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CU@Game CU At The Game: “We’re No. 1(1)!!”

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    “We’re No. 1(1)!!”




    Twenty-five years ago, Colorado won the national champions. The Buffs went into the Orange Bowl as the defending Big Eight champions, and came away as the nation’s No. 1 team.

    Less than fifteen years ago, Colorado was again in contention for participating in the national championship game. Instead, the BCS computers somehow figured that Nebraska, which had not won its division much less a conference championship, was more worthy to face Miami for the title than Colorado, even though the Buffs had beaten the Cornhuskers, 62-36, just two weeks earlier.

    Just ten years ago, Colorado won its fourth Big 12 North title in five seasons. At the time, claiming “We’re No. 1″ in the Pac-12 North division didn’t seem to be all that much to crow about.

    But such cheers seem like a fantasy compared to what has become of the Colorado football program … a shell of its former self.

    To celebrate the 17-13 defeat of Oregon State, with the Buffs claiming the No. 11 spot in the Pac-12, sounds hollow when put up against the history of the CU program.

    Yet the win should not be taken lightly.

    The 17-13 win represents a small step in the progression of the program back to its former status as one of the top 25 teams in the nation.



    The goals for the 2015 Colorado team were modest.

    No one in the Buff Nation was predicting a national title, a conference championship, or even the crowning of the Buffs as Pac-12 South’s best team.

    We knew that a team which had won all of four Pac-12 games in four seasons in the conference would be hard-pressed to win four conference games in one campaign.

    Still, there were reasons for optimism as the 2015 campaign opened.

    Mike MacIntyre’s resurrection of the program at San Jose State was often cited as one of those reasons. MacIntyre had taken a moribund Spartan program, and had gone from 1-12 to 5-7 to 10-2 in three years. While no one was expecting ten wins in MacIntyre’s third season in Boulder, there was reason to expect some progress.

    The main goal for the Buffs in 2015 was a bowl game. With 13 games on the schedule, that meant seven wins … a daunting task. Then, when the Buffs lost to Hawai’i in the opener, that task became Herculean. Four Pac-12 wins were now required, even if the Buffs were to win its three remaining non-conference games.

    Going 4-5 in Pac-12 play after going 4-32 in such games over the past four years? Not likely.

    Since the opener, however, the Buffs have been able to take on its list of remaining goals, and have been able to check off some vital boxes:

    Defeat the teams you are supposed to beat … Colorado did allow Massachusetts to hang around for an uncomfortable quarter-and-a-half, but the Buffs did then turn a 14-14 game into a 48-14 win, going for 290 rushing yards in coasting to victory. Against Nicholls, the game was never in doubt as the Buffs took the opening kickoff and scored, posting 636 yards of total offense in a 48-0 blowout.

    A small request, asking your team to beat the teams is supposed to beat, but the Buffs haven’t been able to even do that in recent years.

    Check.

    Take down Colorado State, and shut the Ram fans up for the next twelve months … It wasn’t easy, as the Rocky Mountain Showdown went into overtime, but the Buffs ultimately prevailed, 27-24. Timely plays on offense, defense and special teams, against a rival on the field and a vociferous Ram crowd in the stands, gave the Buffs all the more reason to relish the victory. True enough, the Rams are not all that great this year (though they still might make a bowl in the ridiculously awful Mountain West Conference), but it is also true that CSU was coming off of a ten-win season, with Colorado coming off a ten-loss season.

    A modest request, asking your team to take down its little brother, but the Buffs have struggled to do that in recent years.

    Check.

    Not be embarrassed by the better teams in the Pac-12 conference … Losing all of those conference games over the past four years have been bad enough, but many of them were over before halftime. Colorado was not just losing Pac-12 games – they were being flat out embarrassed week-in and week-out. Lest we forget, in Jon Embree’s last season, 2012, the Buffs went on a stretch of seven conference games where the scores were: 42-14; 51-17; 50-6; 70-14; 48-0; 56-31; and 38-3.

    True enough, the Buffs were blasted a few weeks ago by Arizona State, 48-23. In the other two Pac-12 games before the Oregon State game, though, the Buffs were ahead of Arizona in the third quarter, and were tied with Oregon, 17-17, at the half.

    Not fantastic results, but when you note that the cumulative halftime scores in the previous four games against Oregon totaled 164-19 … 17-17 at the break was an improvement.

    Check.

    End the Pac-12 losing streaks, both overall and on the road … It wasn’t pretty. Colorado was just the least worst team on the field Saturday night in Reser Stadium. Both teams had moments of success. Both teams made silly mistakes and committed costly penalties. Colorado had the ball in the fourth quarter three times with the lead. One more successful drive and the game would be won. Instead, each time the Buffs went three-and-out.

    It wasn’t so much that the Buffs found a way to win the game as it was the Beavers couldn’t find a way to win.

    Still, a win is a win is a win. Colorado coaches, players and fans needed to stop hearing about not winning a conference game for two years and not winning a road conference game for three. They needed to be able to see national internet postings about Bottom Ten and Bottom 25 lists … and not wonder if there team was on them.

    They needed to be able to start looking forward, not back. The win over Oregon State allows for that.

    Check.



    So, what’s left on the 2015 to-do list for the Buffs?

    Colorado is now 4-4 on the season, a pretty nice looking record for a team which went 2-10 last fall. In theory, the Buffs could still go 3-2 the rest of the way, and still earn a bowl bid. That being said, four of the five teams left on the calendar have spent time in the top ten this season, so a strong November is probably not in the offing.

    As a result, the attainable goal left on the table for the Buffs is the same as when it was spelled out in ESPN’s “10 bold predictions for the Pac-12″ laid out back in September:

    9. Colorado will upset someone: The Buffs might not quite be at bowl-berth level yet. But they are good enough to put a scare into a few teams. And at least once this season, they are going to knock off someone that folks like us say they shouldn’t. I don’t know who. It could be a team from the South or North. But you need only to look at how close Colorado was last year to breaking through. This year, one of those close games will go the Buffs way.

    The Buffs are not going to be favored in any of their remaining games (unless Washington State suddenly decides to revert back to the team which lost to Portland State in the season opener, which doesn’t appear likely). A win over UCLA, Stanford, USC, Washington State or Utah would fit the bill as the upset the Buff fans have been waiting for – make that longing for – to get the Colorado program at least back in the same conversation as being on a level playing field with other Pac-12 teams.

    The “most consecutive conference losses” and “most consecutive conference road losses” postings have been put to bed, at least for now.

    The Buffs, with a little help from the Oregon State Beavers, are no longer the No. 12 team in the Pac-12 conference.

    We’re No. 11!

    Anyone up for No. 9 or No. 10?

    —–

    Stuart
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  2. Clean Undies

    Clean Undies Flagship of the 12-Pac Club Member

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