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Buffs Still a Year Away

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    By Stuart

    [h=3]Buffs Still a Year Away[/h]–
    I was in a good mood.
    It was Thursday night,*with the weekend already well within*sight. To make things better, the Pac-12 Networks were devoting their Thursday evening coverage to the University of Colorado.
    What more could a Buff fan ask for?
    The Pac-12 Networks started the evening with a show called “Timelines”, in which the success of the school’s teams from the previous year were showcased. Askia Booker’s game-winning*three-pointer*against Kansas*was shown at least three times, and there was coverage of Buff football, soccer, skiing, and track and field. There was (insufficient) homage paid to CU’s national championship cross country men’s team, and a few highlights of CU lacrosse (without mentioning that the Buffs went 11-8 despite it being their inaugural season).
    Not great, but it’s always fun to relive positive memories, and that’s what highlight shows are all about.
    The evening was capped by an hour-long show featuring Fall Camp at the University of Colorado. Coach MacIntyre was interviewed by the Pac-12 crew (which included former CU head coach Rick Neuheisel). Also interviewed*were defensive coordinator Kent Baer, linebackers Addison Gillam and Juda Parker, wide receivers D.D. Goodson and Bryce Bobo, and quarterback Sefo Liufau. It wasn’t a bad show, but there was little in the way of new insights or revelation … about what you would expect from a preview show.
    In between the “Timelines” and “Fall Camp Preview” programs, the Pac-12 Networks aired two CU games from 2013, the Cal game in Boulder and the season finale against Utah in Salt Lake City, with both games condensed to one hour shows.
    Knowing the outcomes of both games, I opted not to watch the Utah game (a 24-17 loss), choosing instead to watch the Colorado/Cal game (a 41-24 victory). I didn’t remember all of the highlights of the game against the Bears (the Nelson Spruce return of an onside kick for a touchdown the one memorable play which immediately came to mind), but I did recall that the outcome was positive, and that the Buffs won the game fairly comfortably.
    Thing is … I kinda wish now that I hadn’t watched the game again …
    Drinking the Kool-Aid
    The phrase “Hope springs eternal” comes from a poem written by Alexander Pope, and was penned*some 150 years before the first college football game*was played. Still, it might best*be used to describe the way college football fans treat every*spring, as with the birth of a new year comes the resurrection of new hopes and dreams.
    “Every team is undefeated in Fall Camp” is another phrase which can easily be applied to most college football fans – especially by the fans who are realistically looking at another*losing season.
    Colorado fans*are now almost nine full months removed from the 2013 season. Nine months*is a long time to allow wounds to heal, a long time to allow our memories to fade and become just a tad distorted.
    I’m as guilty as the next guy in*allowing my optimism meter to rise along with the temperature since the calendar turned to 2014.
    After all, Colorado went from one win in 2012 to four wins in 2013. Colorado improved in 29 – 29! – statistical categories in just one season under Mike MacIntyre.
    “Attitude and confidence in what you are doing is everything,” said Mike MacIntyre, whose three year metamorphosis from rancid to ranked while head coach at San Jose State is tattooed into the memory banks of every Buff fan. “The culture had to change to where when our guys stepped on the field that they had to believe that they could beat anybody. By the end of the season, that change took place”.
    Is that how you remember the end of the 2013 season, with a feeling that the Buffs were playing better, and beginning to believe that they could beat anybody?
    Me, too.
    That was, I should say,*until I re-watched the Colorado/Cal game.
    Cold Splash of Reality
    Let’s start with some numbers.
    Colorado was 1-8 in the Pac-12 last season. The average score of last season’s*conference games: 44-20. Take away the 41-24 win over Cal, and the average score of CU’s*eight*Pac-12*losses was 46-17.
    That’s a four-touchdown differential, folks.
    Did things improve as the season went along? Were the Buffs actually believing “that*they could beat anybody” towards the end of the 2013 season?
    Well, the average score of CU’s*four Pac-12 losses in November was only marginally better than*before, with the Buffs losing by an average score of*44-19.
    Sure, we already knew these numbers, but what brought*back to me the reality of how far CU*has still to go came*while watching the Cal game replay.
    Colorado won its only game against a BCS opponent in 2013 by a convincing score of*41-24. The Buffs took*an early*10-0 lead, had a 24-10 advantage*at the halftime break, and pushed the lead to 34-10 in the fourth quarter before coasting home to a 17-point win. Colorado had 485 yards of total offense against Cal, with Sefo Liufau completing 23-of-36 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns.
    What’s not to like?
    Well, plenty.
    The offense scored only three touchdowns in six red zone opportunities (and yes, I know that Coach MacIntyre and the Buffs are emphasizing red zone success this off-season). The Buffs rushed for 121 yards on 38 carries, a paltry 3.1 yards per rush average … against a team which was 122nd in the nation in total defense in 2013. The Colorado defense, meanwhile,*gave up 197 yards rushing to an offense which finished 107th nationally in rushing.
    Even when Cal was trying to run out the clock (apparently*out of*habit, being used to having the game out of hand by the fourth quarter), the Bears were successful against the*Buff defense. Down three scores in the fourth quarter, Cal ran the ball 17 times (to ten passes), and still managed to score*two touchdowns. Had the Bears not botched an onside kick (the one Nelson Spruce ran back for a touchdown), things might have gotten dicey towards the end.
    All this against a Cal*team which came to Boulder riding an eight-game losing streak,*a team whose*only win of the 2013 season coming early in*a 37-30 squeaker*at home against Portland State.
    Yes, Colorado improved dramatically from 2012 to 2013.
    Yes, the Buff offense went from scoring 17.8 points per game to 25.8 – a touchdown more per game.
    Yes, the Buff defense went from*giving up 46.0 points per game to 38.3 – a touchdown less per game.
    If the Buffs make similar leaps in 2014 – a touchdown more per game on offense; a touchdown less per game on defense – we’re looking at a .500 team.
    Possible, but not likely.
    Where’s the Optimism?
    Don’t*get me wrong.
    I like coach MacIntyre and his staff. I believe that they are recruiting players to fit their system, and coaching them up the right way.
    I do*believe Colorado is heading in the right direction.
    I’m just not convinced we’ll see the proof of it*in the win column this year.
    For Colorado*to make it to a bowl game in 2014, Buff fans are counting on CU winning at least two games on the road -*at Massachusetts and at California.
    A reasonable expectation. Colorado could – and should – be favored in both of those games.
    But then there is this annoying*reality*that the Colorado football program has posted all of two road*victories*… in the past six seasons (that’s a 2-31 record in true road games, folks).
    Can Colorado win two on the road, take down CSU in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, handle Hawai’i, and find at least two other home Pac-12 wins?
    Sure. As Coach MacIntyre puts it, Colorado this season will be trying to go 1-0 each week. The Buffs will go out and try and win each game, taking each week as it comes, and count up the wins and losses at the end of the season.
    I’d actually be happy if Colorado put up totals like Utah did in 2013 – 5-7, 2-7. The Utes were tantalizingly close in several Pac-12 games – a 51-48 overtime loss to Oregon State, a 34-27 loss to UCLA, a 20-19 loss to Arizona State – to go with a spirit-raising 27-21 upset of No. 5 Stanford.
    Would close losses be frustrating? Hell, yes. It would be agonizing to be that close to a bowl game, and still come up short.
    But CU has to get closer to the rest of the Pac-12, in both talent and experience,*before it can expect to start winning those games.
    2014 is all about being competitive. It’s about getting close. Knocking on the door.
    2015 can then be the season when the Buffs kick the door in …

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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