Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

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...

Humiliation in Tempe - 

Welp, we're back to this shit.

A week after showing some first half fight against the dominating Oregon Ducks, the hapless Colorado football team was back to their impotent ways this past Saturday, as they got trampled 54-13 at Arizona St.  Even with a spread of 41-points, it wasn't even that close.
Coach macIntyre seems to be running out of answers in year one.  From: the Post.
Behind QB Connor Wood, who looked as lost as ever against an ASU defense that had been struggling with missed assignments and personnel issues in the proceeding weeks, CU spent their first three drives in reverse, going three-and-out each time, and totaling -6 yards of offense.  By the time true freshman QB Sefo Liufau was sent in to spell the battered Wood (more on that later), it was far too late.

Meanwhile, the Sun Devil offense was toying with their Colorado counterparts, as they scored on their first five drives of the game.  By the end of the first quarter, it was 25-0.  By halftime it was 47-6.  Not since last season's game at Fresno St had CU looked this helpless.  It was so bad that ASU head coach Todd Graham went out of his way to say at halftime "we'll be real sportsmanlike, and do what's right," in the second half, almost apologizing for stealing the Buffs' milk money over the first 30 minutes.
The hapless Buffs couldn't contain the obviously superior Sun Devils.  From: the Post.
All told, CU was out-gained 532-268 on the day, a margin that only looks respectable because Graham and the Sun Devils put up a 'real sportsmanlike' 150 yards after half, including a final drive that mercifully consumed the remaining 10:57 of the game.  The teams only combined for six possessions over the final two frames, leaving me to wonder why they just didn't call it at halftime.

Sefo in charge - 

The only news worth noting in the wake of Saturday's disaster was the ascension of frosh Sefo Liufau to the #1 QB job.

The time had come for Connor Wood.  After two respectable performances in the season's opening weeks, he had lost all semblance of composure and competency.  Ever since the 21-day flood-aided break, he has been skittish in the pocket, slow to make reads, and prone to making bad decisions.  Sure, the lack of a run game and the pressure provided by big deficits have done him no favors, but the plug needed to be pulled.
Wood looked more than lost, it was time.  From: the BDC
Many had expected that, if Wood was going to be pulled, it would be in favor of newly reinstated QB Jordan Webb.  That never made sense to me, however, as Webb wasn't a proven commodity, despite his string of ugly starts last season, and hadn't been practicing with the team due to injury and criminality.

Instead, as had been the plan all along, it was the neophyte Liufau who took the field when Wood was  pulled.
It's Sefo's show now.  From: the Post
He didn't fare too poorly.  ASU threw the kitchen sink at him, which forced two picks and a safety out of the Washington native, but he continued to look composed throughout the game. The end result wasn't all that inspiring, with the team gaining 244 yards of offense on 56 plays under Liufau (about 4.4 yards per snap, on par with what they had been getting out of Wood through 148 snaps of Pac-12 play), but at least it was different (*shoulder shrug*).

Liufau should continue to get a look in the coming weeks, including CU's home tilt with FCS Charleston Southern this weekend.  That'll be a good opportunity for him to get his feet wet against a more beatable opponent.

Volleyball and soccer struggle - 

The volleyball and soccer teams had been on a roll this month.  In volleyball, upsets over #11 UCLA and #1 Washington had set a fast pace to the season, while in soccer, a home sweep of the Oregons had already equaled the total number of conference victories from 2012.  Things were looking up as the ladies from both sides hit the road for difficult road tests.

Unfortunately, the women's volleyball team seemed to hit a wall, failing to win a single set in the Bay Area through back-to-back defeats to strong Cal and Stanford sides.  The problem seemed to be getting star attacker Taylor Simpson going.  The Bears and Cardinal swarmed the 6-3 outside hitter, throwing off her rhythm, and keeping the Buffs behind throughout the trip. After a home stand where she totaled 41 kills and hit .319, the trip to San Francisco saw her only notch 18 total kills against 19 errors.
CU was no match for Cal Wednesday night.  From: the Daily Californian.
The women's soccer team fared little better in their weekend opener at Washington St.  It was the Buffs' first trip outside the state of Colorado, and the road seemed to wreak havoc on their play.  The Cougars scored in the third minute, and never looked back on their way to a 3-0 win.

Traveling across the state to Seattle, the Buffs finally got on the board.  The lone breakthrough on the weekend came Sunday, as Anne Stuller put home a free kick from 22 yards out to secure a 1-0 OT victory over Washington.  Coming on a weekend of lackluster results from the athletic department, it was a welcome moment of joy.

Both teams will stay on the road this week, with soccer visiting Cal on Friday, and Volleyball taking a two-game swing through Oregon.  Hopefully, the road will treat them much kinder this time around.

Around the nation of football -  


- Oregon 45 - Washington 24 -

Marcus Mariota continued his assault on collegiate defenses, putting up 454 combined yards and four scores in the Ducks' declarative win over rival Washington.  Now through a half season, he has posted combined totals of 2150 yards and 25 touchdowns without a turnover.  With 'Johnny Football' out of the running for being, well, Johnny Football, Mariota looks to be the Heisman frontrunner after six weeks.
The Huskiers weren't ready for the Oregon onslaught.  From: USA Today.

- Utah 27 - Stanford - 21 -

The Utes snapped Stanford's 13-game winning streak, shocking the #5 powerhouse for their biggest win since joining the conference two years ago.  The star of the game was Ute running back Bubba Poole, who turned 29 touches into 186 yards against the brutally tough Cardinal defense.

- Missouri 41 - Georgia 26 - 

Don't look now, but the Tigers at 6-0 after their road upset of #7 Georgia.  Powered by a 21-point second quarter, Mizzou pulled away in spite of the loss of star QB James Franklin.  Now at 2-0 in SEC play, and without the burden of playing juggernauts Alabama and LSU, the Tigers are on track to shock the world, and make the SEC title game.  Wouldn't that be a hell of a thing?
Where had Mizzou been hiding this whole time? 

 - Denver 35 - Jacksonville 19 -

Visions of covering the record-breaking 28-point spread were quickly dashed as the Jaguars proved to be a feisty, worthy opponent for the undefeated Broncos.  Still, behind an exceedingly average day from Peyton Manning, Denver breezed to the 14-point win.
The Jags salvaged a cover, must to the consternation of BroncoNation.

- New England 29 - New Orleans 27 -

Tom Brady did it again.  Down 27-23 with only a minute to play, and with no timeouts left to call, the surefire hall-of-famer marched his Patriots 70 yards down the field to score the game-winning touchdown.  Just another day at the office for the Patriots' front man.

Happy Monday!

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