Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 UCLA Football Preview

There's no doubt about it, last weekend's loss to Arizona hurt.  It was a prime opportunity for the program to grab a statement win - homecoming, Folsom at night, blackout game - but a series of poorly executed possessions squandered too many first half opportunities.  Once momentum flipped, there was no coming back, and the Buffs had to stand and watch as the Wildcats dominated the second half of the game.

It would be understandable, in the wake of that letdown, for the team to fracture.  We've certainly seen it in the past, as many a CU team disintegrated from within over the last few years. Coach Mike MacIntyre, however, swears that isn't the case under his watch:
"I really think we're a together team, and I really think they're trying hard and playing hard [...] We've just got to play a little better. We've got to do a few more things [...] I don't see factions, I don't see people pointing fingers at each other, I don't see guys not coming to work, I don't see guys not going to class. I see them all doing the things that you see a good football team maturing doing. Now, it takes a process to get it done against good teams." -link
In that vein, I've generally viewed this team as being more together than those from the previous regime.  To this point, I've seen them be genuinely excited when positive things happen, and quick to pick a teammate up - rather than point fingers - when the run of play goes the other way.  You know, like a team who actually cares about sharing the field with one another.

With bowl hopes brain-dead and on life support, however, we'll just have to see if that impression, and MikeMac's comments, stay true over the final weeks of 2013.


This week, the Buffs travel to sunny southern California to take on a reeling UCLA squad.  Over all team sports, CU only has one win against the Bruins since the start of the Pac-12 era - coming just over a month ago on the hardwood of the CEC, as the women's volleyball team upset the then-#11 Lady Bruins on September 27th.  To get a second win in 2013, this time in football, would take an upset of a nearly unfathomable nature.

Kickoff from the historic Rose Bowl is set for 5:30pm MT on Saturday.  Those of you who have struggled to find the Pac-12 Network on your television package are in luck!  The game will be shown on FOX Sports 1 this weekend, marking the first time since the RMS that the Buffs have been on anything other than P12N.  For those still left in the dark by the new channel, the radio call can be heard on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Bowl hopes dashed

Late in the third quarter, with the game against Arizona quickly slipping away, CU faced a must-convert fourth-and-goal from the Wildcat four yard line.  Down 14 at the time, the Buffs needed the conversion just to stay within reach.

True freshman QB Sefo Liufau walked up to the line to survey his options before the critical play, announcing to the crowd CU's intention to forego the field goal try.  Suddenly, out of the stands in the south end of the stadium, came an obnoxious blare - the band had started playing.  Somehow, wires had been crossed, and the drum major had called a tune prior to this critical play.  Now, CU had a freshman QB trying to bark out signals to his teammates through a wall of unnecessary noise.  It was a major breach of band protocol.

After a frantic series of cutoff signals, the band eventually stopped playing before the snap.  The resulting play, an incomplete pass from Liufau to D.D. Goodson, put the Buffs only further behind the eightball, and CU soon fell apart in the final quarter.

Now, did the band playing cause the resulting incompletion?  No, it did not.  In all honestly, the team was probably so focused they didn't even notice, but the band needs to be smarter than that.  There was no reason to even have something called, let alone actually start playing. As a band nerd, sitting amongst other band nerds, it was probably the most heated I got all game. 


Today in the bag, I'm talking the football loss against Arizona, the volleyball team's weekend sweep, and the walk-off obstruction.

Click below for the preview...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Beer Post: 2013 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Arizona 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 honor of Homecoming Week, when every alum turns their eyes back to Boulder and their beloved alma mater, I'm looking within City of Boulder proper for my inspiration.  Of all the breweries in town, there is none more esteemed than Avery Brewing.  They take more chances, and produce more quality then any other brewery inside the city limits. 

For this week, I'm tabbing one of their limited releases that gets my goat every time I try it.  That beer, Rumpkin, is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.

Aged in rum barrels, and loaded with natural pumpkin flavor, Rumpkin packs a seasonal punch for the adventurous beer drinker.  It's brewed with, of course, local-sourced organic pumpkins (apparently from the same source as Upslope's Pumpkin Ale), and spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.  The taste is sweet, with notes of rum left over from the aging.  It comes in at over 18% ABV, and can knock you over after only one bottle.

For those who can still find one of the rare 12oz bottles still floating around Colorado liquor stores and the Avery taproom, give it a try, you won't be sorry.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Wildcats!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013 Arizona Football Preview

After a solid win over substandard FCS squad Charleston Southern last weekend, the Buffs enter the final weekend of October at a very satisfying 3-3.  To be .500 this late in the season has been unheard of in recent years; in fact you have to go all the way back to 2008 to find a season where the Buffs could claim an even record on October 26th or later.  Dilly bars all around.

Of course, it's a soft .500.  The Buffs have beaten two lower division teams and a below average CSU squad, while being blown out by all three Pac-12 teams they've played.  But that's actually an improvement!  Under the previous regime, even beating the soft underbelly of the schedule was a struggle.  Now with some wins in the back pocket, CU just needs to prove that they can beat a team that can fight back.  Picking on someone their own size, so to speak.

This week offers one of the few reasonable opportunities to do just that.  Arizona, while featuring some national-caliber talent, is not nearly as strong as, say, Oregon St, Oregon, and Arizona St.  What's more, Colorado has looked capable against the Wildcats the last two seasons, including last year's competitive effort in Tucson.  How many other 2012 games could you say the Buffs looked competitive in?  Two?  Three?  In that light alone, Arizona offers a winnable opportunity - the gap between them and CU is thinner than in most other intra-conference matchups. Add in the leverage of a homecoming crowd under the lights of a night kickoff, and this weekend's game is a very seductive pickup opportunitiy. 

If there is any hope - faint and fantastic as it was to begin with - that CU can still become bowl eligible, it is centered on a win in this game.  It's up to the Buffs to keep that hope alive with a strong performance Saturday night.


It's Homecoming Week!  Welcome back to all the wayward alums who are returning to their old haunting grounds. Kickoff from BLACKED OUT Folsom Field is set for 5:30 PM MT on Saturday.  Coverage is back on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio broadcast, as ever, to be found on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Big Saturday on Campus

After an extra day of expectation, I finally received my basketball tickets Saturday afternoon.  What is usually a day of celebration was marred, however, by the spartan design of the stubs this year.

Previously, the tickets had been basic, but functional, at the very least going so far as to put opponent logos somewhere on the face.  Recent season have seen flashier designs, with more risks taken outside of the old template. You can see the design progression in this sample of stubs from each of the preceding six seasons:

Note the use of gray and space in '11-'12 and '12-'13, improve on the the stoic style of the Bzdelik years.  Across the seasons, you can also note that the tickets look printed for a purpose, with each game getting the special treatment of the opponent and permanent inking.

Unfortunately, when you look at a ticket sheet for this season, you're greeted by this bland slosh of muted tones and hastily applied ribbon toner from the 1980s:

What happened?  Where's the color?  Where's the opponent logos?  These look they were printed up on short notice at a high school. 

My only guess is that this is a result of the awkwardly announced 10% cuts requested by interim AD Ceal Barry over the summer.  I suppose it's better to have shitty tickets than a slash in the recruiting budget, but it doesn't change the fact that I'll have to look at these ugly things every time I head up to the stadium this winter.

Now, are the look of season tickets a big issue?  Of course not, but, damn it, I thought after selling out season ticket packages for the first time ever that the basketball nuts of BuffNation had proven that they deserved better than this.  I expect something flashier in 2014-15.


Today in the bag, I'm wrapping up a strong weekend from CU athletics by talking the win over Charleston Southern, the basketball scrimmage, and the latest recruiting coup for the basketball program.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Beer Post: 2013 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Charleston Southern 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 really like the beer that I had picked for the Fresno St game. So much so that I'm going to run it back, and select it again for this week.  A second take at a great beer, if you will.

Eddyline Brewing in Buena Vista brews a fantastic pale ale that all of Colorado can be proud of.  That beer, River Runners Pale Ale, is my gameday beer-o-the-week.

Named after a local raft guiding company, River Runners Pale Ale is exactly what you would expect from an international style pale ale.  You get a lot of hops on the palette, but there's enough balancing malt to assure you they know what they're doing.  It's not as bitter as many in the pale ale family, so don't immediately dismiss it if you're wary of hoppy beasts.

Only available in man-cans (16oz), Eddyline just started wider distribution of the brew after it was awarded a gold medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.  Fair enough, I know I'd try to capitalize on that sort of coup.

A six-pack of these among friends will make for a fantastic football Saturday.  Grab some of both, and come up to Boulder to watch the Buffs get back on their feet.

Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Buccaneers!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 Charleston Southern Football Preview

Before the game Saturday, please remember to check out the open-door scrimmage the CU basketball programs are hosting at the CEC.  With the men hitting the court from 9-10:30, and the women from 10:30-11:30, it's an excellent opportunity to check out a pair of top-25 programs before the bright lights of the season are turned on.

I look at this as an attempt to replace Buffs Madness by capitalizing on the mass of people already on campus for football.  CU's version of a midnight madness event was well intentioned, but poorly advertised last fall, leaving whole swaths of the Events Center empty for the performance.  Despite a clarion call from Coach Boyle, a similar problem seems to be plaguing the scrimmage this go-around, leaving me to wonder why they don't plan these things father in advance.

Regardless, I'll be there bright and early Saturday morning.  Admission is free, though, since it's a football gameday, parking on campus is anything but.  For those who can't attend, I'll be live-tweeting the event, so be sure to follow me @Rumblinbuffalo.


The first attempt to play the 3rd and final non-conference game of the year was washed away with much of Boulder in last month's devastating flood. 

Replacing a canceled football game, which are often scheduled decades in advance, is not an easy thing to do, and the CU athletic department was put into scramble mode to replace it on the schedule.  To their credit, they managed the feat, first plowing through all available FBS options before finally settling on a tiny FCS school.  Bye-bye Fresno State, hello Charleston Southern.

That the Buffs were able to find anyone willing to shoehorn the game into their schedule on short notice in close to miracle.  That they got it done for the relatively paltry sum of $400,000 is a strong opening salvo fired from the Rick George regime.  Strong work from the fellow Son of Illinois.

Now, however, we come to the awkward point of actually playing that tiny FCS school smack-dab in the middle of a grueling Pac-12 campaign.  I'm sure the Buffs are eagerly anticipating a respite from 40-point in-conference drubbings, but I can't help but feel... underwhelmed by the challenge this week.  It's just hard to focus on #2 Oregon one week, only to turn around and see, of all things, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers rolling into town.  Hopefully, the team is more focused than I on the task at hand.

Kickoff from beautiful Folsom Field is set for high-noon on Saturday.  Television coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: ... only 24 days till basketball...

GOOD NEWS, BUFFNATION!  Basketball season is just around the corner, meaning that the ugliness that is football should fade into the background over the coming weeks.

In fact, this Saturday marks the first opportunity to see Coach Boyle and the boys take the court. They're throwing open the doors, and hosting an intra-squad scrimmage at 9am at the Coors Event Center.  If you don't think I'm more interested in the scrimmage than the CU/Charleston Southern football game taking place that afternoon, you're kidding yourself.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the pasting in Tempe, Sefo Liufau's ascension, road struggles from the volleyball and soccer teams, and my weekly look around the nation of football

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Beer Post: 2013 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!"

The Great American Beer Festival is rocking Denver's collective liver this weekend, but I won't be attending since tickets are harder to come by than seats to the CU/KU basketball game.  That doesn't mean, however, that my weekend will be beer-free.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  There's football, so there will be a watch party.  There's a watch party, so there will be beer.  Ipso facto.

For Arizona St, I've gone back to a mascot-derivative selection.  Victory Brewing kicks in the door with a hellaciously hopped IPA that's right up my alley.  That beer, Hop Devil IPA, is my gameday beer-o-the-week.

Hops take center stage, both on the nose and the taste.  Floral, citrusy, and spicy whole-leaf hops allow this brew to deliver a distinctive punch to the nostrils.  Pleasantly bitter, the taste is offset by a big dose of malt, giving the whole package big-body taste and flavor.

Even though Victory is from far off Downington, PA, they distribute out to the Rockies, and you should easily be able to find Hop Devil in the local alcohol mega-marts. Coming in at a busty 6.7% ABV, it'll lead you around if you're not careful, so split the six-pack with friends. 

Hopefully, CU can exorcize their Pac-12 demons while I'm sipping on a few of these.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Sun Devils!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

UPDATED - Quick Post: Season Basketball Tickets Sold Out!

If you were still waffling on whether or not to pick up one of the few remaining season ticket packages for the 2013-14 men's basketball campaign, you've missed the boat as CU announced today that all season tickets have been SOLD OUT!  What few single-seats remain are being sold through today's season ticket holder sale, tomorrow's Buff Club sale, and a registered fan sale on Monday.  Beyond that, however, there isn't a seat to be had... a full month before opening night, no less. (Student tickets are still available... for now.)
A packed CEC, now a familiar sight.  From: the alumni association
The news today only continues the incredible string of ticket sales figures that have accompanied three-straight years of unparalleled success for Colorado Basketball.  After averaging over 10,000 fans last season, the Buffs should be near the 11,064 seat capacity of the CEC every night this winter.   CU basketball, once a laughing stock, is now the hottest ticket on the Front Range.  Suck on that.

And to the 100s of KU fans, who, undoubtedly, helped Colorado reach this milestone by buying season ticket packages for the one game they care about, I say thank you.  Your donations to the Buff Club are greatly appreciated.  As for the rest of your blue and red cronies who won't be able to attend because CU is a basketball school now, I can only remind you that the game will be shown on ESPN2.  I hope you have a comfortable couch.


2013 Arizona State Football Preview

For the game this week, Arizona St is offering a special ticket package called the 'Buffalo Snack Pack.'  For $99, you get two tickets, two half pound buffalo burgers, and two gold 'Fear the Fork' t-shirts.  They'll also have concession stands around Sun Devil Stadium grilling up buffalo burgers for the hungry patrons.

Get it!? They're eating buffalo burgers while playing the Buffaloes.  How cute. 

I'd eat a Sun Devil in retribution, but I'm STD free, and would rather stay that way, thank you very much.


Kickoff from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ is set for 8pm MT on Saturday.  Coverage will be on Pac-12 Networks (where else?) and 850 KOA.

Click below for the preview...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Volleyball team continues to shock the world

No intro today, straight to the bag.  I'm talking the monster upset on the volleyball court, wrapping up the football loss to Oregon, and taking my semi-weekly trip around the nation of football.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Beer Post: 2013 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!"

Earlier this year, news broke that shocked the doughnut loving world: Portland's Voodoo Doughnut is coming to Denver! Famous more for their topping eccentricities than for their base product, Voodoo has become the doughnut shop in the Northwest, and a mecca for hipsters and doughnut-freaks alike.

In honor of the Oregon institution's pending arrival in Colorado, I'm going Rogue this week, and choosing a beer not because I actually want to drink it, but because of the concept.  Named in honor of the famous doughnut shop, Rogue Ales in Newport, OR brews a beer that brings to mind one of Voodoo's signature styles, the maple bacon bar.  That beer, Bacon Maple Ale, is my gameday beer-o-the-week.

Be forewarned, this is one of the more disgusting beers I've ever tried.  Not that it's poorly crafted - the opposite, in fact - it's just the flavor combination doesn't go well in beer form.

In theory, it should be a very manly experience (ignoring the garish pink bottle, of course).  Maple syrup nose, combined with a smoky bacon flavor.  Who wouldn't want to give that a try?  The problem is, it's just a little too much.  The nose is very maple, and too much sugar seeps into the taste, which doesn't mesh well with the smoky bacon palate.  The beer is an experience worth trying once, but not something I can really enjoy for more than a sip or two.

With that ringing endorsement, why not go out and grab a bottle.  Split it with your friends, and enjoy trying something way off the reservation.  Have a back-up in place, through, because few I know can make it through more than a few ounces of this.

Happy Firday!  Go Buffs, beat the Ducks!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2013 Oregon Football Preview

I feel so much better about 2013 knowing that the schedule is back up to 12 games.  While you can never assume anything with this program, just seeing the name 'Charleston Southern' on the schedule opens the door to three, four, even five wins on the year.  A bowl game is still a fantasy, but a few more victories would be concrete evidence of improvement and progression, which is all I was asking for at the season's onset.

Of course, we can't get ahead of ourselves.  While waiting for the Buccaneers to arrive on October 19th, the Buffs will have to slog through two seemingly unwinnable games - home against #2 Oregon this weekend and at #22 Arizona St on 10/12.  This could be a very rough stretch for the team, and watching how they cope and compete over the next two weeks may end up telling us even more than potential wins over ChaSo and Cal would.

Kickoff against the Oregon Ducks from beautiful Folsom Field is scheduled for 4pm MT.  Coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks (or - 'The Buffs Channel'), with Mark Johnson and the radio call coming on 850 KOA.

You can find previews from previous iterations of this series here and here.

Click below for the preview...