Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: CU football lands major recruit

In what has become an semiannual right of passage for the Board of Regents, basketball coaches Tad Boyle (praise be his name) and Linda Lappe received a contract extension.  Through a vote on Friday, the respective contracts were extended to the end of the '18-'19 season, without an increase in salary.

I don't mean to undersell this move, since it is important for the coaches to continue to enjoy a sense of job security, but I'm not kidding when I say that this has become a common occurrence.  The contracts for Boyle and Lappe have been repeatedly extended tweaked over the previous two years, including the following instances:

February 2012
November 2012
April 2013
June 2013
July 2013

I've become accustomed to the idea that, in sports, contracts are barely worth the paper they're printed on. Coaches can be fired or quit at the drop of a hat, so all of this is mostly for posturing.  Anyone who is familiar with the programs in Boulder knows that Boyle and Lappe are here until they no longer want to be. Still, simply the idea that both the coaching eras we're currently enjoying would continue through 2019 is a welcome one.  I'll take it.


Today in the bag, I'm talking about the US sneaking through to the knockout rounds, the first games of the World Cup's sweet sixteen, and a big-time recruit in football

Click below for the bag...

USMNT survives the 'Group of Death' - 

It came down to the wire last Thursday.  The balance of the 2014 World Cup's infamous 'Goup of Death' was in the air as dueling US/Germany and Portugal/Ghana games kicked off in Brazil.  While the USMNT were favorites to advance, nerves across the nation were stretched thin, as nightmare scenarios were far from incomprehensible.

The Americans eventually lost 1-0 to the Germans on a wonder-strike from all-world forward Thomas Muller, but the results in the other game (a 2-1 Portugal win) were just favorable enough to ensure that team USA would skirt past the Portuguese on goal difference.  As a result, the US had somehow done the impossible, leapfrogging international powers and bitter rivals to make the knockout stages.  Even with the loss, it should've been a time of national celebration, but not every American was buying into the achievement.  As die hard soccer fans celebrated the 'Great Escape,' a sizeable group of the bandwagon began to harp that no one should celebrate a loss - to do so would, apparently, be 'un-American.'
Take a step back and celebrate.
I know some find the whole concept repulsive - the idea that the US can 'win by losing' - but that's just faulty logic.  The World Cup, and, indeed, most soccer competitions, require a larger view. The US advances because of their relative success compared to Portugal in the corresponding Germany fixture.  The Portuguese were blizted 4-0, crumbling almost from the moment of kickoff, while the USMT held strong against early waves of the German assault.  That's where second place in the group was decided.  In a way, the celebrations weren't 'for' the loss, but rather for the larger achievement.  The entirety of the group stage - from John Anthony Brooks, to the stalwart defense against the Germans - was being applauded.

To put it in perspective, a fighter can lose the 12th round of a tile fight, and still walk away with the belt.  It's not unprecedented.  It certainly doesn't change who won.

Regardless of whether you understand it or not, the USMNT moves on, against all probability, to the sweet sixteen.  From now on, the results are more straight forward - win, or go home - which brings America's obsession with brackets back into play.  Everyone should be able to get behind the action, at this point.

Weekend wrap-up from the World Cup - 

Brazil vs Chile - 

Poor, poor Chile.  For the fourth time in team history, the Chileans made it to the knockout stages of the World Cup, and, for the fourth time in team history, Brazil was there to halt their run (and you thought the USMNT struggled with Ghana).
Brazil advances at the expense of a very entertaining Chilean squad.
The true horror of the narrative is that they came oh so close to reversing the trend this year.  Through 120 minutes of soccer, the Chileans had stunted the tournament favorites, holding them to a 1-1 draw (in-and-of-itself an achievement).  With the combatants knotted after extra time, the decision came down to penalties. Chile's final attempt face-planted into the right post, and the nation of Brazil lit-up with relief.  It'll be a long four-year wait for potential revenge in Santiago.

Colombia vs Uruguay - 

James Rodriguez (pronounced HAM-es) has officially gone HAM on the World Cup.  Notching his fourth and fifth goals of the competition in Colombia's 2-0 win over Uruguay, he has taken over the top spot in the race for the Golden Boot (player with the most goals).  In the process, he has planted himself securely on the Mt Rushmore of current soccer heroes, and will now, surely, be the subject of continuous transfer speculation.  Get ready to see his face for years to come, as he's nofficially a bonafide star.

Netherlands vs Mexico - 

It wouldn't be the World Cup without an officiating controversy.  Tied 1-1 into stoppage time, the Netherlands and Mexico were completing one of the best matches of the tournament on Sunday morning. Desperate for victory, Dutch forward Arjen Robben had been flopping like a madman in the box the entirety of the second half, hoping to draw a penalty to give his team a breakthrough against Mexico and their seemingly unbeatable goalie, Guillermo Ochoa.  Finally, in the 91st minute, the referee succumbed to the tactic, and awarded a penalty kick on a phantom Robben tumble in the box.  The Dutch would, of course, convert the foul into the winning goal, leaving Mexican coach Miguel Herrera howling at anyone who would listen.  Considering the evidence, I'm very sympathetic to his case.
Not much there.  Shouldn't have decided the game. From: @mighty_flynn
Costa Rica vs Greece - 

Whenever Greece take the stage, I generally take that to mean that it's nap time for yours truly. They're neigh unwatchable, favoring an all-out defensive strategy over anything resembling the 'beautiful game.'  Even gifted a man advantage over Costa Rica for much of the second half, they struggled in attack on Sunday, only tying things up in stoppage time. Thankfully for everyone involved, los Ticos held on through the overtime periods, and won the shootout 5-3, saving the planet the horror of having to watch the Greeks play in the quarter finals.

Buffs get a HUGE commitment -

Turning away from soccer, the football program got some good news over the weekend, as Regis Jesuit's 6-4, 295 lb monster of an offensive lineman, Tim Lynott, committed to the University of Colorado during an unofficial visit.  According to ($), Lynott chose CU over power programs like Oregon, UCLA, Miami, and ASU, giving his commitment a little weight.

Ostensibly one of the best players in the state, the recruiting services have waffled between a three- and four-star grade for the soon to be high school senior.  Grades be damned, however, it's a statement commitment, given that the Buffs have watched a myriad of local talent flee the state in recent years.
Lynott and Coach Mac from a recent visit.  From: the BDC
CU fans being what they are, it only took 13 posts on AllBuffs before someone was comparing him to Orlando Pace.  While it would be lovely to watch the young man blossom into a future NFL hall-of-famer, I'd be happy with a multi-year starter who will anchor the O-line.  It's easy to envision just that when watching highlight films like this one, which have Lynott throwing around the competition with ease.

With Lynott in the fold, the commitment total for the class of 2015 is up to five, including OLB NJ Fallo, DE TJ Fehoko, OL Dillon Middlemiss, ad QB Steve Montez.  Many more to go...

Happy Monday!

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