_________________________________________ This year, CU will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Buffs National Championship season. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Generally, my e-mails are pretty up-beat and optimistic. It’s time for a change. In June, CU announced that it was leaving the Big XII Conference and joining the PAC 10. And just like that, coming off a miserable 3-9 season, the CU fan base had new life, renewed hope and renewed energy. Playing future PAC 10 foe California in Berkeley this past week, CU began a week-long celebration of the move west. The top brass from CU started their road trip in San Diego last Tuesday and worked their way up the coast, stopping along the way to host alumni gatherings, generating excitement for CU and the new PAC 12. On Saturday, the CU leaders were welcomed by Larry Scott, Commissioner of PAC 10, and other conference leaders to usher in a new era for CU and the PAC 12. Then game kicked off and the Buffs came out looking like one of the most unprepared and poorly coached teams ever – penalties, turnovers, and generally sloppy play. After all was said and done, the Buffs were trounced 52-7, over 7,000 faithful CU fans and alumni who had traveled from across the country for the game left the stadium dejected and down trodden, while CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn, President Bruce Benson and Chancellor Phil DiStephano were thoroughly embarrassed in front of their PAC 10 peers. Four days later, there are 10,000 unsold tickets for the Buffs home opener against Hawaii, a day on which CU will honor Alfred Williams’ induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. All of the goodwill and excitement generated by the change of conference is gone. The calls to fire Dan Hawkins are deafening. A win Saturday may stem the tide a bit, but the writing is on the wall: it is no longer a question of “if” but “when” Hawk will be shown the door. Put me in charge for a day, and my answer to that question is “soon,” as in Sunday soon - win, lose or draw on Saturday. Leave the team in the hands of the coordinators and assistants, and name Bill McCartney interim head coach (if he’s willing, and rumors are that he is) for the remainder of the season. In the mean time, begin the measured and diligent search for a replacement to lead the Buffs to the PAC 12 era. There is no doubt that firing a coach mid-season is drastic, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And there are benefits to acting now: Every day that Hawk remains risks alienating more of CU’s fan base and donors. Dismiss him now and stem the tide of frustrated and angry fans. Cutting Hawk loose on Sunday gives the team two full weeks (the Buffs have a bye week before the Georgia game on Oct. 2) to process the change and regroup. Coach Mac is 70 and has not coached in over 15 years, so anything more than an interim position is a bit unreasonable. But there is no doubt that he still has the fire and remains a top notch motivator. Coach Mac has been around the program since Hawkins was hired; he is familiar to the players and coaches as well as the fans. If anyone can pick up the pieces, it's Mac. The assistant coaches, players, fans and donors hold Coach Mac in the highest regard. His presence will boost fan support and increase much needed donations to the athletic department and the University. Like other teams with figure-head coaches (Joe Pa at Penn State, Bobby Bowden at FSU before he retired), the actual coaching will be left to the assistants. Coach Mac’s primary job will be to reinstill a sense of pride and toughness among the players and reassure the fans that CU can return to the upper echelons of college football. Back to reality. As fans of the Colorado Buffaloes, we are gluttons for punishment. Despite the dreadful seasons we have endured, I still enjoy the company of my fellow alumni, whether we are singing the fight song after a CU touchdown or commiserating after another loss. Support your team, show your Buff pride, and be at the Penn Quarter or The Light Horse Saturday to witness the team’s bounce back as they put the whoopin’ on the Warriors! Wait, did Cal just score again?