this spreadsheet of results from games played east of the Mississippi.

Not surprisingly, CU started out their history of disastrous eastern road trips with a 35-0 loss to Amos Stagg's Chicago Maroon juggernaut in 1921.  Since that date, the Buffs have slogged to a 13-27-1 all-time record in trips eastward.  Of those 41 trips, including 9 bowl trips, the Buffs were held to 10 points or less 19 times.
While Bobby Anderson had no problems crossing the Mississippi for the '69 Liberty bowl, CU has often struggled when crossing the river.
Outside of the 11 seasons from 1969-1979, where CU went 8-7 in the east, the Buffs are a dreadful 5-20-1.  More worryingly, since Rick Neuheisel whupped the Wisconsin Badgers in his first game as head coach in '95, CU has yet to win east of the Mississippi, having been outscored 258-119 in 8 trips.

Probably the most painful of those 8 recent failures, at least in my eyes, was the '09 trip to Toledo, OH. Fresh off a stunning loss in Folsom to 'little brother,' CU headed to the Glass Bowl in hope of turning the season around.  Instead, CU ran headlong into a Rocket powerhouse that would burst to a 5-7 (3-5) record in '09.  Had the nation been interested, they could've tuned into ESPN that night to see the hapless Buffs give up 624 yards of offense to a mid-level MAC school.  The vaunted rockets would score on 5 of their first 6 possessions, en route to a 54-38 victory that wasn't nearly as close as the scoreline would suggest.
CU seemed a bit slow that night in Toledo.  I'm telling you, weird shit happens on eastern road trips.
Such is life for CU east of the Mississippi.

I'm not saying that CU is doomed on Saturday.  Stranger things have happened, and THE Ohio State University did look particularly awful last weekend in Miami, but it's a steep historical slope that CU will need to trudge up to claim victory.
(Updated for @BupsJones: While there have been plenty of trouble spots, things haven't always been bad east of the Mississippi.  Take for example this game here.  There is always hope!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: The deed is done.

CU did what they had to Saturday afternoon.  They absorbed CSU's 1st drive haymaker, and dug in for a ugly game.  The first win of the season behind the Buffs, the focus is now on the toughest CU non-con roadtrip since Tallahassee in 2003.

But first, I'll take a look back at the RMS, the mixed bag of results, a look around the national football scene, and more conference realignment mishegas.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - CSU 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!"

There can be only one beer for the CSU game.  A beer so noble in packaging as to force all who drink it to forget how average the beer tastes.  As is tradition, for the week of the RMS I'm naming Buff Gold as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.

I give this beer a lot of crap for being less than spectacular, but it really is strikingly 'average.'  While I'd certainly take it over any macro-brew floating around the tailgate pit outside of Sports Authority Field, it wouldn't be the first thing I'd order when sitting down at a bar. 

To be fair, it's kind of tasty, and if you're new to 'craft beer' this would be a safe place to start.  It's definitely a session beer, and satisfies through multiple servings.  There's a heavy dose of beady malt throughout the flavor, with just enough bittering hops to let you know they care.  I'd go out on a limb to say it's better on tap than out of a bottle, but then where would you find a tap of this in the middle of a tailgating area?

Honestly, the only reason I keep coming back to the Boulder Beer staple is the packaging (...damn those brilliant marketers!).  Shallow as that may be, I just don't give a damn.  C'mon, there's a herd of Buffalo on the bottle!  They even threw in the Flatirons!  The label just screams 'Boulder' and 'CU!'  Seriously, grab a six pack of Buff Gold, add in a shot of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and see if that doesn't get you in the mood for CU football.  Buffalo-Makers all around!

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat the Lambs!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quick Post: Guy on a Buffalo - Pt 1

The guys at EDSBS tweeted this awesome video of a guy riding a Buffalo around and doin' stuff.

Check it out:

That would've been a much better video to post than the "rubes filming wildlife" shit I dug up for the Cal game.  Hopefully Pt 2 of 'Guy on Buffalo' includes him fucking up some nuts.

CSU Preview: Baa, Ram, Ewwwwwwwww.... that's disgusting

For reasons unknown, the yearly series of questionable profit continues this weekend.  Reality and logic be damned, we're headed back to Invesco Sports Authority Field to face the CSU Rams.  You can check out my preview from last season here.

I can't help but think of the underpants gnomes from South Park when thinking about this game.

Phase 1:  Play CU and CSU in Denver

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Profit!

I don't know why we head to Denver each year, but everyone keeps saying it makes more money for everyone involved.  Thing is, I can't see how.  Every year more and more fans stay away in droves.  How is it, with empty seats and fewer concession dollars, that the yearly "showdown" isn't becoming an unprofitable embarrassment?  Has anyone checked the books?

Don't look at CU fans, Buff Nation supports our team as would befit a program of our stature.   As of yesterday, the Buffs have sold over 95% of their 38,000 ticket allotment.  As usual, it's the CSU fan base, long known for fickle and mostly absent support of their lower-profile alma mater, which continues to halfheartedly buy into the game they demand stays on the schedule.  It was announced that not only have they barely sold over 50% of their allotment, but their student section isn't even a sell-out. For shame, Rammies.

Good luck to the Denver Sports Commission, cause they've got a decade worth of half-empty Sports Authority Field to go before they can drop the charade; and remember to blame CSU for the piss-poor attendance Saturday.

To re-iterate: this game belongs on campus.


Breaking with tradition, the crew and I failed to make our yearly sojourn into enemy territory to purchase a flag for burning.  While I may not have a fresh Ram flag to burn this year, I can remind everyone of what a CSU flag looks like when it gets lit on fire.  Posted for your hate-filled pleasure is the video of last year's event.  Enjoy:

The 2011 CU/CSU game will kick off at 11:30 AM.  If you can manage to get up that early on a Saturday, yet can't make it to Denver (plenty of tickets still available, btw!), you can watch the game, with color commentary provided by CU's own Joel Klatt, on Root Sports/FSN. 

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why I hate Sports Authority Field

It's no secret that I despise everything to do with the Rocky Mountain Showdown.  I hate the traditional timing (1st week, although this season is mercifully different), I hate the opponent, and I really hate giving the opponent an undeserved spot in the "national" spotlight.  But the element of the RMS that frustrates me the most is the venue.  Invesco Sports Authority Field, as 'just another soul-less NFL stadium,' has no right to host a college game.

It's not the opponent... honestly, it's not.  Were CU to play Nebraska in the stadium, it would still be a terrible idea.  I was listening to Vic and Gary on 102.3 this morning, and I swear Vic Lombardi used the term "unique" to describe a bland NFL vacuous canyon of plastic and concrete.  I don't know what Vic was smoking, but the current version of Mile High is anything but unique. 

Old Mile High was a unique venue.  Folsom Field is a unique venue (just look to last week; I'll take last Saturday in Folsom, with it's perfect weather and rockin' crowd, over anywhere else in the world).  Hell, even CSU's Hughes Stadium, such as it is, is unique (it uniquely recreates the experience of going to a mid-level Texas high school game... only without the large attendance).  Sports Authority Field is fake, corporate, and devoid of any sense of place.  There are over 25 rough facsimiles spaced across the NFL; certainly not unique.  Seriously, what's the difference between Sports Authority and, say, Paul Brown Stadium?
Hooray!  Half-empty, lifeless venue!  Can't wait for Saturday!
I loved the way Thorburn put it this morning in the Camera: "I understand why the 4A and 5A state championships are played at Sports Authority Field. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those high school players to step on the same field where Tim Tebow watches the Denver Broncos play."  Badass use of the current Bronco roster-fail aside, that's exactly the point.  The only reason the new-ish Mile High holds any significance is because the Broncos play there.  It's not the home of the Buffs, it's not the home of the Rams, it's the home of some team that has no connection to either program.

I took great note of where the Northwestern Wildcats decided to play their alternate venue rivalry game last season; they picked Wrigley Field over the current incarnation of Soldier Field in Chicago.  It made perfect sense: historical venue (Wrigley was once home to more than the Cubs, afterall), made for a great story, and didn't piggy-back on the local NFL team's schtick.  The 'Cats were doing their own thing, separated from what the Bears do.  Why do Colorado sports teams constantly feel obligated to hitch themselves to the Broncos' broken wagon-train?  CU and CSU should have more pride in themselves than that.

I think the declining attendance is a pointed reaction to the failure of venue.  Sure, it has a lot to do with the painful decline in the quality of both programs (To steal from Thorburn: "Since the 2006 season kicked off, the Buffs are 21-42 and the Rams are 22-41." Yikes.), but even with the losses piling up on the front range, CU still stuffs over 45k into Folsom each Saturday.  Last season, the two fanbases combined for barely that in Invesco Sports Authority.  The fans are starting to vote with their wallets; who really wants to spend time and gas getting to Denver, only to be gouged by outrageous parking, ticket and food prices to experience an event is a lousy venue?

The game belongs on campus.  At this point, I don't even care which campus.  Hell, let's all head up to Laramie for all I care, just get it out of Sports Authority Field.  If on-campus is good enough for UCLA-USC, Alabama-Auburn, and Michigan-Ohio State, then it should be good enough for CU-CSU.

Find some lawyers, and get the fuck out of that dumb-ass contract.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quick Post: Further Pac-whatever expansion on the horizon?!??!?

The stories out of the Red River Valley become more concerning by the hour.  OU and UT met to hash out their differences, and OU came away as committed to leaving the Big XII as ever.  Word is that OU (with little brother OSU in tow) will apply for asylum in the Pac-12 within a fortnight.

I think it goes without saying that further expansion of the Pac-12 erodes the sweet situation CU found themselves in when they originally headed west.  Now, with former Big-8 rivals begging to follow, CU's California Dreamin' may be turn back into Stillwater and Norman realities.  Yearly trips to the recruiting hotbed of Los Angeles would be in doubt, and fewer vacation-esque road trips to San Francisco and Seattle would pop up in future schedules.

This all rests on whether uber-commish Larry Scott is true to his word that he doesn't want further expansion.  If he sticks by his guns, and the Sooner duo is re-buffed, then all is well, and CU can continue to graze peacefully in the protected valley of the Pac-12.  If not, and OU and OSU end up joining the Pac-12, then the wolves will essentially have been released into the herd.

Most worrisome is this line in Wilner's column:  "The Oklahoma schools are almost certain to receive an invitation to the Pac-12 if they apply for admission. [...] Despite grumbling from Colorado and others, Scott will have the votes he needs to add the Oklahoma schools."

Don't do it, El Jeffe, (btw, I now refer to Larry Scott as El Jeffe), tell the State of Oklahoma to fuck off!

So, what the hell happened to the run game?

Buff Nation was promised a return to a physical run game.  From the moment Coach Embree was hired, the stories centered around a return to physical football, with an intent to run it right at the opponent until they can prove capable of stopping CU.  I'm sure I heard the words "impose" and "will" bandied about.

Through two games, however, the opposing defenses have been the ones imposing their will on the rather disappointing CU ground game.  Sure, the passing attack of Hansen to Richardson has combined for an NCAA leading 333 yards and 4 touchdowns, but CU needs to run successfully in order to win football games.

The stats are numbing.  Only 125 net rushing yards, and CU is only getting 2.08 yards per attempt.  Rodney Stewart, once a lock to become the schools all-time rushing leader, has only averaged 62.5 yards per game, and his long on the season is a paltry 13 yards.  Only 10 of 40 first downs gained have come as a result of a run.  On first down (when you would expect a running team to run) the Buffs are getting 2.3 yards per rush attempt, compared to 5.2 per attempt from their opponents.  Most glaring: CU has yet to score a rushing TD.
Speedy hasn't seen the open fields he found last season. 
The futility on first down is especially worrisome, as failure to gain early ground yardage gives the defense the advantage for the rest of the set of downs, and forces the offense to become one-dimensional in an attempt to catch up to respectable 3rd down distance.  The failure to run successfully is only more amplified when the Buffs wind up in the redzone.  Only once, out of six attempts, has CU scored a TD from red zone play, and that was a P-Rich strike from just inside the 20 against Hawai'i.  Combined, CU is only averaging 2 yards per redzone play.  Without the threat of a effective running attack, opponents are able to zero in on Tyler's endzone attempts.

Just look toward the end of regulation and overtime against Cal; it seemed almost impossible to find any open receivers in the endzone because the linebackers were dropping back with impunity.  The more an more CU struggles in the ground game, the more difficult it will become for CU to score and get over the hump to victory.
More Speedy in the redzone would create more scoring... if he can find some holes.  From: the BDC
 So what, exactly, is the issue?  We know the coaches have announced a preference to run the football, so coaching preference isn't the problem.  While Speedy is a little small for a ground and pound back, he has proven capable of smashing Big XII run defenses, so that's not the issue. The opponents are a mixed bag: Cal held Fresno St to under 3 yards per rushing attempt, but Hawai'i gave up average number (4.4/attempt) to Washington in week two, so that's inconclusive.

The only thing left is the offensive line.  Since the end of the Nebraska game last fall, what had been a perceived source of veteran strength has been whittled down to a unit holding on for dear life.  A rash of injuries and program departures have left CU with a line made up of Ryan Miller and a squad of backups.  The Buffs have lost a starting tackle in each of the first 2 games, and at right tackle they may be down to 3rd string if Dannewitz is still out Saturday.  At this pace, mountain man Ryan Miller, picked as a preseason All-American in many publications, may be the only remaining preseason starter by the week 4 trip to Ohio State.  (I refuse to accept the possibility that Miller could get hurt)

Without an O-line that CU can rely on, I find it hard to believe that the Buffs will find any more success on the ground, which I think will make it hard to find many victories overall.  The problem is, I don't know what the CU coaching staff can do to mitigate the problems for this season.  They mostly stem from depth issues and injuries, so, unless a transfer can find some eligibility for this season, the O-line will have to cope and get healthy on its own.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Hansen and Richardson come up Bear-ly short of victory

Saturday was just short of a perfect day.  Records fell, not a cloud was in the sky, and Folsom rocked for a solid 3 1/2 hours.  All that was missing was that whole "victory" thing.

Today in the bag I'll take a look back at what could've been Saturday, the epic afternoon produced by Tyler and P-Rich, the emergence of Will Oliver an eventful football weekend, and some disappointing news out of the basketball programing.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Cal 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!"

An honest to goodness home game!  A true tailgate with flip-cup and everything!  I can't wait.

A return to Folsom means a return to routine.  I begin with an early morning visit to the Village Coffee Shop, followed by a trip to Liquor Mart, before finally ending up at the customary tailgate.  Many rounds of flip-cup later, it's time to head to the field house to watch the band stroll through, before finally hitting the seats to hopefully watch the Buffs win.  Should CU prevail, it's off to Johnny's Cigar Bar to revel in victory before heading home to pass out.

Really what could be better than enjoying a warm afternoon in Boulder at Folsom Field?  Since I am only afforded 5 opportunities this season to experience the best stadium in America, I am going to savor every second of the experience.


Earlier this summer, a friend from San Francisco visited to enjoy the paradise that is Boulder Valley.  When I asked what beer he wanted me to get at the store, he had only one answer.  Seeing as how I now assume all Nor-Cal hippies crave this beer, I'm picking Anderson Valley Brewing's Summer Solstace Cerveza Crema as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.

My favorite beer from Anderson Valley is their Boont Amber, but their Summer Solstace will do just fine at the traditional tailgate.  For those of you who weren't forced, as I was, to take 3 years of Spanish classes in high school and college, Cerveza Crema means Cream Ale.  Light and refreshing, with an expected creamy taste and finish, this beer goes perfect with any slow summer afternoon.  If you can't read a calendar, there's still a few weeks of summer to enjoy, so feel free to grab a 6-pack of Summer Solstace if you can find it, and let the afternoon slip away.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, Beat Cal!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quick Post: EDSBS knocks the history of the Big XII out the damn park

Read this.  It's the Big XII in Behind the Music form.  Read it now. [hilarity ensues]

Money quote about 62-36:

"Nebraska: I didn't know how hard it was going to be to keep it together. I mean, I was okay for a while, but that night in Boulder, man, I didn't even know how hard the drugs were hitting me until it was too late.

Kansas State: I couldn't believe it. He just looked out on his feet, dazed. He was always a little out of control, you know? But that night he peed into his amp and nearly killed himself, and that was before Colorado decided to kick his ass on the bus.

Colorado: Again, I don't remember a lot of this. I'm trying to come to all of this from a place of peace now. It's been a rough decade for both of us. I don't judge him. I hope he doesn't judge me.

Nebraska: I deserved it. It was steroids, barfighting, booze, the Solich. I lost count of everything."

EDSBS is doing God's work.

Cal Preview: Play like last year never happened

Over the evening I tipped past 20,000 all-time hits.  Hooray!  Thanks to all who visit the site!

CU played Cal on the road last season.  Even though it didn't turn out so well, you can check out last year's preview here.

If you were to ask Buff Nation what was the most painful loss of the Dan Hawkins era, I'm sure you'd get a slew of varied answers.  Montana State is certainly at or near the top, as is the Kansas loss last season that led directly to his firing.  Additionally, there were the 5 blowouts at the hands of Mizzou, the improbable loss in Lincoln in '08, and that one time CSU beat the Buffs in Boulder.  All pathetic performances from a 5-year tenure full of them, but I would like to state the case for last season's 52-7 loss at the hands of the Cal Bears as being the worst of the worst.

The Pac-12 announcement was only months old, hopes were high, and over 10,000 black and gold clad fans attempted to take over Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.  It was supposed to be an extremely important game for the whole of the Athletic Department, a dawn of a new era if you will (has that ever gone well?).  That game was meant to be the time CU announced their West Coast presence with authority, and woke up the California portion of the fan base.  A lot of effort and expectations were put into that western road trip, and it was purported to be a focal point for both recruiting and fund-raising.

Instead, it quickly turned into an embarrassment.

Of all the black marks Dan Hawkins gifted the program, this one scarred almost every level of the Athletic Department (from marketing to fundraising), and destroyed any remaining goodwill the former CU head coach could cling to.  Every inch of promise and hope was washed away in a torrent of turnovers, poor special teams play, and abysmal O-line play.

The good thing is that CU has the opportunity to call a do-over.  As the unofficial first Pac-12 game in school history, this marks an opportunity to erase the memories forged last season and begin anew (... again ...).  With a solid 60 minutes of football Saturday afternoon, the Buffs could start the inaugural Pac-12 season out with a strong statement that they won't be a pushover in the new league, and re-affirm that they belong in the "Conference of Champions."


I'm stripping down the preview today.  Just the "Golden Bear" necessities if you will.

With that in mind, the Buffs return home to both honor the 2001 Big XII champions and kick-start the season after a rough beginning in Hawai'i.  Kickoff is set for 1:30.  If you absolutely cannot make it over to beautiful Folsom Field, the came can be seen on FCS-Pacific... whatever that is.

Click below for the preview...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Remembering 2001

This weekend CU will rightly honor the 2001 Big XII Championship squad.  I talked about 62-36 last season, but this gives me the opportunity to discuss the season as a whole.
The champs are coming back to Boulder.  From:
I can't help but note the timing, on the day of CU's first "unofficial" game in the Pac-12, Colorado will honor a championship team from the conference it just left behind in a trail of dollar bills.  It is what it is, and I'm more than happy to take a look back at this storied team.

I experienced the 2001 Big XII title run from my home in Chicago.  As a high school senior, I was finalizing my college decision as CU began to roll through the league.  I saw all the fun to be had in Boulder, and decided in late-October that I wanted to be a part of it (that, and I got my rejection letter from Michigan).

Looking back I can't help but feel a little jealous, a little cheated that I wasn't apart of the greatest Buffs season in recent memory.  Born one year too late, I'll just have to live with memories created from afar of Chris Brown, Danny Graham, a dominating O-Line, and a battle tested defense.

Click below...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quick Post: Aaron gets some props

Gotta tip my cap to commenter (and friend) Aaron Jordan. 

Last week he postulated that the O-Line would be the primary weak spot this season.  I countered with the defensive backfield (especially the corners).  After one game, Aaron's analysis seems correct as the O-line struggled mightily against the stout Hawaiian D-line, while the Buffs defensive backfield more than held their own against the vaunted Hawai'i air attack.

Aaron wins this round.

UPDATED: Post Labor Day Grab Bag: This is the new sound... just like that old sound

19... it's now 19.  Sigh.

Were there positive signs Saturday night? Sure, but I'm definitely feeling the after-affects of a Hawaiian gut punch.  I don't care who the coach is, losing hurts, and 19 straight road loses, a stigma that stains the program and its national profile, hangs around our collective necks like a big-damn albatross.  I want it gone.

Today in the bag I'll be looking back at the game from Saturday night, action around the nation, more expansion rumors, and the effective end of the road for my Sox.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Beer Post: 2011 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Hawai'i Edition

Hey, look, a beer post!  I haven't done one of these in months (I kinda ran out of things to say), but I'm back on the topic of beer!  

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!"

Football is back, and with it comes that most honored of American traditions: the tailgate.  Since CU is starting on the road this year, the roommates and I are hosting a massive blowout.  We're cramming 6 couches into the living room in order to accommodate upwards of 25 people.  There will be beer, beer games, food, and the typical dollop of debauchery.  I can't wait.

Hawai'i is back on the schedule, so that means another trip out to the islands for some brew.  I can't help but go with something from my favorite brewery on the Islands: Kona Brewing.  I love almost everything they make (I tabbed their Wailua Wheat for the Hawai'i game last year), so I have plenty of options to choose from.  Being partial to the lovely flavor of hops, I'm going to tab Kona's Fire Rock Pale Ale as my Tailgate beer-o-the-week.

FR is Kona's take on the now ubiquitous American-style Pale Ale.  They call it "hawaiian style", but all the hops come from the Pacific Northwest (and there's a good chance what you drink from them is brewed in Oregon), so its taste closely resembles its west coast brethren.   A nice amount of citrusy hops are balanced by a sweet malt to create a very tasty session pale ale.  It's not as in your face as other American Pale Ales, but that's what you'd expect from the laid-back Islanders at Kona.

In honor of this weeks opponent, and the paradise they reside in, I'm making sure that a full 6-pack of Kona Brewing's Fire Rock Pale Ale will be reserved for my personal consumption.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs!  Beat Hawai'i!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quick Post: Good news in Buff Nation

Buff Nation got a double dose of good news over the evening hours.  Here's my recap:

Jenny Barringer Simpson wins 1,500 meter gold at Track World Championships - Jenny Barringer Simpson, she of the impressive steeple chase skills, is not only one of the best CU runners ever, but she's also a newly minted world champion.  Last night at the Track World Championships in South Korea she shockingly took home the gold in the 1,500-meter race, becoming the first American woman to accomplish the feat since 1983.

I say shockingly because the 1,500-meter isn't her best event, and she wasn't considered a top-10 competitor in the event.  Yet she found a way to outpace the field and take home the title.
From: the Post
Way to go Jenny!


Buffs receive transfer of highly touted Longhorn QB - The good news train even makes a stop in football as the Buffs will now have the services of former 4-star QB Connor Wood.  He comes to the Buffs from the University of Texas where he was mired deep in the Longhorn depth chart.  He will have to sit out this year before being able to compete for playing time when the 2012 season rolls around next fall.  At that point he'll have 3 seasons left to shine in Black & Gold.

Out of high school Wood was considered the 3rd best pro-style QB prospect in the nation by, and he chose Texas over a litany of big name programs like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame.  He's athletic, intelligent, and strong-armed, as anyone would be to garner that level of attention.

But it was not to be in Austin.  He never found favor with Mack Brown and the UT staff, and began to see other QB's surge past him on the depth chart.  After a quiet redshirt season last year, he began to look elsewhere.  He reportedly looked at LSU, but ended up at the foot of the Flatirons.  Welcome aboard, Connor!

His competition for the #1 QB job next season will include Nick Hirshman, walk-on sensation John Schrock, and, potentially, Shane Dillon, himself a highly-regarded high school QB who has given CU his verbal commitment to sign with them in February.  Of those 3, I have to imagine at least one will not be with the program next fall.

Go Buffs!

Hawai'i Preview: Warriors, come out to PLAAAAAAYYYYY

If you haven't been with me before, in these previews I try to take a light-hearted look at the opponent.  I'll touch on the headlines, the trends, and the stars for the opposing squad, while giving a rough outline for how they'll try to attack the Buffs on offense and defense; I'll close by throwing out a prediction.

Additionally, CU played Hawai'i at home last season.  Here's my preview from last year.

Instead of starting the season against little brother, the Buffs will head west, far west, to the serene Hawaiian Islands to begin their 2011 football odyssey.  It's the program's first regular season taste of the Aloha State since 1925, and the first opener played outside of the state of Colorado since 1995 @ Wisconsin (only the second since 1983).

Cue the opening, we're hitting the islands:

The Jon Embree era begins 3,300 miles west of Boulder at the home of the Hawai'i Warriors.  Get ready for an interesting, if bumpy, 13-game ride.

Kickoff is set for 8:15 MT (That's PM for those of you, like my roommate, who have no sense of geography), and the game can be seen on ESPN2.

Click below for the preview...