Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: On #BowlOrBust

Straight to the action on a busy Tuesday afternoon....

Today in the bag, I'm talking the opening of the new Champions Center, the implications of #BowlOrBust, and Patrick Kane.

Click below for the bag...

Breaking the seal on the Champions Center - 

The construction of new and updated athletic facilities on the east side of Folsom Field has been the enduring symbol of ascendancy for the fan base.  Coinciding with the slow gathering of momentum in Mike MacIntyre's wayward program, the rising edifice of the Sustainable Excellence Initiative - first the added premium seating, then the Champions Center, and now, finally, the IPF - has been a positive, quantifiable sign of growth.  Brick by brick (allusion to the previous regime not intended), element by element, the SEI has turned from fantasy to reality, hopefully leading to similar results on the gridiron this fall.  If the product on the construction side is any indication, that hope is a can't-miss bet.

After years of waiting, and months of practice without a locker room, the football team finally got a taste of their new digs in the Champions Center.  From the new locker room, to the well-appointed player's lounge, and the training facilities, the reviews are in, and they're music to the ears. It's all gorgeous, professional, and top-of-the-line.  Linebacker Kenneth Olugbode summed it up nicely: “When you see pictures, you know it’s going to be nice. But then you actually walk in and it’s breathtaking. Shock and awe when you walk in.” More than that, it's a damn home run.  The kind of facility that proves that CU can run with the big dogs in the rough and tumble Pac-12 South.

For their part, CU Athletic Director Rick George and staff have delivered on their promises.  The cash has been (partially raised) in the largest effort in school history, the foundation poured and cured, and the results assured (with the IPF still to be completed this winter).  Now, it's up to Mac and crew to deliver on their end...

Resist #BowlOrBust -

... Which brings me to the open discussion of the long-awaited return to bowl eligibility. We're fighting against human nature here.  It's within all of us to want to see some immediate return on that investment (not coincidentally, one of the biggest in the school's history). It's naive, however, to demand success immediately - like giving a 16-year old a Ferrari, and expecting him not to wrap it around a tree.  Simply taking off the locks to the shiny new locker room isn't, in and of itself, the missing piece of the puzzle.

The prospective of a bowl game was the topic du jour at last week's media day, and it unnerves me that the players and coaches are talking about this openly.  It certainly unnerves me that there's a damn banner on the practice fields that highlights each of the Pac-12's seven bowl affiliates.  It's great to have goals, and, for any other program, becoming one of the 80 bowl eligible teams wouldn't be that difficult.  But, to make this season, with its brutal 13 game slate and toughest division in America, about #BowlOrBust is akin to setting up for failure.  The bygone message of a previous era - 10 wins, no excuses - can't help but shake loose a mocking echo; we've all heard this story before.  A different flavor of snake oil, if you will, and a warning of flying too close to the sun.  I don't want the disappointment to become the underlying narrative to 2015, should that mark get missed, with the accompanying downward spiral setting the program back.  Gotta crawl before you can walk!
From: @RyanKoenigsberg
So far, I can't help but notice that, along every step of the way in the Rick George era (and, by extension, the Mike MacIntyre era), things are being done correctly when it comes to the football program.  The rebuild has been direct, focused, and deliberate. There have been no short-cuts, no half measures; the process is being honored.  It's why the SEI has been so successful, and not at all reminiscent of the slap-dash attempts at investment that occurred under Dick Tharp and Mike Bohn.  Which makes me wonder: why put the cart before the horse now?  The process must still be honored, and putting the bowl game on a pedestal when there's still work to be done won't do anyone any good.

See, I believe the season can finish in late November and still be a success.  Five or six wins, while not enough to get to a bowl, would not be embarrassing. That football at the University of Colorado has gone seven years without a bowl berth, and a full ten without a winning season, is catastrophic. But that doesn't mean the baby should go out with the bathwater in search of the desert's exit.  Don't fall into the trap!  I want a bowl trip as much as any fan, but the ultimate goal should be true respectability, and not simply a mid-December visit to Las Vegas.  I will remain patient.

On Patrick Kane - 

The news broke over the weekend: Patrick Kane's house was being searched, with the Chicago star the center of a rape investigation.  Details are still emerging, and the investigation seems to have a long way to go before any charges would be filed, but it's as ugly and confused as you would expect.
Kane - under investigation.  From: Deadspin.
We as a society often try to blame the victim in high profile sexual assault cases, such as this.  As sure as the sun rises in the east, if a popular figure is accused, you can bet that a wave of people will try to say the victim was 'asking for it.'  Sure enough, you can already see that in the popular coverage of this case (note the bar owner in this story helping to lay that foundation - and that's just the start).  There is no more shameful tendency in our culture than this sorry reaction, and, if that's your immediate view of this story, than I don't know if we should be friends.

Along side, the narrative is typically to hold back judgement until 'the truth comes out.'  Well, I'm just not interested here.  Kane has, far too often, played into the image of the wannabe-frat-type; a role that professional organizations have no need for. Guess what? Trouble follows. I don't care how much money Kane throws at the problem, or what his lawyers have to say, I'm done with him.  I'll cheer for My Hawks, and continue to support the franchise that 'represents' my hometown, but I'm done with 88.

Happy Tuesday.

No comments: