Quickly, a big shout-out to ForeverBuff Emma Coburn for her bronze medal performance in the 3000m steeple chase. Her American-record run did all of BuffNation proud. Way to go, Emma!
Only two topics this afternoon as we inch closer to fall. Today in the bag, I'm talking Saturday's football scrimmage and the pratfalls of closed door practices, before closing with the Olympics.
Click below for the bag...
On the open scrimmage and the closed practices -
With just three weeks to go prior to the start of the 2016 season, the Buffs held an early-morning scrimmage on Saturday. It was hit-or-miss, largely vanilla, and essentially what was to be expected. We in BuffNation did get to see some flashes of two-way star-in-the-making Anthony Julmisse, but it came with the sour note that this brief glimpse in Folsom was also the last outsiders will get prior to the RMS. In fact, all it did was reinforce a growing sense that I've been chewing on since the start of fall practices: I'm simply not sold on Coach MacIntyre's closed camp policy.
|The Buffs scrimmaged Saturday before bounding back behind closed doors. From: CUBuffs.com|
I get the concept. You don't want any potential negative coverage to spike the rosy message that the Buffs are pushing for a bowl game, and every coach in the nation blanches at the thought of opponents getting a peek behind the curtain, but, each of those ideas is wrong-track thinking. By closing the doors, it makes it look like you're hiding something, making laymen, like myself, concerned that something is wrong. By being paranoid about what early opponents, like CSU, could get from having the random eye or two at practice, it makes it seem as if you're worried about playing little brother in the first place. It's not a good look for a program that, in year four of a coaching staff, should be exuding confidence at every step of the way.
|Real looks at Colorado have been few and far between this fall. From: the BDC|
It's come to the point that I'm starting to see blood in the water, when there probably isn't any to be found. My instinctual reaction to a harmless and otherwise positive quote from Tedric Thompson, that the Buffs 'deserve' to break the painful bowl-less streak, was to snap back that 'other teams (are) working their tails off, too,' and remonstrate against the evidence of things not seen. We're supposed to be consuming kool-aid-soaked missives about how some third-string sophomore linebacker is the next Ted Johnson, thanks to a few snaps at the close of a random Tuesday practice. Instead, I'm jumping at phantom negativity, and seeing holes in the foundation that may or may not exist. The larger point is this: really, the only way to build and capitalize on the annual parade of hope in fall camp is to actually let people see fall camp. Mac and the Buffs missed the mark on this one.
Olympics basketball about to hit the knockout stages -
So, the Olympics. While you've been watching tape-delayed packages of teens tumbling and Americans owning the pool, I'm been watching pretty much everything else. Basketball (of course), handball, rugby, field hockey, fencing (with its annoying share of privileged dandies playing to the judges), badminton, and, oddly enough, weightlifting. The basketball, which I will get to in a second, has been, by far, my favorite event of the summer. But a close, sneaky second has been frickin' weightlifting.
|Weightlifting, seriously? From: the BBC|
But, enough of that, onto the hoops. After the opening week of the international tournament, it seemed like the US Men's National Team would be walking to yet another gold medal. Team USA has dominated the sport at this stage since its inclusion back in the 30s, and early blowouts against China (119-62) and Venezuela (113-69) seemed to hint that the 2016 team was headed in that direction, as well. However, a series of three tight games since - against Australia (98-88), Serbia (94-91), and France (100-97) - have a lot of people, myself included, nervous.
|Team USA has been struggling, while still winning, this past week. From: BleacherReport|
None of this is new, however. The team built around individual dynamos like Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving, while struggling a bit this week, is still better than the shit show we sent to Athens in 2004, and should still be considered a gold medal favorite. (To give you a sense of how bad that team was, consider that the the US has lost just five games at the Olympics, all time. Three of them came in '04. Dark days, indeed.) The problem is that the price of poker has gone up, as Coach Boyle would say. Starting tomorrow, the tournament is into single-elimination mode, and performances like those from this past weekend are liable to now end in ignominious defeat. Any of Argentina (their quarterfinal opponent), Spain (the probable semifinal matchup), or Lithuania/Croatia/Serbia (potential gold medal entrants) can and will smack them around if they come out like a disorganized mess. There is a danger here, and the US Men better be ready to rise above it, or forever be remembered as the worst team since Athens.