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CU@Game CU At The Game: “It Just Wasn’t Meant to Be”

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    “It Just Wasn’t Meant to Be”




    The 2015 Colorado football season opened with a blocked punt in a game played late at night in the tropics.

    The 2015 Colorado football season closed with a sack and a fumble in a game played on a snowy afternoon in the mountains.

    In between Alex Kinney’s blocked punt in the first minutes of the Hawai’i game and Jordan Gehrke’s fumble sealing the Buffs’ fate in the Utah game, the Buff Nation was led on a roller coaster of emotion, from hope to despair, from elation to frustration.

    The net result: a 4-9 season, the 10th-straight losing campaign for a program which, in its history, had never before endured more than six consecutive losing seasons.

    Yet there we were at the conclusion of the Utah game, hoping against hope, that when the Buffs took over at their own 19-yard line with 2:48 remaining, down 20-14, that this would be the game, this would be the time, that Colorado finally broke through and won a game it wasn’t supposed to win. A 5-8 record wouldn’t have sent the Buffs to a bowl, but it would have made the next nine months of waiting for the 2016 Rocky Mountain Showdown just a bit more palatable.

    But, deep down, we knew better.

    We had been through this many times in the past few seasons, only to come up short … every time.

    If we had a chance to look objectively at what we were asking of the Colorado offense in that final drive, we would have not have been surprised nor upset with the outcome.

    At quarterback was Jordan Gehrke, a career backup who had lost the number two position earlier in the season to a red-shirt freshman.

    Gehrke was giving the ball at the outset of the drive to Jaleel Awini, who opened the 2015 season as the starting strong-side (SAM) outside linebacker.

    Gehrke was being protected by an offensive line which had only one starter – center Alex Kelley – remain in his position as a starter through the season.

    Gehrke was keeping the drive alive by throwing to Bryce Bobo, who had exactly zero catches the previous two games, and who was averaging less than two receptions per game during the season.

    This was the patchwork Colorado offense looking for an 81-yard touchdown drive … on the road … against one of the better defenses in the Pac-12.

    Yet it is a testament to our belief in the progress of the team that we still believed – hoped – that the final drive of the 2015 season would end successfully.

    “It seemed like every game was a recurring theme,” senior wide receiver Nelson Spruce said. “Not being able to finish. … I really thought this last game with our seniors going off might be something special, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

    There will be much rehashing of the Buffs’ nine losses during the upcoming months:

    – The season-opening 28-20 loss to Hawai’i, a team which finished the season 3-10 and in search of a new coach, will be noted as the ringing of the death knell for the Buffs’ 2015 campaign … before the country had even reached the Labor Day weekend.

    – The 24-17 lead the Buffs took into the fourth quarter against Arizona, only to lose, 38-31.

    – The rally against UCLA in the Rose Bowl, with the Buffs taking a 31-28 lead after trailing 28-13 … only to fall, 35-31.

    – The 17-3 second quarter lead against USC, with the Trojans coming back to steal a 27-24 win.

    And then was the Utah game.

    Two trips inside the ten yard line on the first two drives of the game, only to come away scoreless after a blocked field goal and an interception. The four turnovers. The missed opportunities. The all too familiar walk to the locker room after another close loss.

    “I don’t know if ‘frustrating’ is even a word we can use anymore,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said.

    There plenty of other words – and phrases – which have been used up over the past two seasons to try and describe the status of the Colorado football program.

    Over the past two campaigns, I have posted essays with the following headlines:

    – “We can play at this level” – 38-24 loss to No. 16 Arizona State, 2014;

    – Learning What it Takes – 59-56 double-overtime loss to Cal, 2014:

    – “There Are No Moral Victories” – 36-31 loss to Oregon State; 2014;

    – “Just Keep Believing, and We’ll Keep Battling” – 38-23 loss to Washington, 2014;

    – Reading Between the Lines – 38-20 loss to No. 19 Arizona; 2014

    – Sisyphus – 48-23 loss to Arizona State; 2015

    – Shades of Grey – 38-31 loss to Arizona; 2015

    – Colorado’s “Glass Ceiling” – 35-31 loss to UCLA; 2015

    – “We’re Just Not Able to Finish” – 27-24 loss to USC; 2015

    And now, thanks to senior wide receiver Nelson Spruce, we have yet another clichéd headline to add to the list of frustration: “It Just Wasn’t Meant to Be”.

    There will be plenty of time to digest and debate the past 13 weeks of Colorado football. After all, there are 270 days – nine full months – before the September 3rd game against Colorado State.

    But it also won’t take long before we start looking to the future:

    – Will the coaching staff remain in tact? (Probably not, as special teams coordinator Toby Neinas and almost every other offensive coach not named Troy Walters appear to be on the list of coaches Buff fans wish to see replaced);

    – Will the Buffs be able to find six wins out of next season’s schedule? (Ten teams the Buffs will face next year will be getting in their extra bowl practices this December, with only Oregon State and Idaho State from the 2016 slate also done for the year);

    – Will Colorado be able to produce a decent recruiting Class? (Not according to any rankings. The CU Recruiting Class of 2016 is already set to be small – 14-16 likely – which means that, even if the Buffs were to sign a series of three- and four-star recruits, the Class would still be ranked well below schools who will ink Classes of 24-26 recruits on the first Wednesday in February).

    “We’re so close … so close,” said junior safety Tedric Thompson after the Utah game. “Everyone says that, and I hate it — but I’m saying it, too. But this team made a lot of strides and we have to have everyone buying it for next year. I’m mad the season is over — but everyone has to have that same attitude for next year.”

    Next year.

    Always next year.

    Cal, under Sonny Dykes, broke through this year, in year three of his tenure at Berkeley.

    Washington State, under Mike Leach, broke through this year, in year four of his tenure in Pullman.

    Perhaps next year it will be Colorado’s turn.

    Perhaps next year, the Buffs will start winning all of these close games they have been losing.

    Perhaps next year, the CU offense will have a dynamic quarterback who can lead the Buffs in critical moments, and have a defense which will rise to the occasion at the end of the game.

    Perhaps next year.

    All we know for certain it that it wasn’t this year.

    All we can say about 2015 is that it is over, and that Colorado finished with a 4-9 record.

    As CU’s record-setting wide receiver Nelson Spruce put it … it just wasn’t meant to be.

    —–

    Stuart
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  2. leftybuff

    leftybuff Iconoclast Club Member

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    Wasn't meant to be? It never is, it seems.
     

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