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A Groundbreaking Event

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, May 11, 2014.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    By Stuart

    [h=3]A Groundbreaking Event[/h]–
    Hard to believe it’s actually happening.
    But it’s real.
    In case you haven’t received your invitation to the CU groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, May 12th, here’s one for you:

    For Colorado and its fans, the ceremonial turning of shovels*is more than just a symbolic gesture that a $143 million project is officially underway.
    The hardhats and the smiles for the cameras also represent a turning of the page in the annals of Colorado sports history …
    … or at least we hope so.
    With the NFL draft this weekend, Colorado fans were reminded that not only are the Buffs behind the curve in terms of facilities, but in terms of personnel as well. Only Paul Richardson was given any real consideration as a CU prospect worthy of a draft pick*by an NFL team, with Colorado and Washington State the only teams in the conference with*just one draft pick.
    True enough, as Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News pointed out, there were as many two-star recruits taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft as there were five-star recruits.
    But neither Wilner nor anyone else is suggesting that programs can make consistent bowl appearances trusting two- and three-star players to regularly compete against four- and five-star competition.
    Simply put, Colorado needs to stop hoping for the best, and start expecting the best.
    It’s time for Colorado to look at its history, and see not what once was, but what can be again.
    I am as invested – both emotionally and financially – as most Buff fans. I also carry a passion for statistics and history that borders on (if you listen to my friends) the absurd.
    But even I am getting a little weary of dredging up the past to try and justify my allegiance and hope for the future. Colorado is mired in a program worst eight-season streak of losing seasons,*yet still*has enough history behind it to keep it in the national conversation when the history of the game is discussed.
    Some examples:
    - Colorado is tied for 4th in the Pac-12 in terms of all-time No. 1 NFL draft picks, with 22. In fact, Colorado is only two first round draft picks out of second place in the league (no one will ever catch USC, which already has 68). Johnny-come-lately Oregon has only 13 first round draft picks in its shallow history. But … The Buffs have had only two first round picks (Nate Solder and Jimmy Smith in 2011) in the past 11 seasons.
    - Colorado is 21st in the nation in all-time draft picks, with 266. That number is good enough for 4th in the Pac-12 pecking order, behind only USC (which leads the nation, with 487), UCLA (No. 15, with 300) and Washington (No. 17, with 281). But … It has been slim pickings for Colorado hopefuls in recent years. When Gary Barnett took over the program in 1999, there were 36 former Buffs active in the NFL, one of the top five highest totals in the country.*Five years ago, in 2009, there were still 22. At the end of last season, the total had dropped to 12.
    - Colorado (with 679) is in the top 25 nationally in all-time victories, third in the Pac-12 (behind only USC and Washington). The Buffs are also in the top 30 nationally in all-time winning percentage (.589), coming in 5th in the Pac-12. But … Just 15 years ago,*in 1999, Colorado was 16th on the all-time wins list, and 20th in all-time winning percentage (.619), so the slide over the past 15 years has been dramatic.
    - Colorado is one of only 24 schools in the history of college football to boast both a national championship and a Heisman trophy winner (and only one of three in the Pac-12, with UCLA and USC being the others). But … Colorado is only one of four teams on the list (Syracuse, TCU, and UCLA being the others) with only one of each, and it has now been 20 long years since Rashaan Salaam won the Heisman trophy.
    For fans – and recruits – who have notoriously*short memories, Colorado’s storied past means little.
    The Buffs’ 4-23 conference record since joining the Pac-12, conversely, means a great deal.
    Will the groundbreaking of CU’s expanded athletic facilities bring about a new sense of optimism to the Buff Nation?
    Time will tell.
    The Colorado athletic department, under new athletic director Rick George, seems to be energized to not just participate in the Pac-12, but compete for titles.
    Colorado has a “Strategic Plan” for the next three years, with some specific objectives: “The vision of CU Athletics is to be nationally recognized as a premier athletics program, by providing a world class and holistic student-athlete experience, operating in a fiscally responsible manner while consistently competing for and winning championships. Thus, the mission:
    - Provide a world class and comprehensive student-athlete experience by enhancing our academic, health and wellness, and personal development programs.
    - Achieve a significant improvement in the department’s financial condition by fiscal year 2016-17, focusing on operating efficiently and increasing total revenues through well-established and innovate initiatives.
    - To raise the level of competitive excellence for all 17 intercollegiate varsity programs to be able to compete for and win championships”.
    The plan goes on … “In order to achieve these objectives, one of the major areas of emphasis will be to develop and renovate facilities that will provide a student-centered experience, enhanced recruiting opportunities and create new revenue streams”.
    Will new facilities – or at least the promise of new facilities – put Colorado back on solid footing with recruits, and allow the CU athletic department to realize the above stated goals?
    So far, at least, the promise of new facilities actually being built (and not just the promise of them being built) is not swaying recruits.
    It’s still very early in the chase for the recruiting Class of 2015, but, so far, the Colorado Class of 2015 is shaping up much like the Colorado Class of 2014, and 2013, and 2012 …
    Colorado currently has three verbal commitments lined up to sign on with the Buffs next February. Linebacker N.J. Falo, defensive end T.J. Fehoko and offensive lineman Dillon Middlemiss are all considered to be solid three star prospects.
    Not bad … but the Buffs are*not keeping up with the rest of the Pac-12, much*less making up ground.
    CU’s Recruiting Class is currently rated as the No. 62*Class nationally by Rivals, 58th by Scout. Both services have Colorado rated as the No. 11 Class in the Pac-12, ranked only ahead of (traditionally) late-starting Oregon State.
    So, still much work to be done by Mike MacIntyre & Co. if Colorado is going to*be*on an equal talent level with the rest of its conference.
    Earth will be turned on Monday*just off the northeast corner*of Folsom Field.
    Colorado fans can only hope – make that expect – that the shovels will turn not only a few chunks of dirt.
    Colorado needs to turn the page as well.

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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