http://www.denverpost.com/woodysmailbag Woody: That was a great article on the embarrassing Buffaloes. What are the chances that CU looks at former All-America running back and current Minnesota Vikings assistant head coach for offense Eric Bieniemy to replace Dan Not-a-hawk-ins? — Derek, Colorado Springs Derek: I just attended an event last night with some prominent CU alumni, and I can report that Hawkins is losing more and more of his remaining (little) support every week, even with the victory over Georgia (a bad team). A very prominent I can't even give him a description because you'd figure it out person said that the Buffs HAVE to get a new coach, no matter the record this year, because of the move next season to the Pac-12. He said Hawkins might have survived if the Buffs stayed in the Big 12 one more year, but they must do it now. This guy swings a whole lot of weight. So I'm certain it's a done deal unless the Buffs win nine games (including a bowl), and I'm not even sure it would happen then. Hawkins has done nothing to endear himself to the big money people behind CU. It's almost as if he dismisses them as he dismisses those of us in the media. He is defiant to the end, like the cartoon of the mouse confronted by the bird of prey and nowhere to turn, so the mouse gives the raptor an obscene sign. I'm sure you've seen it. Reminds me of Hawkins. That was embarrassing Saturday night at Missouri. I was there. I was asked by some CU supporters outside the stadium if I had ever seen coaching like this. "Chuck Fairbanks," I replied. He lost to Drake twice, but I knew he couldn't coach at CU when I was with the Buffs at UCLA in 1980, and they didn't get a first down, I think, in the first half, after which they trailed 56-0, and UCLA coach Terry Donahue then felt so sorry for the Buffs he didn't throw the football once in the second half. CU will get destroyed at Oklahoma and Nebraska. You think Missouri and Cal were bad? And now he has all those injuries again on offense and defense. Plus, those delay-of-game, illegal formation and other silly penalties proved Saturday they are not well-coached. Here are the top five candidates for the CU job. I'm not making these up, and they are in no specific order, at this point, but go with this: Jim McElwain, Alabama offensive coordinator. He is not only a bright offensive mind (despite the loss at South Carolina), he is an excellent recruiter, will be a head coach soon (next season) and is funny, smart, easy to deal with, has the pedigree, has the background and experience and does not have Nick Saban's personality. Bill McCartney. He wants to come back. We know what he can do. He has lost faith in Hawkins like everyone else and is willing to try to bring the Buffs back. His wife's health is a lot better. Her serious health problems and his lack of attention at home were the reasons he left. She has gotten a good prognosis recently; his family (including his grandson, who is a backup quarterback at LSU), are grown, and he has the itch again. The question is: He's 70, and can he reconnect with the game and regain the recruiting edge he once had? Troy Calhoun. The Air Force coach has proven he can win, and he's great. He's proven what he can do at the Air Force Academy. Tennessee should have given him the job when the Vols chose Lane Kiffin. Calhoun can pretty much name his job around the country, and Air Force knows he won't stay there forever. Some CU people are concerned that there will be a negative response if they steal another coach (a la Jeff Bzdelik) from Air Force, but the academy will just go get another outstanding coach. It's better that Calhoun be kept in-state rather than losing him to some other big program. I think Calhoun is No. 1 on the list. Eric Bieniemy has a lot of support among the staff and some alums. But, honestly, he carries a lot of baggage from his days in Boulder, and he has never been a head coach. He has been away from the college game for a long time. Can he recruit? There's more support for him among longtime fans and former players than there is within the program and among well-heeled backers. The wild card always is Dave Logan, but his name is never mentioned within the program, and it is always wondered if he can do on the college level what he has done in high school. He certainly can recruit; there is no stronger CU supporter; he has the background in the pros; he has been a head coach for a number of years; and I think he'd bust his butt to win in Boulder, and would do it. He deserves more consideration than he gets. He has probably been hurt by not being around the program more lately (because of his coaching duties, his radio show and his time spent doing the Broncos games), but I can promise you he cares, and he cares not a whit about Hawkins, one of the reasons why he doesn't spend any time hanging out at CU. The next coach, next season, will come from one of those guys.