Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Massive Basketball Preview, 2012-13: #IsItNovemberYet?

"Jaws dropped and syllables spilled out, to be rearranged into meaningful thoughts at a later date." (- Jim Margalus)  

I've struggled since the final moments of the Pac-12 championship game to turn my incoherent syllables of joy into meaningful thought about the state of the program.  I guess today is that later date to rearrange them into a cogent narrative...

To whet your appetite, both for this preview, and the forthcoming season, I encourage you to take a look at the wrap-up video from LA, courtesy of BuffVision and RootSports:

Wasn't that fun?  Doesn't it make you want to jump up and start singing the fight song right now?

The hoops program is dominating conference opponents, bringing home titles, and representing well in the post-season.  The football program... well, that's just better left unsaid.  BuffNation, we need to be honest with ourselves: we're a basketball school now.  

I can already hear the howling: "but football brings in more money, and basketball can't even get more than 3,000 fans to attend their season kickoff!" If it was based on money spent, or other financial factors, even obvious hoops schools like UCLA, Kentucky, and Kansas would have to be considered football schools.  Absurd.  Football is expensive, and cost is therefore not a fair indicator.  As for attendance, I think 3,000 fans at BuffsMadness was a good start, considering it was the first event of it's kind, it sprung up out of nowhere, and was poorly advertised during the lead-up.  No, the difference between basketball school and football school is all mental.

Seriously, what has dominated your thoughts all summer?  I bet a plurality of Buff Nation spent more time daydreaming about Coach Boyle and winning than they did focusing on the football team and negativity.  Let me put it another way: collegiate athletics is just a large marketing tool used to make money and sell the academic brand.  What do you think is a better way to sell CU right now: Folsom, beautiful as she may be, half-filled with forlorn and bored football fans, or the CEC, jam-packed and simmering with excitement?  Saturday's in Folsom, when things are going right, are special beyond description, but those days are five years removed at this point.
Winning is more fun than losing.
I'm not saying the change will be permanent, or even long-lived.  Colorado, the state, is, to it's core, a football mad society (much like the rest of the country, for that matter).  But, for the time being at least, we're a basketball school.  Almost every positive mention of CU athletics for the last three years has come from the basketball side of things, and we need to embrace that fact.  

If those of you in the old guard are still up in arms over any hoops junky trying to wrest the football loving mantle from this university, just remember that the children born immediately after the Buffs last bowl victory are sitting in 3rd grade classrooms.  Those born after the last hoops post season victory?  Well, most of them have still yet to learn to walk.  The athletic perception of this school now resides with the fortunes won or lost on Sox Walseth Court. 


Conference champions, lone Pac-12 team to advance past the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, biggest home court advantage in the West...

The 2011-12 Buffaloes have been labeled by many as the best team in program history.  That's a lofty standard to live up to.  The funny thing is, going into last season, the consensus was that the program was going to take a slight step backward from the Alec Burks lead 2010-11 squad.  Instead, the program took a massive, and almost entirely unexpected, leap forward.

Things rarely go according to plan, but that tired old saying can also work to your benefit. Despite losing 75% of offensive production from the previous season, the Buffs turned in a bravura sequel to the joys of 2010-11. They proved countless doubters and pundits wrong, while raising the bar for basketball along the Front Range.

But, it almost never happened.

It's hard to remember in the after-glow of a championship, but the Buffs finished 6th in the Pac-12 last season.  By the start of March, they were floundering in a sea of bad play, and at risk of slipping out of even the NIT before they took off for LA
"You look back on it and think, 'How the hell did we do that?' We lost three of four games going into [the Pac-12 tournament]," coach Tad Boyle said. "We were going in there seeing if we could beat Utah [in the first round]. Then we got on a roll and our guys started believing." (-link)
Such are the vagaries of March that a starburst 5-game win streak can turn an above-average team into one of the 32-best in the land.  The lesson, of course, is that predictions are funny things, just as often wrong as right.  You can spend every waking hour looking at statistics and correlating factors, yet still end up miles off base.  That won't stop me from trying, however.

How does this team try and advance the program further than the previous two seasons?  How does Coach Boyle live up to the expectations that he has worked so hard to create?  Is the specter of a backwards step about to become a reality?

In this, the third annual Massive Basketball Preview, I aim to answer those questions, and prime any and all for the upcoming season.  I'll break down everything from the players, to the schedule, and the conference at large.  You won't find a more exhaustive look at this team anywhere; leaving no stone unturned, this beast lives up to the word massive.  I hope you aren't going anywhere for a while...

So, grab a beer, strap in, and click below for the preview...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: The Banana Stand is more dependable than gravity

I announced this Friday afternoon, but I'll reiterate today: the 2012-13 Massive Basketball Preview will be up tomorrow morning.  I'm in furious edit mode, as I desperately try to tame the 11,000 word beast, but I'm confident that it'll be ready for release within the next 24 hours.

May God have mercy on my soul.


Today in the bag, I'm talking Cross Country, the basketball scrimmage with SMU, a 4th Buff entrant into the NBA, the happenings in Eugene, and my weekly notes from the world of football.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Beer Post: 2012 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Oregon 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!"

Saturday's going to be rough; I don't really know how else to put it.  It'd probably be best to avoid the game entirely, but, if you must watch, why not watch suitably enhanced.  You'll need to be fortified with enough liquid courage to get through a terrifying display of offensive capability.  I interpret that as a need for as much alcahol-by-volume as you can possibly find.

There is a beer, talked about in hushed tones across the globe, which comes in at a very liquor-esque 55%.  (That's 110 proof, more than SoCo.)  The brewers who make it, BrewDog, are quite literally mad with power, bearing no disregard for the laws of nature in their quest to expand brewing boundaries.  It may have started out in life as a blond Belgian, but by the time it's infused with nettles and juniper berries, freeze distilled repeatedly, and stuffed down the gullet of a dead squirrel (more on that later), it's more a whiskey or high-alcohol liqueur than a beer.  Still, it's more than capable of altering your perception of both reality, and what's possible when playing around with a chemistry set.

That "beer,"  Brew Dog's The End of History, is my gameday beer-o-the-week.

Nope, that picture is not a joke (in and of itself), that is the actual serving.  BrewDog finish making the beer, bottle it, and hand it over to a taxidermist to stuff it into either a stoat (sort of a weasel, I think) or a gray squirrel that has been found as roadkill.  Obviously, when you're making a "beer" that clocks in at 55% ABV, you've got a sick-and-twisted sense of humor.  Throwing that result down the gullet of a dead animal only strikes me as the logical end to that process.

I've messed around with BrewDog before, having sent out for their previous foray into the world of uber-high alcohol beer, called Sink the Bismarck.  As opposed to that, which you can still find rather easily, they only made scant few bottles of The End of History during their only run of production.  If you're really interested in pursuing this, I swear I saw a bottle at LiquorMart earlier this year, but prices, if you can find a bottle, will be north of $700.

You've got to really want to try something to throw down $700.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Ducks!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 Oregon Football Preview

I'll be honest, I care a whole lot more about the basketball team's scrimmage against SMU, than I do about this game.  The scrimmage is in Dallas, locked safely behind closed doors, and very much secret (coaches, by NCAA rule, are not allowed to talk about these events).  The football game is in Eugene, but nationally televised, and openly discussed.  By Saturday evening I will know exactly how the scrimmage went, yet still sit in the dark about the football result.

I will not watch the football game, I will not listen.  I won't even check twitter to see how things go.  I so vehemently don't care about how many points Chip Kelly decides to have his team score on CU this weekend, that I'm unjacking from the internet, and doing other things.  I don't know, maybe a game of Monopoly.

15 days...


Kickoff from Autzen Stadium in Eugene is set for 1pm MT.  Coverage can bee seen on Pac-12 network (if you get it), with radio coverage set for 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quick Post: Filling up the Keg

For the first time this fall, the CU athletic department let leak sell-through numbers on season tickets for the upcoming season.  As expected, numbers are up. Way up.

To date, the Buffs have already sold over 5,000 season tickets, easily beating last years record of 3,941 with three weeks still to go before opening night.   As the department was quick to point out, adding in the 2,500 student packages sold earlier this fall, and the department is almost at last year's attendance average (7,804) in season ticket holders alone.

I can't help but wonder about what the Buffs can average this year? 9k? 10k?

The AD does a great job using the honorable metric of actual "through-the-turnstile" attendance, rather than the shady "tickets sold" metric, so late December dates with Northern Arizona and Hartford could stunt the final average, but I'm officially setting the goal at 9,500+ for the season.

If you haven't yet done so, you can buy into the defending Pac-12 champions by purchasing season tickets here.

17 days...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Down and out in the City of Angels

Another week, another Buff slaughter, another series of comments from players questioning the attitude of their teammates. Big shock.

Is anyone surprised that this program, saddled with (soon to be) seven consecutive losing seasons (and prospects as good as Betamax going forward), would have problems with players "quitting," and/or not putting enough effort into game prep heading into a game they had no chance to compete in?  I'm not.  I remember when I was 19/20; if shit wasn't going my way, I checked out real quick.  All it takes in one bad sequence (last week it was the TD return out of half, this week it was the opening 2-play TD drive followed by the Webb INT in the endzone), and they might as well kneel the rest of the game.

You can berate a kid, you can question his pride, you can essentially stick a cattle prod up his ass, but if there's nothing to play for, if there's no reward to strive for, then effort is going to disappear real fast.  It's human nature.


Today in the bag, I'll throw garbage at the football result, discuss the rest of the athletic department's trip to Los Angeles, and take a trip around the world of football.

18 days...

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Beer Post: 2012 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - USC 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!"

Looking back on my previous beer selections from this season, I've noticed a gaping hole.  I've been thinking outside the box, trying to vary my selections.  Fair enough, in context.  Now, however, the prospect of the USC game has left me disquieted.  I can't face a projected 40+ point loss with beer I don't enjoy.  I need comfort, I need familiar, I need... I need some damn hops.

There's a few breweries I trust to utilize Humulus lupulus the way God intended.  Odell?  Sure.  Russian River, Alpine, Bear Republic, Firestone, and Green Flash?  Absolutely, our West Coast brothers use the hop most righteously.  But in the end, I run home to momma.  I run home to the brewery that has long been my favorite on the planet; the brewery that taught me to love hops, IPA's, and all things bitter.  I run home to Stone.

Those mad geniuses in Escondito, CA can always be trusted to use copious amounts of the Lord's favorite flowering vine, and they've got a new brew out in CO that lives up to that trust.  I'm naming that beer, Stone's Enjoy By 11.09.12 IPA, as my gameday-beer-o-the-week.
OK, the name sucks.  It's a marketing ploy to reinforce the fact that this fresh-hop double IPA is sure to spoil if left on a shelf.  The name is it's own "brewed-on" date, which is fine in theory, but makes the beer damn hard to order.  "Hey, can I get an Enjoy-By-11.09.12-IPA, please!" A little pedantic, don't you think?

Regardless, this is an overly hopped double IPA.  It's extremely aromatic, with strong notes of floral and sweet hops, with some citrus in the back.  Taste is along the lines of what the kids are calling "dank" these days.  Resinous and bitter, with plenty of hop flavor all over the place. Surprisingly, however, it's not overpowering. You get a little malt sweetness in support, but not much.  This is a beer about the hop, for hop lovers.  Wusses and hop blasphemers need not apply.

This round of the "Enjoy By" series is quickly coming to a close, so if you want some, you'd better hurry.  Due to its popularity, I wouldn't be surprised if it has another run through Colorado, however.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat USC!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 USC Football Preview

I saw these in the "Official Online Store of the Pac-12 Conference:"


These shirts (on sale for $17.95 a piece) speak to the ongoing desire from the program to install USC as the main rival, a la the way Nebraska was installed as the main villain 30 years ago (There's also some CSU versions of the above, but I'll leave that for another day). The whole notion strikes me as a desperate shriek in the midst of a hasty retreat.  Nebraska in '82 at least made sense from a geographic, historical (CU had played games against them since the dawn of the program), recruiting, and fan base stand point.  Picking USC feels like it's coming out of left field.  Why not pick Alabama, or Ohio State?  They're good, so they're our rivals now *pounds table*.

Yes, you have to start somewhere (to be the best, you have to beat the best), and a rivalry with the LA schools would be ideal, but I don't feel it, SC doesn't feel it, and no one outside of Dal Ward takes this seriously right now (probably inside too).  USC will kick CU's ass for the next decade plus, and never think twice about it.  They've got a cut-throat regional rival (UCLA), a pair of bubbling conference rivalries (Oregon, Stanford), and a traditional rival (Notre Dame) that all take up far more of their attention, and will always take up more of their attention.

While CU recruits the SoCal area, there's just no overlap on the athletes the two programs are going after.  SC doesn't even care enough to swoop in and steal Colorado's best high school talent, such as it is (SC has more players from Alaska - one - then they do the Centennial State).  There's not even the chip of "hey, they take over our stadium every two years" to play, as USC's road section was no more prevalent in Folsom's bleachers than any other last season. Forcing USC as a rival is pointless.

I will never understand the program's refusal to go along with a revivication of the Utah rivalry.  It's historical, it's geographically convenient, the Utes are a strong program, and, as CU proved last year, are a beatable proposition.  Even the Arizona's would fit, as they recruit both Colorado and similar recruiting grounds to the Buffs.  Either of those three would make sense.  SC doesn't, other than through the lenses of a Napoleonic complex.


Kickoff from Memorial Coliseum is set for 4pm MT.  Coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks.  Since I STILL DON'T GET IT (Fuck you DirecTV), I don't have to watch Saturday (small victories).  I could listen to Mark Johnson's coverage on 850 KOA, but I would rather not live my weekend in a well of depression.  Rather I'm going to do something else.  I might even think about going up into the mountains.  Anything to get away from the dumpster fire taking place in SoCal Saturday afternoon.  22 days...

Click below for the preview...

Quick-Post: Season basketball tickets on sale.

With just over 23 days left to go before the start of basketball season, CU announced yesterday that season tickets are open for purchase to the general public.  Despite two straight years of undeniable success on the court, prices have remained flat, meaning that you can still purchase a guaranteed spot at every home game for as little as $60. 

$60, to see the defending Pac-12 champions play 15 home games... that's only $4 a game.  For the cost of a Rockpile seat, you get in to see marquee games like opening night on Nov. 9th, CSU on Dec. 5th, UCLA on Jan.12th, and Arizona on Feb. 14th.  The best part, as opposed to going to see Rockies baseball, the Buffs actually have a good shot to win those games (that's a burn).
The pursuit of more nets to cut begins next month.  Will you be there to watch it?
CU basketball continues to be the best dollar-for-dollar sporting value on the Front Range.  Parking is free, concession prices are reasonable, access to the club room is included, and the program has gone 32-4 in Boulder over the last two seasons.  You just can't beat that.

You can make your new commitment to Coach Boyle and crew by clicking here.  I guarantee you wont regret it, and you'll help keep the CEC Jayhawk-free next season in the process.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 vs 2006

I saw an interesting question posed during yesterday's Kyle Ringo twitter chat: who would win a game between the 2012 and 2006 Buffs? For the record, Ringo responded that he thought the '12 iteration of the Buffs would win 6-3, but I think that question deserves some fleshing out.

Already you can see where this is headed, as I've invoked the seminal year of the Hawk error when discussing the current on-field horror.  I'm not doing this to be mean.  It just struck me, however, that after considering the question that I was looking back fondly on the 2006 season.  Such is the depths that this turd of a season has flung me into. 

The two squads are already kind of similar. Both lost to CSU and an below-average 1-AA school in consecutive weeks; each notched their first win against a Mike Leach lead team, causing the Dread Pirate to bemoan the effort of his players.  One thing '06 has, so far, over the current CU vintage: a second win.  Whether the 2012 Buffs can reach that mark is yet to be seen.  I, at least, think it would be an interesting game, and one that's fun to think about.

Accordingly, I'm going to give the scenario the full preview treatment, from stat breakdown to prediction. After giving it a moments thought, my conclusion might surprise you.

Click below for a look back at the year that was 2006...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: The pseudo-start of basketball season

My sporting weekend was over before Saturday even rolled around.  Through the football game Thursday evening, and BuffsMadness Friday night, I had more than my fill of sports by Saturday morning.  That left plenty of time to pursue other leisure activities like playing video games, drinking beer, and otherwise rarely leaving my house.


In retrospect, I probably should've taken advantage of the open weekend.  My bad.

Today in the bag I'm talking BuffsMadness, the loss against ASU, and my typical trip around the world of football.

Click below for the bag...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Beer Post: 2012 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - ASU 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 love a good Blackout game.  At night, under the lights, on national TV.  The atmosphere can't get much better.  I like the situation so much that I will forgive the disruption to my work schedule, and the heinous traffic issues Boulder will experience tonight.

I won't get off work til around five, so tailgating time will be short.  For my beer pick this week, I went in search of not only something heavier (in alcohol content) to make up for the abbreviated tailgate scenario, but also something dark to match the quickly descending fall evening.  Luckily, there's a local brew that fits the bill.  I'm naming Wynkoop Brewing's B3K Schwarzbier as my gameday beer-o-the-week.

I see your schwarz is as big as mine...

Wynkoop Brewing was started in the late '80s by a group of friends that included Colorado's current beer-loving Governor.  Located a few blocks from Coors Field in LoDo, it's long been one of my favorite spots to hit before and after Rockies games.  They serve up great beer and food, and always have new and inventive ways of making a statement.

B3K is one of Wynkoop's signature styles.  High on the roasted malts, you get great chocolate, dark bread, and smoky notes.  Despite the dark color and roasted malt foundation, however, the beer comes off as very drinkable.  It's available in cans year-round, and makes for a great companion to any night game.

Happy FridayThursday! Go Buffs, beat Arizona State!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quick-Post: I am at a loss for words

Posted without comment:


Seems like a convenient time to remind everybody about BuffsMadness: Friday night, 8:30pm at the CEC.

2012 ASU football preview

Bye week behind us, BuffNation can now look forward to the nationally televised Thursday night affair with Arizona State.  Well, maybe not "look forward to."  Maybe more like "prepare ourselves for."  Let me be plain, not only has CU been struggling to stand upright this season, but they have an abysmal record in weekday games over the last few years.

Primetime, weeknight affairs used to be the realm of second-tier conferences like the WAC and MAC.  Starting in the mid-2000s, however, it became vogue for the big boys to play the ESPN game as well, and many teams from the SEC, Pac-12, and Big XII have been jumping at the chance to air their wares over the exclusive national broadcast ever since.  CU got into the game in 2008, beginning with the epic Thursday night-er with West Virginia (AKA, the game that caused Hawk to blow a scholarship on Aric Goodman.  I hope he enjoyed the free education.).

 (LOL, Josh Smith)

Unfortunately, ever since the prime-time gods have been unkind.  Including post-Thanksgiving affairs with Nebraska and Utah, the Buffs are 2-7 on weekdays since Sept 18th, 2008 (have been outscored 209-303), including an 0-4 mark in 2009 alone.  Highlighting that stretch is the infamous 38-54 loss at Toledo.  Maybe we should just give up the ghost.  ESPN may like to put the Buffs on, but the program would be best served shying away from the night lights.

There is some good news, however.  The defending Pac-12 champion men's basketball team will be receiving their championship rings from El Jefe tomorrow night.  That little ceremony does deserve the primetime spotlight.


The Sun Devils and Buffs meet under the lights tomorrow evening.  Kickoff is set for 7pm.  Parking, traffic: sure to be a mess.  The student section: drunk out of their minds.  Blackout rules: in effect.  I hope everyone thought ahead to take Friday off, 'cause win or lose, shit's about to get real.

If you'd rather stay away from the Madhouse at the foot of the Flatirons, you can watch the action on ESPN.  Radio coverage is back on 850 KOA; Rockies baseball has mercifully been laid to rest for the winter, so no rude interruptions to the broadcast, whether you wanted one or not.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Dre getting some pre-season love

Andre Roberson is one of the best players in the Pac-12 conference.  Anyone who obsesses over West Coast hoops understands this.  On a team dedicated to rebounding and shot defense, he's been the straw that stirs the drink.  Last season he averaged a double-double every night (11.6/11.1), while blocking nearly two shots per contest and notching the second best defensive rebounding percentage in the nation.  Now, after that stellar 2011-12 campaign which included carrying the Buffs through a conference title run, and a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament, the word is starting to spread to national outlets.

Late last week, Andre was anointed the #1 NBA draft prospect in the Pac-12 Conference by  Coach Boyle's recruiting strategy this year has lead many to believe that he is banking on 'Dre jumping for the NBA early, and this only underscores that point.  Their projections may not yet include UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad (who's not only a freshman, but potentially ineligible), but that's still impressive.  Key quote:
"There is little doubt, then, that Andre Roberson is an excellent NBA prospect. When contemplating an NBA comparison, players as diverse as Shawn Marion, Kawhi Leonard, and Kenneth Faried come to mind, showing just how many different directions his development could take him and just how good he could be. He already possesses ideal size and athleticism for the NBA wing position along with excellent defensive potential and intangibles. Scouts will be watching him closely this year to see whether he can emerge as a comfortable, consistent, and prolific perimeter shooter. His NBA future is bright, regardless of his offensive development, but if he continues to improve as a scorer, then he has the chance to be a very special player at the next level."
I'm surprised that this article never mentions the name Dennis Rodman, but I digress. I don't think we'll ever see 'Dre hit the floor with a prolific perimeter shot, but a comfortable 18-20 foot jumper to stretch the defense is well within his capability, and would make him a strong professional contributor (Remember: if you can rebound, the Association will find a spot for you). DraftExpress currently has 'Dre pegged for a late first round pick, slotting him in a #23. A season of improved offensive output should kick that up, maybe even kissing the edges of the lottery, making his NBA choice a very simple one.

Additional lists of the top players nationally have also featured high praise for the rebound machine from San Antonio. CBS has him at #36, calling him "the best player you don’t know anything about." (Seth Davis voiced that sentiment earlier this summer.) Big Lead has him at #16.

As preseason lists begin to drop over the next few weeks, expect more than a few places to list 'Dre as their pick for preseason conference player of the year, and for him to make a slew of preseason All-Conference teams.  His days as an insider's secret are numbered.  As 'Dre ominously said last night "they will recognize."


Remember, you can see 'Dre, along with all the other members of both the men's and women's basketball teams, at the CEC this Friday night for Buffs Madness.  Admission is free, and the event will tip-off around 8:30.
You should also join the Facebook event page here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Bye week in the rearview

I hope the Buffs made good use of the bye week, because the next four games should make for a harrowing slog through October.  I certainly did, using the weekend to expand my sporting horizons by watching a few hours of cricket.  I don't really know what I was watching, or for that matter why I was watching it, but it was a fun change of pace during an other-wise football-filled weekend. 

No Columbus Day for me, I've got work to do.  This week I'm talking umpiring, some site news, BuffsMadness, and a slew of football notes.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Beer Post: 2012 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Bye Week 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!"

In case you've forgotten, last season, due to the move to the Pac-12 and the search for more money, the team slogged through a 13 game schedule without respite. The scheduling gods have been kinder this season, and there is no opponent on the slate for 2012's week six.  That's right, for the first time since the weekend of September 25th, 2010, the CU football program will enjoy an in-season bye week

The players may get the weekend off, but no true fan rests during a football season.  There's still beer to be drunk, damnit!  I tend to attack bye week beer selections differently than regular weeks, relying on whatever is in my fridge to pass the day by.  I did a quick perusal of the beer fridge, and have thus anointed Pabst Blue Ribbon as my gameday beer-o-the-week.

Why is PBR in my fridge?  Well, my roommates are idiots, and think it the perfect beer pong facilitator.  I favor Blue Moon for pong, but to each their own, I guess.

Hipsters have done a fine job leveraging their pseudo-retro styling, as their love of all things PBR can attest to.  Once a quietly acceptable 3rd-tier mass-produced American lager, steadily losing it's market as the brand whizzed past the sesquicentennial mark, PBR has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years due to hipsters and their search for faux counter-culture.  (*rolls eyes in a very hipster-ish fashion*)  Check out any bar on Pearl Street, and I bet they'll have a PBR special on for the evening.

As for the taste... well, it's PBR.  It's been around since before the Civil War.  If you haven't tried it by now, then you've missed a step on the drinker's evolution chart.  It's not bad, it's not good, it's just PBR.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat [DATA NOT FOUND]!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quick Post: #BuffsMadness flyer

Take a look at this BuffsMadness flyer:

Someone's going to win a trip to the CU/KU game this December!  If that doesn't interest you in the least, you don't have a pulse.

Quick Post: 200 points, 2000 yards

The next month of CU football will be cataclysmically bad.  Arizona St, @USC, @Oregon, Stanford... the upper echelon of Pac-12 football.  Two powers from the north, two from the south  They will surely kick the crap out CU for 240 minutes of combined football, and there will be little left for BuffNation to cheer.  There is no hope - absolutely no hope - of victory these next four gamedays, and each of them will probably be significant blowouts.

So what can we possibly take out of these upcoming games?  Well, I've come up with a little game; can the Buffs keep the four teams from crossing a few landmark statistical measurements?  Can the Buffs keep the combined might of ASU, USC, Oregon and Stanford from cracking 200 combined points, and 2,000 combined yards?

Last year they managed to beat the 200 point barrier (barely), holding the fearsome foursome to 183 combined points.  You could rightly argue that at least three of those teams (ASU, Stanford, and Oregon) took their foot off the gas extremely early, but, none-the-less, the team was spared the sight of 50+ points going on the board in each contest.

The 2,000 yards barrier, however, was well broken, with all four teams cracking off over 500 yards per contest.  The total in 2011 was 2,163, with, again, each team taking the foot off the pedal well before the final whistle blew.

Add it up, and CU was outscored by this quartet 183-40, and out-gained 2,163-1,299.  I would expect a similar gap this season, but maybe, just maybe, they can keep the 200 point and 2,000 yard barriers intact.

To-date averages seem to give the Buffs a shot.  The four are well below 200 points per game (about 150 per) and a little shy of 2,000 yards (about 1,754).  However, I have no doubt that playing against the CU defense will give each team ample opportunity to buck their season averages (for the record, CU has given up 39.4 points and 474.4 yards per game this season).

Regardless of if the team can accomplish this meager feat or not, getting through these four games will get us all to basketball season.  For Buff Nation to have survived that far would be its own accomplishment.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Season Preview... er ... preview

We're just over a month away from the start of basketball season, which means I have about a month to finish my typically massive season preview.  It's still a ways from completion, but I've included a few sample sections to whet your appetite.  Enjoy.


Let's get used to saying this out-loud: the defending conference champion Colorado Buffaloes. Doesn't it just pop?  Half the fun of winning a title is spouting off "defending champion" every five seconds, and I plan to lean heavily on that crutch this season.  CU may not run the table in Vegas this spring, but I sure as hell can remind everyone they turned the trick in LA last year.


As an exercise, I sometimes like to think back to where the program was at the end of the Ricardo Patton era:
  • Players often had to practice at local high school and middle school gyms when the CEC was otherwise being used for academics or other winter sports.
  • Coaches offices were at the football stadium, often requiring a snowy trudge to-and-from Folsom during the winter months.
  • Video boards at the CEC were so antiquated that the mere thought of seeing a replay in-stadium was laughable.
  • CU even had a former football star as a color analyst on basketball broadcasts (Charles Johnson).
It was not a first-class organization, a fact that was painfully evident to boosters, players, and potential recruits alike.  Seeing the program in such a state, Athletic Director Mike Bohn went about injecting steroids into the historically below-average program.  Through five years of fundraising and departmental focus, the program has enjoyed the following improvements:
  • A dedicated practice facility built at Coors.  This has allowed players to practice on their schedule, while keeping all teams on campus.  It has also helped facilitate an immediate boost to recruiting, even back before completion.
  • New coaching offices were constructed at the CEC.
  • Dedicated strength and conditioning facilities were built at Coors, along with upgrades to the old locker rooms.
  • New video and ribbon boards were installed, making in-game experience better for the fans.
  • The student section was moved to a more logical location, allowing them to become more involved in the home atmosphere.  Additionally, money and institutional support has helped build a long-term organization.
  • The basketball band now has a dedicated director (formerly handled by disinterested TA's).
Everything has improved in the basketball program.  Attitude, on-court competitiveness, recruiting, game-day atmosphere, long-term sustainability... you name it, and it's seen an upgrade over the past half-decade. And the total cost to improve the program?  Around $20 million in new outlays.  By comparison, the proposals to improve the football program have been well north of the $200 million range, and could still take a decade to bear fruit.

Just look at the recent implementation of HD video boards at Folsom.  They cost $7 million to install, and some fans are still complaining about the size (for the record, I think they look great).  By comparison, the entire cost of building the new practice facility at the CEC was slightly less than $11 million.              

God, I love basketball.


Every minute spent playing in Europe is worth it's weight in gold by getting the newcomers used to playing at a higher level.  Ten extra practices, five extra games, and a month spent growing closer as a team.  The perfect trip came along at the perfect time for this growing program.


- Josh Scott, 6-10, 215lbs, Fr from Colorado Springs, CO - #40 -

There's a lot of expectations resting on the big man's shoulders. Probably the most highly regarded recruit in the last decade of the program, he is expected to make an immediate impact in the paint, becoming the consistent inside scoring threat the Buffs have lacked since the David Harrison era.  Coach Boyle even allowed the name Tim Duncan to be invoked when discussing the former Lewis-Palmer star.

Yet, despite the magnitude of the hype, the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year may be capable of living up to it.  Rough statistical projections are placing him in the upper echelon of Pac-12 big men, and Jelly Scott dominated during the European pre-season trip, averaging over 17 points per game, and leading the team in scoring in four of the five games.  His post offense skill set is ready to go, and should pair well with slashers like 'Dre and Spencer.

He's not a complete package yet, with most experts agreeing that he needs to continue to work on improving his size, strength, and jump shot, but his current repertoire will be a revelation to most CU hoops fans who haven't seen a post player of his caliber in Black-and-Gold for a decade.


If there's any problem that I have with Coach Boyle's scheduling policy, it's that the non-conference schedule still features far too many games with teams typically in the RPI 250+.  Besides sometimes being a tough sell at the box office (especially on snowy December nights), these games are a lose-lose proposition when considering RPI. 

This recent article from Sports Illustrated does a particularly good job underscoring the point: "It's almost always better to play a mid-major that'll go on to have 20-plus wins than it is a cupcake mid- or low-major, or a basement-dweller from a major conference."  If the Pitt portion of that article is to believed, it'll even save the program some money.  If you want to see how this problem can kill an at-large resume, just look back to the 2010-11 season where games against RPI killers Texas-Pan American, The Citadel, Longwood, and Maryland Eastern Shore butchered the RPI, and left the Buffs on the outside of the Committee's plans.
I blame UMES.
Especially considering that Pac-12 play produced two RPI 250+ teams last year (Utah and USC), it's important to build out the schedule in such a way that RPI is boosted by CU's non-conference schedule, rather than hindered by it.  Adding the series against Kansas is a great start, and recent SoCon power Wofford certainly fits the bill, but the Northern Arizona, Hartford, and especially Texas Southern games are probably more trouble then they are worth.  Hell, it's probably better to schedule a D-II school (like CU did with Ft Lewis last season), than repeatedly schedule a D-I dreg like TSU.


The 2012-13 CU fanbase pledge.

Repeat after me:

I, (state your name), will not get discouraged should this team lose early season games to quality opponents.  I realize that basketball is not football, and that a few early losses are not disqualifying events.  I further recognize that Coach Boyle's teams start slow, and that a young team needs time to grow. I will continue to stay positive, even if this team enters finals break at 5-5.  I believe in all that is Tad, and will continue to pack the CEC, regardless of how the KU and CSU games go.

Also, fuck Baylor.


Look for the full preview towards the end of the month.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Quick Post: #IsItOctober12thYet

The line throughout the summer from the die-hard hoop fanatics in BuffsNation has been #IsItNovemberYet.  I think it might be time to change it to #IsItOctober12thYet.

Official opening night for basketball season may still be over a month away (although it's getting closer...), but the unofficial start is actually next weekend.  After a tireless campaign from players, the C-Unit, and BuffNation at large, the athletic department granted the program a Midnight Madess-style event, labeled #BuffsMadness for marketing purposes, to celebrate the start of fall practice.  And it's right around the corner!
The push to repeat begins next week.
Friday, October 12th, the night after the CU/ASU football game, both the men's and women's hoops teams will hit the hardwood for a night of scrimmages, specialty contests (3-point, dunking, etc), giveaways, and ephemera (Skit night?  I hope there are skits).  Tentatively scheduled to start at 8:30 pm (following the volleyball game, which starts at 7pm), the whole night is free.  This will be Boulder's first opportunity to thank the Pac-12 champions for their efforts last March, and we in BuffNation need to pack the house in support.

Yesterday, in his weekly Twitter chat, Daily Camera scribe Kyle Ringo said he doubted that the Buffs could draw 5,000 for this event.  I say we can beat that number.  Everyone needs to grab a friend, hell, make that four of them, and make them commit to attending on the 12th.  It's free, it's an easy excuse to start your Friday evening out in Boulder, and it's a great way of showing support for the best basketball program in the Rocky Mountain region.
Coach Boyle doesn't understand why you wouldn't be there.
If you care about CU basketball, and are in the area, then you need to be there next Friday.  No excuses.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: 40 days...

I'm back from vacation, not that I want to be.  Beyond the stress associated with coming back to work, and the uncomfortable fit of my old routine after a successful trip home, I had gotten used to being 1,000 miles away from all things CU football.  Home in Chicago, I was blissfully unaware of the football program and its ever grumpy fanbase.  I found that outside of Colorado there is a whole world full of sunshine and joy; where children still laugh, birds still sing, and sports are still a storehouse of escapist fun.

Here, the world is ugly and gray, and that's not just the early-fall weather.  This place reeks of foul-tempers, and it's not an easy place to return to.  Football season can't end soon enough.

Close your eyes, BuffNation, and think of Tad.  Basketball season is less that three fortnights away...

Today in the bag, I'll take a brief look back at the UCLA drubbing, touch on some recruiting notes, and finish with my usual trip around the nation of football.

Click below for the bag...