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bsn BSN: The Big House presents gigantic opportunity for CU Buffs

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    BOULDER — Four years into Mike MacIntyre’s tenure at Colorado, he and his Buffaloes have finally reached the point where they appear ready to make a statement to the country, to their conference, and perhaps even to themselves about where the program has risen to.

    Facing No. 4 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday is quite the stage for such a statement, should things go the Buffs’ way. Colorado has not beaten a top-five opponent on the road since 1994 when they faced a similarly ranked Wolverines squad in The Big House, a game dubbed as “The Miracle in Michigan” because of Kordell Stewart’s game-winning Hail Mary pass to Michael Westbrook.

    MacIntyre has yet to beat a single ranked team while at CU, having been outscored by a total of 500-276 against such opponents. Though if there was a season, or even a week, where his program might be ready to reverse their fortunes, it would be with this team—a team MacIntyre has consistently called his best in Boulder.

    Yet, with that said, team leaders like Sefo Liufau and Tedric Thompson seem indifferent about the outside excitement for this game being what it is. They aren’t dismissive, by any stretch of the imagination. However, they do seem a bit level-headed than teams in the past, who might have treated this game like a Super Bowl of sorts.

    “Being a top five team, people try to think a lot about it,” said Thompson. “You go back two weeks ago, (this week is) the same way we’ve been practicing. The intensity goes up every week.”

    Liufau echoed the defensive leader’s stance.

    “I think there’s a misconception. It’s easy to not have as much focus when there’s a big team like Michigan coming up on your schedule,” Liufau said. “Each week when you go out and play Team X, you go out and prove to yourself and your teammates that you’re a good team. With this team, we’re so focused. We want to leave this program in better shape than we (received) it.”

    Certainly, a win over Michigan would establish this program as officially being back, the kind of win that fans have been waiting for since Homecoming of 2007 when Dan Hawkins led the Buffs to a win over No. 3 Oklahoma.

    “You play major college football for a reason. There’s always a little more excitement for your first road game,” said MacIntyre. “If you’re not prepared, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing or how hyped up you are. They’ve been through the hype of going to a big place to play and not playing well because they were just happy to be there.”

    To be fair, it wouldn’t take a win on Saturday to continue the positive momentum that this team has put together thus far in the young season. Jim Harbaugh has seemingly returned Michigan to the small group of college football’s elite in short order and beating such a team would be a tall task for anyone in the country, including those in that same group of national powers. Of course, Buffs fans would certainly take a win, but those interested in knowing more about Colorado’s 2-0 start and how legitimate this team is might simply look for signs of competitiveness and, above all, competence on national television.

    Quite simply, how will Colorado handle their first true dose of adversity that is almost surely coming their way this weekend?

    “We know for a fact we’re going to get punched in the mouth, that’s a great team,” said Thompson. “We’re going to have each other’s back as a team.”

    From the outside, it’s hard to forget the weeks leading up to passed games that felt as pivotal as this one. Chances against Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, Ohio State, and more came and went, often in less than inspiring fashion. Quotes from players usually felt just about the same—confidence and excitement were always a part of the story.

    For Liufau, he knows the anticipation that comes with playing somewhere like Ann Arbor and against a team like the one he’ll be tasked with beating.

    “As a team of competitors we’ll be jacked up,” he said. “We’ll be excited for Michigan, obviously when you play a dominant powerhouse. We want to play the best, want to beat the best. If you love the game as a competitor then you’ll have those butterflies. If you don’t then you don’t really care.”

    MacIntyre has seen the level of preparation put together by his team increase year over year, a result he credits to the maturity of this group. The idea of treating each week, each opponent, as a season within itself is vital to this group’s identity, to their sudden influx of success. But the head coach knows that there are questions that must still be answered, questions that weren’t put to bed despite two utterly dominant performances to start the year.

    “Now we need to see how we play against a really good football team,” he said. “I think they do, too. You go out there and stand toe to toe and fight.”

    William Whelan
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  2. chitownbuff

    chitownbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Fight. Fight, fight, fight.

    Me and MacDizzle are so close, we finish each other's sentences.
     

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