Friday, November 18, 2016

College Football Playoffs Nightmare Scenario

The College Football Playoffs (CFP) have had it pretty damn easy the first two years of their existence come season end.  There are always these scary scenarios, but things tend to play out.  This year, the first two loss team is probable to make it in the college football playoffs.  Let's review the last two seasons simplistic:

In 2014, the four finalists were Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State.  The Big XII was left out due to having two 11-1 teams in Baylor and TCU and the conference naming them dual champions.  The committee favored the quality wins of the remaining Power 5 conferences and having a TRUE conference champion and championship game.  It was clean and simple.  TCU fans were livid, but the wins by FSU and OSU in their championship games allowed them to leapfrog TCU.

In 2015, despite only 1 Loss, Ohio State was left out of the CFP Final 4.  The committee had an easy choice with 1-seed Clemson and an Alabama and Michigan State team that had knocked off Ohio State and beat undefeated Iowa in a closely contested conference title game.  The question was whether Ohio State would leapfrog OU to get to #4.  The committee squashed that talk picking OU and favoring the 1-Loss conference runner-up in Iowa and jumping PAC 12 conference champion Stanford above the Buckeyes.  The committee favored the conference champion with quality wins over the runner-up that couldn't make the title game.

So what does this have to do with 2016, you ask?  EVERYTHING!  The CFP committee has shown that a conference champion is more well revered than a 1-Loss division runner-up.  In this year's CFP, there are still 11 teams vying for the CFP Final 4.  The committee will have their work cut out for them unless the teams remaining are Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington with no more than 1 Loss.  Here is a breakdown of the 11 teams by conference:

SEC (1)-Alabama.  That is it.  They are in unless something insane happens.  There is not another team in the SEC with any chance of making the College Football Playoffs.  Don't give me Florida, you crazy Gators fans. (1 bid)

ACC (1)-Clemson.  Clemson's finishes with Wake Forest and South Carolina and then likely Virginia Tech.  Clemson is in if they win out.  If they lose any of their games, they would be out and .  They would have 2 bad losses compared to many others. (0 or 1 bid)

Big XII - 2 (3)-Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia all have a shot as Big XII conference champions.  Oklahoma would have a 9 game win streak and have losses to Houston and Ohio State.  They would have ended with wins over 2 ranked conference foes.  They seem the most attractive if they win out.  But if 11th ranked Okie State wins out they will have won 8 in a row.  Unfortunately they have an ugly loss to Central Michigan and while that Loss was off a BS play, they lost and they lost to a very average MAC team and Baylor team on a 3-game losing streak.  Which leads to 14th ranked West Virginia.  West Virginia got handled by Okie State but has ran the table.  There is a reason they are ranked 14th behind (6)-2 Loss teams and a 3 Loss team, their schedule is even lighter than Okie State.  A win over their only ranked foe may or may not be enough over 2 Loss conference champs with a better resume.  The Big XII can blame themselves  if they get left out for not stepping up and becoming a legitimate conference by adding 2 or more teams to have a true conference champion.  At best they will get one in. (0 or 1 bid)

PAC 12 (2)-CU and Washington.  What, no Washington State or Utah?  No!  Utah lost to a Cal team that has to win out to make a bowl game and lost to Washington at home.  On the road, hurts less.  Washington State is done because of losing to an FCS school and a Boise State team that won't climb higher than 15th even if they remain with 1 Loss.  Washington is the easy school here.  They would have only 1 Loss if they win out.  They would have played in must win games to close out the season.  Right now, they appear to be in if they win out based off the committee preaching conference champion though they do have to worry a 2-Loss Big 1G Wisconsin or Penn State team would jump them.  Colorado is the dark horse, Cinderella story.  The fact they are being discussed drives some people nuts because they choose to focus on the past decade of CU and not today, CU is a good team and will be a great team if they win out.  CU will have faced a Top 25 Wazzu team, a Top 10 or 11 Utah team and Top 4 Washington team.  They will have won 7 straight with there last 3 being the toughest schedule to close out the season and their 2 losses will be over likely Top 10 Michigan (Top 2 if they win out) and Top 10 USC by the time the final CFP rankings come out.  No other team with two losses has close to that resume.  The Pac 12 is like the Big XII, hoping to get one in. (0 or 1 bid)

Big 1G (4)-Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.  What a shit show.  The Big 1G may have the most teams still in contention but the fact we are here shows that the two top dogs in Ohio State and Michigan each had a ridiculous loss.  Still they are both still in contention but The Game looms large.  The victor will more than likely be in the College Football playoffs *unless Michigan or Ohio State lose another game before or after.  Michigan will have had 2 losses in 3 weeks if they lose and despite beating a team like CU, the committee has factored in Division placement and a 3rd place Michigan would likely drop behind CU if they win the Pac 12.  Sad for CU haters and Michigan fans, but the committee proved their point last  year with Ohio State and would do it again.  Penn State needs Ohio State to beat Michigan or their narrow home victory over the Buckeyes doesn't look as strong or give Penn State a chance to be conference champions.  Right now, Penn State sits in 8th place above OU and CU because of their defeat of tOSU.  Their ass whipping versus Michigan and a loss to Pitt isn't enough to hold off the teams behind them from the Big XII without being an 11-2 conference champ.  Wisconsin is actually the best team everyone is forgetting.  They had narrow losses to Michigan and tOSU in consecutive weeks but have handled their business.  If they win out, they likely would leapfrog all 3 teams minus Ohio State and even then they would  be considered a better candidate than any Big XII or PAC 12 champ.  The Big 1G will get 2 in if Ohio State beats Michigan, it's that simple (1 or 2 bid).

As you can see, there are 2 guaranteed conference bids in the Big 1G and SEC but the other 3 Power 5 schools are hoping Michigan can hold court and knock off Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State due to quality of win/loss eliminating them.

EXTRA-Scenarios for CU to get in (0% to 100%)
If CU doesn't win out, they are done, simple.  It was fun to talk about.  Great story, but they weren't ready.  BUT IF they do, here is what they need to 100% get in and then other maybe scenarios:

1. Clemson loses, Michigan wins out (90%):  This would get CU in and likely OU or 1 Loss WVU from Big XII.  It eliminates Clemson and CU jumps Penn State over quality of Wins and Quality of Losses.  Better SOS, stronger FPI.  Stronger Game Control.  CU holds everything but the big win advantage.  That changes with winning out.  Ohio State as 3rd best team in own division does not get in.  The committee has shown they aren't in favor of this.
2. Clemson, Michigan, Alabama win out (65%): Colorado would have either OU or 1-Loss WVU to have to flip a coin with. OUs losses are slightly worse than CUs but they have longer win streak and close to same end of schedule wins.

There are many scenarios where CUs chances increase, if Oklahoma loses to either WVU or Okie State, if the Big XII beats each other up and WVU is best team of group with 2 Losses.

The best thing to happen for the Buffs would be Clemson loses a game, followed by Michigan winning out.  If one of those hings don't happen, CU is at best a 40% chance to make it in.  Buffs fans better wear their Jump Man gear along with their Buff gear to close out the season!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Colorado's Dream Season Has Fans Dreaming Beyond A Bowl Game

The initial College Football Playoff Rankings came out yesterday and much to the surprise of many outside the fan base, the Buffs landed at #15.  It doesn't come to the surprise of true Buffs fans and supporters that have seen this team.  The Buffs rise to this point has certainly been earned. CU has two road wins against programs they had lost by an average of nearly 3 scores since joining the PAC 12 and their home wins have been an average beat down of 47-9.  CU is ranked between 10 and 33 in EVERY major team statistical category.  Yet, the doubt and animosity towards the Buffs seems to be higher than ever.  But rubbing salt in the wounds of others is meant for Twitter.  This piece is to show where CU is and where they can still go from today.

CU plays the 25th ranked, 16th ranked and 5th ranked teams in the initial college football rankings over the last 4 weeks of the season.  If these 4 teams, including the Buffs, can hold serve, then all will likely be moved up a spot to 5-10 spots by the time the Buffs face them.  The main goal for CU is this, win every week and achieve what their initial goal was before the season... WIN THE PAC 12.  If the Buffs win the PAC 12 they are in the Rose Bowl... at the very least.  But the Buffs could still make the Rose Bowl if they lose to an undefeated Washington in the Pac 12 title game since Washington would likely be in the College Football Playoffs.  But CU fans have earned the right to dream big and the road for them to move into the college football playoffs is a fairy tale that would fit this season after 10 consecutive losing seasons for the Buffs.  How can it be done has been broke down by others, but I will give a more concise reasoning and show the path to the playoffs starting with:
17. Baylor and 20. West Virginia-If either team wins out, it hurts.  Both have awful losses in their last games. Either way, one will knock the other out on December 3rd.
14. Oklahoma-Oh, Big XII (-2), why do you do this to yourself?  If you had 12 teams and a conference title game, I may say sure.  Yet, Oklahoma could win out, but their substance of 10-2 would not be greater than CUs 11-2.  They do close out with 3 teams ranked 17-19 in the rankings but losses to a 2 Loss OSU (get to that later).  A loss to Baylor, Okie St or WVU in those last 3 would make it easier and only Baylor would be of worry.  Another Houston loss would hurt worse than USC loss.
13. LSU-They are about to get throttled by the #1 team.  Done.
12. Ped, I mean Penn State-A team that got throttled by a team CU played tough in Michigan and CU being conference champs would be a travesty if 11-2 CU doesn't leapfrog the Nittany Lions.  A loss to a Pitt team is also worse than the USC team CU lost to.  Ohio State at home in an electric game day atmosphere is not more wow than a neutral site win over a Washington team in my eyes either.  I believe CU leapfrogs Penn State if they go 11-2 over 10-2 PSU like the #6 team.
11. Florida-The Gators got beat by a Tennessee team that is now on a 3 game losing streak.  They also would have to beat Florida in SEC title game and get past LSU and FSU to end the season.  Won't happen.
10. Nebraska-When Ohio State whomps that ass this weekend.  Done.
9. Auburn-Has to play Alabama in last game of regular season.  3rd loss.  Out.
8. Wisconsin-The Badgers will likely finish ahead of Nebraska with a very easy schedule in their remaining 4.  However Wisconsin would have to play Michigan and a 3 Loss team won't hold water.
7. Louisville-What a cute story it is.  But I just watched Louisville scrape by against Virginia.  Unfortunately, it will take a loss they shouldn't have ahead.  This team is CUs biggest obstacle to move past. The hope is Houston plays to their level and shocks the Cardinals.
6. Ohio State-Sorry but a 2 loss team won't make it in if they aren't in their title game.  I even believe 10-2 tOSU is probably better than 11-2 CU but committee will have tough time turning away a team w/ CUs resume.  Penn State loss hurts big.
5. Washington-A 1 Loss Washington that loses to CU in the last week won't be chose over the Buffs.  Simple.  It would  be a complete joke and a reason the BCS computers were gone away with.
4. Texas A & M-The other big obstacle for the Buffs.  A & M likely needs to lose one of remaining games.  This despite a very average win over a crappy UCLA and average Tennessee team.

So how it breaks out is this:

CU needs for the 1-Loss teams to beat each other up and end up with 2 losses in WVU and Baylor.  It is likely that Florida, Nebraska and Ohio State will get that 2nd loss.  The other 2 loss teams with CU in Wisconsin, Auburn and LSU will likely add another loss to get to 3.  CU would have to hope for the committee to take all things into account to leapfrog Oklahoma and Penn State (or a Loss).

So the Buffs have 10 teams they likely finish ahead of based off likely losses and schedule taken into account, which leaves only Texas A & M and Louisville in their way.  We will see, but the best case  scenario I see for the Colorado Buffaloes is to end up 6th when the final rankings are out.

The Buffs need a lot of fairy tale things to happen, but for a team that was picked to finish no better than 6-6 by the most optimist of experts and no better than 8-4 by yours truly, there is at least a sliver of hope.  The best news for CU fans is this, they are bowl eligible and a win tomorrow against UCLA would guarantee their first winning season in a decade.  Anything more is just extra gravy on the plate.  Butchering a quote from the wise Ryan Koenigsberg, "Enjoy it Buffs fans.  We may never see another season like this!"

Note:  When Koenigsberg says this he is not alluding to the fact CU won't have a better year than this, but a season where such little is expected of them and every win and every week is just building on excitement, it will be impossible to match unless we have another 10 years of... STOP, JUST STOP.  Soak it in and enjoy it.  Sorry, salty haters, The Rise continues beyond 2016.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Double Dipping for Mile High Sports and Altitude?

It has been a while since I talked sports radio in Denver and I apologize because it is a damn mess and full of stories, so without further ado let's get to it.

Altitude Sports Radio 950 AM joined the Denver Sports Radio market in turn ending any possible opportunity for 760 AM to get out of the cellar of sports talk in the Denver market. So, once again any reference to 760 AM is pretty much ignored.  The real story is at Mile High Sports 1340 AM and Altitude and the conflict surrounding them.  104.3 FM The Fan continues to just put out the same crap that  the dense radio listener seems to enjoy.  They don't have a good show, simple.  They all have little life and are a constant motion of talking about the same Broncos football stories.  Armen Williams ruined that station for me.

So on to the subject at hand first, double dipping from Mile High Sports and Altitude.  James Merilatt is the President of Mile High Sports while also being the program director of Altitude Sports Radio.  Okay, fair enough but James is running a station as program director where his job is to pay talent to get ratings away from other competitors in the market.  This in turn is taking listeners away from radio talent that pays Merilatt for air time on the station he owns.  What makes this worse is that Merilatt appears to be a contributing member to the new line-up on Altitude from 7-10 am with Vic Lombardi.  He in turn has two shows paying him on Mile High Sports to compete during the timeframe he will be assisting Vic in trying to get listeners over there.  This almost feels a bit Nate Lundy taking the co-host seat with Mike Evans and the revolving bigger talent.

If I were paying good money to talk sports, I sure wouldn't want the guy I am paying to in turn drive down Speer Blvd and head to Colorado Blvd and try to take listeners away from me.  Fireworks are set to ensue if it is me and knowing how  hard the group at Mile High Sports works to try to get their brand out there and potentially earn more money/sponsorship money I don't doubt it will.  As a potential sponsor, the thought process for me would be why go with the guys paying to operate their show when I can pay a little extra to be with a brand known across the state with names people are familiar with in Vic Lombardi, Tom Helmer, Scott Hastings, Tom Nalen and Nate Kreckman and with a guy choosing to better that station while letting his hosts fend for themselves at the other station?

Mile High Sports doesn't have their station on billboards and full of advertising because that is not how it is ran.  It is ran by the employees paying their "employer" to build their brand and share their sports takes.  To pay for the luxuries other stations have like a picture next to a urinal or an I-25 billboard, the guys would be paying for that out of their pocket.  No other station in Denver is operating that way. It is nearly impossible to compete on a consistent basis when people I talk to are like, I don't even know that's a station.  Add to that that Mile High Sports has marketed itself as 104.7 FM for months but you can't even get the station on the dial due to a contractual conflict.  It sounds like two radio stations battling for air time like District 13 and Panem (The Hunger Games reference).

The mockery has become ridiculous with Merilatt flat out selling 950 AM by being on there making money while extending his gadget arms to Lincoln to take money out of the coffer from "his guys" at Mile High Sports.  As a person that finds conflict resolution fascinating, I wish I could by a fly in the wall in these conversations because I would be losing my shit right now, so to speak.  May the odds forever be in your favor Mile High Sports.  Let the Radio Hunger Games begin!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Coach Joe Tumpkin: Practicing What He Preaches

The fiery passion that you see on the sidelines or on the practice field from Coach Joe Tumpkin changes to a soft spoken, controlled demeanor in a one-on-one environment.  Coach Tumpkin was born in Detroit, Michigan but grew up in the Miami, Florida where he actually got his first taste of Colorado Buffaloes Football when the Buffs played Notre Dame for the 1990 National Championship.  Due to his grandfather’s time as a police officer, he was on the field in the corner of the end zone where Rocket Ismail had just taken the wind out of the Buffs sails with a dynamic punt return.  But the wind picked back up when that flag said clipping on Notre Dame and nearly 25 years later the winds pushed Joe Tumpkin’s boat to Boulder to help right a defense that had struggled prior to him joining the staff February 2015 with Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt.

Coach Tumpkin worked his way up the coaching ladder and to this chapter of his coaching career through hard work, studying of the game and learning plenty from his peers and mentors.  Tumpkin took the fundamentals he learned during high school and college to start his coaching career as a grad assistant coaching linebackers at Lakeland College despite playing defensive line in high school and college at Michigan Tech.  Tumpkin’s continued understanding of the game has come from talking to peers, going to people he knew that coached those positions and constantly learning from them and studying the game.  As his mother told him, “If you are going to be good at something, be good at it!” 

One of the #MyMomMonday Tweets Coach Tumpkin has shared
Coach Tumpkin’s parents were huge influences on his life, especially his mother.  His mother, Dr. Mary Tumpkin, passed away in November 2013.  Dr. Tumpkin was a beloved pastor in the Miami area (her word spread across many other areas of the world) where she started her church in the living room of her own home.  She helped make it grow to the point where a 22,000 square foot church, in Miami Gardens, Florida, was built to house the Universal Truth Center where she led more than 25,000 members.  Coach Tumpkin shares his mother’s words through his #MyMomMonday tweets to help continue the legacy she built and to pay homage to someone dear to him that he loves with all his heart.  

Coach Tumpkin chose to join CU’s staff after being offered the position but it was not made public until after signing day 2015 where Tumpkin finished out his duties at Central Michigan because as Tumpkin puts it his philosophy is to “finish what you started”.  Coach Tumpkin joined the CU staff after taking a Central Michigan defense that was ranked near the bottom 25% of college football when he joined the staff in 2010 and turned the defense into a Top 30 defense as the Chippewas Defensive Coordinator by the time 2014 season ended.  Tumpkin’s “ego is not too big” and the move from a coordinator in an FBS program to safeties position coach showed that.  Tumpkin’s main goal when coming on board was to help bring Colorado football back to where it should be.  Tumpkin pointed to the great defenses and players that have come from the CU football program and defense being a staple of what made CU a great football program and that being the place to get back to for this team.

Coach Tumpkin is on a staff with a head football coach that cut his teeth playing and then coaching secondary in Mike MacIntyre.  Coach MacIntyre, Coach Leavitt and the staff give each other suggestions to help each other reach the same goal of winning.  Again, the egos get checked at the door and it is solely about the staff coming together to relay the message Coach MacIntyre wants and that has shown on the field and in the words they all share.  Coach Tumpkin used the term “Players make plays.  Players win games.” which is a widely used phrase by Coach MacIntyre in “The Rise” series by CU Video.  That playmaking ability and winning games had been something CU just couldn’t turn the corner on.  Repeatedly during 2015 there would be a key play that would turn the tide of a game that Colorado had in it’s grasp to win, but missed out.  The players and staff saw something different in the Michigan game.  Despite similar results of losing a game they were in, players left feeling they truly let one slip away.  It showed the following week in Oregon that things had changed when that third quarter turning point and getting down against a team they had been outplaying all game ended with CUs offense answering the bell and then CUs defense closing out the game by not allowing Oregon to score their last 3 series and sealing the game with an interception in the end zone by Ahkello Witherspoon.  The “One Play and Clear” mentality showed and the need for critical plays to be made by everyone happened. 

Despite the score of 41-38, Colorado’s defense had success due to those stops, due to creating turnovers and holding Oregon scoreless in the 4th quarter.  Tumpkin shared his philosophy on why the game has changed from being how many yards are put on the board or how many points to eliminating opportunities and possessions; “The game has changed.  The spread is a modified option football but instead of creating one on one match-ups and spreading a team horizontally, they are doing it horizontally and vertically.  This creates seams where you are having to defend the entire field.”  But the fast paced offense and spread offenses are less of an issue for CUs defense due to the offense Colorado runs and tempo Mike MacIntyre runs his practices.  Despite the not measuring success on yards given up and points surrendered in today’s game, the success is showing in those areas and translated to CU being the 23rd ranked defense in yards per game given up overall and in passing along with 31st in points per game.  In 2014, the season before Tumpkin and Leavitt joined CU, the Buffs ranked 113th, 102nd and 120th in those areas. 

But how did CU get there in just two years?  Coaching has been a big key with CU definitely upgrading in these areas but Tumpkin says “The maturity factor of the football team with the amount of upperclassmen and the talent they have” is showing.  The three main contributors at safety that Coach Tumpkin works with are Tedric Thompson, Afolabi Laguda and Ryan Moeller, all three upperclassmen that have a drive to win, to get better and help this team win.  All three have developed to this point and that is the key Tumpkin sees with this program and how great programs are built, by constantly developing.  Tumpkin stated, “The two key areas to build a great program are Recruiting and Developing and keeping guys in your program.”  Despite the recruiting rankings, CU is proving they have recruited Pac 12 level athletes that needed the opportunity to mature and develop.  The same thing of everyone being on the same page as a staff came out in the same words Coach Darrin Chiaverini uses when Coach Tumpkin said “Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football.  Recruiting is about relationships.”  Those relationships built in recruiting turn in to what this program this staff and these players have built today, a program with a strong upperclassmen presence that is constantly developing.   Tumpkin’s relationships helped CU land two players in the 2016 recruiting cycle in their main freshman contributors in South Plantation (Florida) players Tony Julmisse and Johnny Huntley. While CU will lose over 20 scholarship seniors to graduation, they only lose two regular starters on offense in Sefo Liufau and Alex Kelley while losing eight starters on defense.  However, the Buffs return over 20 scholarship juniors for the 2017 season with many being regular contributors.  Tumpkin addressed this by saying, “The goal is to constantly have a core of 50 kids you are constantly developing in your program, so when you graduate those 15-20 seniors, it becomes next man up and you don’t have an issue...  The biggest thing is you can never be complacent.”

Coach Joe Tumpkin certainly has not been complacent in helping the programs he has been a part of continually develop that constant core of players and improve.  The things Coach Tumpkin has done as a coach and his approach and demeanor are what you see in a person that make you understand they are better than what they do despite their humbleness.  Coach Tumpkin has Power 5 level defensive coordinator or even a G5 level head coach written all over his resume and his ability and professionalism.  Like many other contributing factors, Tumpkin is just another reason Colorado football is back on the national map and why he most likely will have his name on the national map.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rocky Mountain Showdown Preview

The Rocky Mountain Showdown's 88th battle is just days away and with it comes the preview by yours truly.  Many CSU fans will hate on anything I predict, but all I can say in response with deep sincerity is: 

And on that note, let's take a detailed look at the school's headed into this Showdown.

Student Section
It's the annual test of whose student section can scream louder when on the jumbotron.  CSUs has a distinct advantage being in front of the highest area of the stadium where their screams for being on camera can get trapped in _____ @ Mile High Stadium while CUs student section is at the top of the South stands with emptiness behind them or at most a scoreboard.  It always sounds like CSU students care more and maybe they do, because this seems to be the game where each student section is more filled than either stadium can get on a regular basis.  CUs freshman may have the advantage of living on campus and a close walk but the trip to Folsom for many is no different than the trip to Hughes for many.  It is laughable that less than a five mile trip is so difficult for students that can somehow make a trek of 40 minutes to an hour and a half down to _____ @ Mile High Stadium.   Due to the noise advantage...
Advantage: CSU

Fan Section
This is a very tough call.  Both CU and CSU fans bitch about this game location but for every 1 regular season ticket holder of CSU that doesn't show, there are 3 CU fans that don't show.  CU season ticket holders said Hell No to the Denver game in Droves with roughly 30% forgoing their RMS tickets for tickets to a future CU home game at Folsom.  It showed in the final totals when CUs ticket sales were the closest they had been with CSUs in some time.  Let's be honest, CSU fans go ape shit over anything that happens in this game and momentum swings their way thinking I can't wait to talk shit to my CU friend/enemy, co-worker, etc. while CU fans are just praying the whole game they don't have to endear a full calendar year of CSU fans puffing their chest out.  Look at this year, CSU fans have come out of the woodworks the last month and are still doing so despite losing in 2015.
Advantage: CSU

Despite the praising of Mike Bobo as the next SEC star, the simple fact is the Rams finished 7-6 in an average conference despite a fairly experienced team minus the quarterback position and him in his first head coaching gig.

Mike MacIntyre is a shit coach that won't last through 2016 is what 95% of CSU fans will say and about 40% of CU fans.  If he loses this game, I will join that rhetoric.  However (spoiler alert) that will not be happening. 

Bobo done a great job closing out the 2015 season.  MacIntyre is in a prove it year with everything on the line.  Bobo is in a position to move up the coaching ranks if he can get CU to the crazy 9-10 Wins some delusional fans speak of.  Both are solid coaches that are in different situations and will do everything to get their team to win.   

Both have solid staffs with MacIntyre trimming the fat and CSU continually getting the most out of their players.  Marty English is a solid DC but their is a reason Bobo went and got a better DC last year in Tyson Summers.  
Advantage: Push

CSU Run Offense vs. CU Run Defense
Colorado State has ran for 484 yards or an average of 242 yards per game the past two Rocky Mountain Showdowns.  They have ran at will and dominated CU at the line of scrimmage repeatedly.  CSUs strength lies in their running game.  There is no ifs, and or butts about it that CSU has to win this battle to win this game and as last year proved, that still may not be enough.  The Rams return four starters along their offensive line along with my personal Public Enemy Number 1 in Paul Thurston, a local kid that decided to spend his first 4 years of eligibility in hell, aka Lincoln, Nebraska with the devil Cornhuskers and joined the devil's best friend CSU as a graduate transfer.  Their front line consists of (3)-5 year Senior and (2)-4 year juniors.

CSUs solid front blocks for a very solid 1-2 punch in backs Dalyn Dawkins and Izzy Matthews.  Dawkins is CSUs biggest threat and had two gains of 35+ yards last year in putting nearly 180 all purpose yards on the Buffs last year.  Matthews did not play on offense versus the Buffs but  had a very solid ending to the 2015 season and is a threat.

The Colorado Buffaloes defensive front has been beat up by CSU the last two years.  The Buffs do welcome back stonehenge Nose Tackle Josh Tupou and two senior 5-technique 3-4 Defensive Ends in Jordan Carrell and Samson Kafolvalu.  This will be the largest starting defensive line the Rams face in the Buffs base package.  While the Buffaloes typically are a 3-3-5 Nickel defense, the Buffs will most likely play a ton of their base 3-4 package against the ground attack heavy Rams.  The linebacker group for the Buffs is an experienced group with 4 guys that are Juniors/Seniors if Addison Gillam is on the field.  The fact is Gillam was the X-factor in the 2013 Rocky Mountain Showdown and was able to beat CSU sideline to sideline.  He played sick and underweight in 2014 and looked unprepared and then was out of the line-up by the time the 2015 Season came along.  Rick Gamboa returns as the Buffs leading tackler but his speed covering beyond the middle 4 gaps left a lot to be desired in 2015.

CSU Pass Offense vs. CU Pass Defense
Colorado State returns Nick Stevens at quarterback with a very talented true freshman that Coach Bobo is threatening CU with and veteran Georgia grad transfer Faton Bauta.  Smart money has Stevens starting since he was steady Eddy in 2015.  His biggest issue is his leading wide receiver is back-up Xavier Williams with only 19 receptions for 231 yards.  His starters at WR, Flanker and TE have career highs of 2 receptions for 20 yards as the best returning starting receiver. It is a simple shit show with talks of drops and a lack of talent after losing Joe Hansley and Rashad Higgins to the NFL.
Colorado's defensive strength rests in their secondary.  Chidobe Awuzie is a potential first two day NFL prospect at cornerback and safety Tedric Thompson has received extensive accolades tabbing him a low all conference selection and low round draft pick potential.  The Buffs return Rifle High School and former walk-on back to the starting roll at Free Safety after a moped incident ended his 2015 campaign short.  Moeller reminds me of one of my favorite Buffs of all-time in Steven Rosga playing with a reckless abandonment for his body.  The only non-starter returning is cornerback Isaiah Oliver whom will split playing time with Ahkello Witherspoon.  Witherspoon saw the field frequently for the Buffs while Oliver saw it in a more limited roll.  However you slice it, CUs pass defense is considered to be an asset.
Advantage: CU

CU Run Offense vs. CSU Run Defense
The Buffs have averaged around 130 yards a game the last two years and over 110 yards less than the Rams do.  While the incorporation of some of Texas Tech offensive concepts from Darrin Chiaverini will be seen in CUs offense ran over the last 3 years under Brian Lindgren, the simple fact is the Buffs have focused on exposing the secondary of the Rams.  In 2014 it destroyed the Buffs when they couldn't sustain long drives and let CSU repeatedly take advantage.  The Buffs have a solid RB coprs with Phillip Lindsay leading the group.  Donovan Lee converts to tailback after a stint at the Slash roll in 2015 and a group of 3 other talented back.  The line does have an indeterminate grade for their offensive line.  The Buffs return RS-Junior Jeromy Irwin at Left Tackle and talented RS-Frosh Timmy Lynott.  Alex Kelley anchors the offensive line in his third year as a starter.  All that said, this group starts a senior and three juniors with significant playing time.

Colorado State's run defense strength resides in linebackers Josh Watson and Kevin Davis.  Beyond those two, the Rams will trot out four new defensive starters with the group having a combined total of 32 tackles in 2015.
Advantage: CU slight lean

CU Pass Offense vs. CSU Pass Defense
The Buffs lose record holder Nelson Spruce at Wide Receiver but return junior Shay Fields, whom was a USC commit before flipping to CU, along with Bryce Bobo and Devin Ross.  The Buffs lost talented grad transfer, Juwan Winfree, to a devastating season ending ACL tear but add talented JUCO transfer Kabian Ento, man child true freshman Johnny Huntley and his South Plantation High School teammate Tony Julmisse.  Julmisse will mainly see playing time on defense but his talent will most likely allow for a package of offensive plays.  The ultimate decision in how great this Buffs team is much criticized quarterback, Sefo Liufau.  Liufau has bit his lip trying to help stir the Buffs into contention.  His season ended last year with a heartbreaking Lisfranc injury, but appears to be at 100%.  Love it or hate it, Sefo's performance will be meausre againt Cal quarterback and CU cock tease, Davis Webb.  Webb pulled a Cushman on the Buffs and chose the other guy.  But Sefo is in Year 4 as a starter, has his most experienced group around him and should be improved.

The Buffs also have the benefit of going against a defensive secondary that starts converted wide receiver at cornerback in Jordon Vaden.  The remainder fo the group has Tyree Simmons who appears to be the Rams best member of the secondary.  That said, their starting 11 consists of an average of a junior.  Still, the Rams have not had to face a pass offense like the Buffs in practice and will have to do something they have not done much of, cause turnovers.
Advnatage: CU

As the warm fuzzy feeling Rams fans had before the last three groups, there is more to it, SPECIAL TEAMS.

CSU vs CU Special Team Units
There is little question CSU has a stud at punter in Hayden Hunt whom is a Ray Guy finalist and finished among the finalists in 2015.  That said, the Buffs Alex Kinney continued to show marked improvement as 2015 wore on and will continue the solid line of CU punters.

At Kicker, both teams return kickers that left a lot to be desired in both the 2015 season and 2015 Rocky Mountain showdown missing key detailing record.

Coverage units and big returns always tend to favor CSU.
Advantage: CSU lean

The Buffs have a lot to lose in this game.  Without a win their bowl game aspirations are most likely over.  Colorado State still has their main priorities/goals ahead of them if they lose in making a bowl game and challenging for a MWC title.

Colorado is currently around an 8 point favorite.  Their average margin of victory has been 15.3 points while the game is played in Denver.  Minus the late 1990 games in Denver, CSU has an average margin of victory of 6.4 points while CUs are 13.75 point.

The game has seen 8 of 15 Denver games have been decided by two touchdowns or more with 6 of those 8 games going to CU.  CSU holds a 4-3 advantage if the game is decided by a touchdown or less with 6 of those 7 games decided by 5 points or less.

Colorado has over 50 Juniors and Seniors combined which is their largest upperclassmen group since CU destroyed CSU 41-17 in 2001 a year after CU had gone 3-8 and many teams left them for dead.  In 2001, they would go on to win the Big XII Championship.
Advantage: CU

Colorado has the most experienced team they have had in many years.  CSU has their least experienced team since Colorado beat them in 2013.  Colorado is playing as an upperclassmen group trying to cement their legacy like Bill McCartney's team in his 4th season going from 1-10 to 7-5 despite the questions and snickering of many that had counted them out.  Colorado's on The Rise and it starts September 2nd with an old fashioned ass kicking over the Rams.  It sounds right and I am not coming off my previous prediction, Buffs 41-Rams 20.  Go drink some Ram piss and cry back to Fort Collins Lambies!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

CU Football Remains Big Brother At Lowest Point

(Writer's Note: This piece is based off a click bait article trying to somehow claim CSU was no longer little brother and CU should be careful what they say and keep an eye over their shoulder.  I get it, it got my attention and I helped lead the way into some discussion in shaming it and the contributors to the article.) 
The Colorado State Rams do not like to hear about history.  Part of that history they do not like to hear may center around the Rams being 50 games under 0.500 as a football program.  Other reasons include the accomplishments of their BIG brother, University of Colorado, which are far too long to list here and which they hate to hear so they shall be spared which leads to what they hate more than 1990 National Champions or 2001 Big XII Champions talk (oops) being the 63-22-2 overall record CU owns in the “Rocky Mountain Showdown”.  To appease those that can’t stand history and only want to live in the current, let’s make it simple and only discuss the last 10 years.

The Colorado Buffaloes are on an eight year drought of not going to a bowl game and a ten year run of having a losing record.  They have won a total of 5 conferences games in the five years since joining the Pac 12 conference.  Their best conference record is a 4-4 mark in 2007, which is their only bowl season, and otherwise they have not had a conference record exceed the 2-6 mark.  The 2014 season was the Buffs first winless conference record since 1915 and long before many of our grandparents (alive and/or deceased) were born.  The Buffs have been futile, pitiful or any vulgar term for excrement you may want to use over the past decade.

In that same 10 year span, CSU has made 4 bowl games and is on a three year consecutive bowl streak.  The Rams turnaround started with the hiring of Jim McElwain.  From 2006 to 2011 the Colorado State Rams were 23-50 while the Colorado Buffaloes were 24-50 over the same timeframe.   The “domination” CSU hold over CU centers around the last four years where the Rams are 29-23 and the Buffs are 11-38 and the might 3 year bowl run.  That domination has not equaled owning the lowly Buffs with a 2-2 record in those 4 years or 1-2 in the past three. 
In the worse decade of Colorado football, the Colorado State Rams are 4-6 against the lowly Buffs.  So why in the world do the Rams think they no longer deserve the nomenclature of “little brother” when it comes to the comparison of the Buffs?  Does it remind them of their lack of accomplishments and history of being no more than a lower tier program and playing second fiddle to the Buffs?  The Rams haven’t won their own conference or division in the last four years even though this is their second longest bowl game run.  CSU deserves some respect for spending the money and getting quality coaches and some quality NFL talent into the program, but they are still losing to CU in the areas it matters most: On the field, on the recruiting trail and in the pocket book.  CSU has been overspending to try to make themselves appealing to a Power 5 conference and so far it has fallen on deaf ears.  CU has used a moribund football program and turned a profit in their athletics budget.  The Buffs have won 2 of the last 3 against the Rams and are heavy favorites to win consecutive games come September 2, 2016 which would be the 3rd time the Buffs have accomplished said feat in a 10 year span.  The Rams haven’t been able to win 2 games in a row versus the Buffs but once (1999-2000) in the past 65+ years.

But here is where the final dagger hits, recruiting.  CU has out recruited CSU even with the state of the Colorado program where it is at.  Maybe that’s what drives CU people a little batty to hear local media say ridiculous things like: CSU is considered big brother or “from a national perspective CSU is the flagship program in Colorado right now” when CU has done the things they are asking from CU in “a marquee signing” or to “Give us someone to watch!”   Colorado has landed 3 ESPN Top 300 Recruits for the 2017 class and the halfway point of January still hasn’t hit.  They landed a 4-star recruit in Beau Bisharat at the end of the 2016 recruiting cycle whom is higher rated than anyone on CSUs roster.  Come to mention it, the Top 5 recruits of CU last year after a 4-9 campaign was better than any CSU player that has suited up for the Rams in the past 6 classes!  Currently CU has 7 players in their 2017 class ranked higher than anyone in CSUs past 6 classes.  Math says that 12 is greater than zero!  If a program is to be considered a flagship school, then they could name what conference Colorado State plays in or top end recruits would choose to forgo playing in a Power 5 program and play for CSU.  The merchandise sales and national eye would turn to CSU instead of having to subscribe to some channel the average consumer can’t get without paying an extra $30 a month.  Fans, recruits and viewers center around the Power 5.  It’s simple, the only time a G5 school becomes even on the level of a Power 5 conference school is when they can play in the big time bowls.

While Colorado has to prove itself on the field, the truth is they remain the flagship program of the state of Colorado.  The 30 for 30 of Gospel According to Mac helped stoke the old flames and remind recruits and fans across the country that CU is a once proud program and that you can take a perennial loser and turn them into a national championship.  Oh, but that can only be done if you are big brother playing in a Power 5 conference.  Last I checked, the winner of the past 32 national titles came from a program that is affiliated with a Power 5 conference or is named Notre Dame.  CU can look over their shoulder and worry about little brother CSU when CSU can win their conference, land a top recruit and/or make a Top 10 bowl.  Buffs fans will enjoy both the past and present control they continue to hold on little brother.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Colorado Football: Buffs Recruiting Starts the Rise

(Note: In advance, thank you to Allbuffs community, The Ogre and others like Adam Munstertiger for helping me get some of the info I needed for this blog post)

For all the hate and pot shots for the Colorado football program and slightly deserved based off their 10 straight years of losing, the simple fact is the University of Colorado football program is on the RISE!  While wins must ultimately happen, the way to do more than hope for a bowl game and seek to eventually win a conference title is with better recruits.  Colorado has been recruiting at the bottom part of the Power 5 schools for at least the last 6-8 years.  That is probably why they have spent the past 10 years losing, but starting with the vision of the Champions Center at Folsom to the hiring of Darrin Chiaverini a switch has flipped in Buffs football recruiting.  Yes, the Buffs need to close on  them, but the simple fact is a commit from a Houston with two other Power 5 offers is only the third best recruit the Buffs have with commits from guys with offers from the likes of Alabama in Laviksa Shenault and other 4-star with over half a dozen P5 offers in Jaylon Jackson, the simple fact is the Buffs are on the rise.  The recruits for the 2017 class considering CU and putting them in their Top 5-12 list is something CU and especially the state of CO state hasn't seen since recruiting hype was in its infancy in the early 2000s.  For all the CSU love the simple fact is all 5 of their commits are higher rated than the Top 5 group the Rams put out last year (which CU also beat with a small class and a 4-9 campaing with their 2016 class)!

Here is a breakdown of the players considering (or that considered) Colorado and their position rank  according to Rivals:
Quarterback has been a void for the Buffs since... Joel Klatt whom fell into CUs lap after a minor league baseball career ended prematurely.  Joel Klatt is the last quarterback to take CU to a winning season and bowl game (don't give me Brian White whom filled in for the concussed Klatt) in the same year.  CU has failed to land any true blue chip quarterback and with as much respect as I can try to squeeze out of me, the simple fact is the group they have got in the last decade have not been Power 5 level quarterbacks.  Their current roster make-up shows it in the lack of Power 5 offers outside of CU.  MAYBE they had offers that went away when they committed or ones that didn't get reported or posted online, but the simple fact is they don't have a great offer list.  That may be why CU fans clamored at the proposition of having Davis Webb and Sheriron Jones commit within a month of each other and are still begging to FINALLY get that signal caller.  It appears the Buffs have a very legit opportunity to finally do so.

Tyler Lytle (21 PRO)
-Lytle has offers from a dozen Power 5 schools.  Education seems to be important to him with him strongly considering Ivy League schools.  His announcement could come any time.  He is thought to be a strong Buffs lean and while he hasn't announced a Top 4-12, he simply seems to like what the Buffs are telling and selling him.
Jack Sears (11 DUAL)-Sears appears to be strong Westwood lean but has kept CU on his short list.
Tate Martell (1 DUAL)-Martell is committed to THE Ohio State but had the Buffs listed among his Top 5.  Martell having CU in his Top 5 with the likes of these programs is just one of the examples that CU is rising up the charts for recruits like a Taylor Swift song after another break-up.

Wide Receivers
Commits: Laviska Shenault (50) & Jaylon Jackson (36)
As noted in the intro, both of these guys had the choice of going to numerous other Power 5 teams but chose to come to CU.  With the fast paced, receiver friendly offense CU is planning to run, the desire to come to Boulder increases.  CU will have 4 WRs that were a 4-star ranking including these two and Shay Fields and Juwan Winfree come 2017.  The list looks like it won't stop growing.

Tight End
Tight End is under utilized in this system to date, but the Buffs do have big play ability when they use the tight end.  They also haven't had a recruit with the accolades of Josh Falo.

Josh Falo (8)-Falo is the brother of NJ Falo (suspended Buff OLB/DE).  The Falo family LOVES Mike MacIntyre with a previous family member playing for him at Boise State.  Falo  has been pretty mum on where he intends to go,  but has CU among his top few by all accounts.  He is a kid that could play the George Frazier roll and be utilized on both offense and defense if he does come to Boulder.

Defensive Tackles
Other than Inside Linebacker and Offensive Line, the defensive line appears to be the area the Buffs are going to be void of depth the most headed into 2017 and will need an immediate impact player here.  Right now, the Buffs have put themselves into an interesting position

Greg Rogers (9)-Rogers is a man child at 6'-4" and 305 lbs and ranked among the Top 10 DTs in the country.  He is part of a very talented group of Las Vegas recruits the Buffs are in on.  His Top 6 below shows CU sticking out like a sore thumb compared to the success in recruiting and on-field.  To be included in that list is similar to Martell having CU listed.

Damion Daniels (19)-Daniels hails from an area the Buffs now have three of their commits from, Texas!  He is also a large young man at 6'-2" and 310.  He is at a dozen that he can't choose from but the Buffs are listed among SEC, Big 1G and Texas.  At least CU is considered above UTSA but to make a short list with nearly two dozen top Power 5 schools is no small feat.

Noah Ellis (35)-Ellis is bigger than the two guys previously mentioned at 6'-4" and 315.  He is a local kid from Valor Christian.  A school that CU has failed to gain much traction.  Part of the difficulty may be Valor opened and was an immediate power and CU has been at the lowest it has over that span.  Ellis seems to be fairly open right now but his offer list includes Alabama and many other Power 5 products.

An area of great need for both the middle and outside positions.  The Buffs lose Kenneth Olugbode and are still unsure of how healthy and what impact Addison Gillam will have after two consecutive injury riddled seasons after a promising freshman campaign.  The Buffs have offers to multiple guys, but not a lot of talk here other than a very big name:

DeAndre Wilder (28)-Wilder is an OLB prospect from Florida that can pretty much choose where he wants to go as evident by his Top 11 (LSU isn't being shown on here).  Wilder is the perfect 3-4 OLB pass rush specialist the Buffs could use.  Maybe him having CU on his back is some crazy metaphor for helping put the Buffs on his back.  Coincidence?!  Probably!To continue the pipeline to Florida established last year will require a heavy amount of Jim Leavitt pressure and love.


Historically, the Buffs have placed many players from in the NFL and appear to have two in Tedric Thompson and Chidobe Awuzie that will help end the Buffs drought of two years without a player picked in the NFL Draft come 2017.   It appears they have a great deal of interest from players maybe looking to add their name to the list of Thorpe winners at CU.

Alex Perry (16 CB)-Perry is part of a foursome from Bishop Gorman that have offers from the Buffs.  Perry seems to have really enjoyed his visits with CU.  He has family that lives in Parker and he appears to have the Buffs among his favorites and may have helped open the eyes of some of his teammates.  His offer list is littered with Pac 12 and Big XII (-2) offers
Bubba Bolden (20 S)-Bolden is a verbal to USC but has said he will visit Colorado and appears to not be 100% sold on USCs commitment to him.  CU will probably look to get the Las Vegas group out on an official as a group and try to sell CU to them
Michael Lee (28 CB)-Lee recently committed to Kansas with offers from across the country and Power 5 programs.  Kansas landed a close friend and appears to pulled off quite the package deal.  CU was part of his Top half dozen schools prior to his commitment.
Trajon Cotton (Unranked)-I put Cotton here because CU was Cotton's first offer and showed their desire to have him long before Cotton started gathering offering by the bundles this off-season.  He has offers from a dozen Power 5 schools in less than a 5 month time frame.  Cotton seems to get along well with other Buffs recruits and has been talking up the Buffs.  Cotton appears to  be very tied to Josh Falo but seems to truly love what the Buffs have to offer.

The list above is simply the guys that are highest rated that over the past decade had ignored CU.  There are areas of great need at position groups that definitely need to pick up that have been lacking in Power 5 level ability (i.e. offensive line minus Tim Lynott) but the guys above were few and far between and instead CU has a legit shot at over a dozen guys that would previously turn a blind eye to the Buffs and certainly not have them in their Top 5-12 group with the likes of OU, Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, USC, etc.  The tide appears to have turned!

The question has many layers to peel to get that answer, kind of like an onion or as Shrek may say like an Ogre!  But we will start with the easy ones:
Facilities-There is no understating how big of an impact the Sustainable Excellence Initiative which encompasses the Champions Center, Indoor Practice Facility, Dal Ward renovations and Touchdown and Champions Club seating in Folsom have done to lift Folsom Field from a beautiful stadium in a gorgeous setting to a top of the line, state of art, incomparably beautiful stadium in a gorgeous setting. Boulder is stunning, the views from the east side of Folsom are unmatched in college football but CU sorely lacked facilities that compared to the top 80-90% of Power 5 schools and were noted amongst the worse in the Pac 12.  The script appears to be reversed with only Oregon being mentioned above CU and not by far with a much more economically friendly budget (the weight lifting platforms are made of teak???!!).  Colorado Football no longer has to slide down the hill from Folsom Field locker rooms to  get to their practice facility but can now practice on the Folsom adjoining Franklin Fields or Indoor Practice facility.

Recruiting Mindset-While Troy Walters was a very solid recruiting coordinator and coach, the work that Darrin Chiaverini did in two months on the job was enough to take an ugly looking class in 2016 to a respectable one by helping get 4 of CUs Top 6 2016 signees in the last month of recruiting.

The Buffs are more social media savvy/active and it all starts with Chiaverini.  They appear to be offering higher ranked players, that they wouldn't even attempt to go after in previous years, while waiting on the lower rated guys/guys without another Power 5 offer.  In fact, out of over 200 offers less than 10 of those have no other Power 5 offers and a few from that group appear to be package deal types with a higher rated teammate.

Getting over the hump-Talk is cheap and ten consecutive seasons of losing has tested even the most patient and apologetic of fans, but the simple fact is this, CU has visions to make improvements no the field that started with funneling money into the program from boosters to recreating a completely broken down and over matched football program.  The Buffs have changed that appearance playing teams competitively after being blown out in the first couple years under Mike MacIntyre.

The timing of the release of the Gospel According to Mac, the Champions Center completion and blending the tradition of CU with new age technology and vision have culminated in the next generation of football players that look back at those classes Bill McCartney pulled in and said "We are the pieces this program needs to be great again!"

Thursday, June 9, 2016

CU and CSU Athletics Dramatic Changes

The 2011 and 2012 College Football Seasons for the Colorado Universities (University of Colorado and Colorado State University) may be some of the darkest days the state has seen from their football programs since the early 80s or possibly ever.  By the time the 2012 season had ended, CU had gone a combined 4-21 and CSU a combined 7-17.  Both programs had seen attendance reaching lowest levels.  The annual Rocky Mountain Showdown pitting the two schools between the two programs was only selling less than three-quarters of the tickets and actual rear ends in seats probably two-thirds of  capacity of Mile High Stadium.  They were both getting beat bad against better opponents and fan moral was near an all-time low. The programs saw something occur during that off-season that changed both programs for the better:
  • University of Colorado fired Coach Jon Embree and brought on Coach Mike MacIntyre and summer of 2013 fired Mike Bohn and brought in Rick George.  These move laid the groundwork to establish a true structured football program with a coach that had worked his way up the coaching tree to be in MacIntyre's position and strategy by Rick George to raise more money for the athletic department in less than 3 years than CU had raised in a full decade to help finance improvements in the athletics facility.  
  • Colorado State began laying the groundwork for a bowl season in 2013 with Jim McElwain running the football operations and Jack Graham spearheading an aggressive Power 5 level spending plan to bring in high quality coaches/improve athletics and to build an on-campus stadium to replace the dilapidated, dated and inconvenient Hughes Stadium.
The work the two schools did paid off big-time in 2013.  

Colorado State had a solid 8-6 football season with an exclamation mark comeback versus Pac 12s Washington State in their bowl game.  It got CSU fans re-energized for the program moving forward.  Additionally, that work combined with the effort/vision of Jack Graham and Tony Frank helped CSU begin putting together plans to develop an on-campus stadium.  While Graham was excused from his duties during 2014 and the on-campus stadium hit a snag, full approval of the on-campus stadium was reached at the end of 2014.

CSU followed their 2013 campaign with a 10 Win 2014 campaign and the above approved on-campus staidum.  While CSU lost the services of Jim McElwain to the football rich University of Florida, CSU hired a solid replacement in Georgia Offensive Coordinator whom helped lead CSU to a bowl game in 2015.  Additionally, the on-campus stadium utility installation began in 2015 with the groundbreaking lining up with the start of the 2015 season.  The visible load bearing foundation structure began late football season and current day has already seen a large section of the west infrastructure completed. 

Colorado State's spending on athletics and overall vision has paid off.  Recruiting has improved and their overall sports program has seen some of their best years of competition in history.  Additionally, CSU has positioned themselves to gain the attention of what they ultimately need to sustain the spending on athletics they have: A Power 5 conference!  The Big XII (-2) may say they are comfortable with their 10 members but the simple fact is they are looked at low in the totem pole in college football Power 5s due to their small conference numbers and lack of adjusting.  Everyone believes the Big XII will eventually expand but they seem to be taking their time to make a decision with any changes most likely not coming until 2017.  Colorado State has a solid overall athletic department, a solid local alumni base and are throwing themselves at the Big XII like the conference is Derek Jeter.  Their plan has been aggressive and sunshine pumping, but CSU hasn't sat back but looked forward to improving their position in the college athletics arm race.

University of Colorado
Colorado Football is just starting on Year 4 of life after Mike Bohn.  Mike Bohn was good at being a politician for CU but was awful at focusing his attention at the three most vital areas (The 3 F's) in college athletics: Fundraising, Facilities and Football.  He missed the mark heavily on these areas and helped to set CU back further than the hole the awful hires of Dan Hawkins and Jon Embree could do.  It's tough to recruit when you don't have money coming in to the program, losing regularly (sorry getting demolished) and have facilities that are at least 10-15 years out of date compared to your competition.  Rick George instantly tackled the two areas he could instantly attack to hopefully help the third improve in that aggressive fundraising plan that help improve the athletic facilities.  The Champions Center, Indoor Practice Facility and Dal Ward Renovations have already paid off even with the football team still not turning the corner in the all important Win column.  While CU has spent the past decade settling for 2-3 star recruits, the 2017 class already appears to be promising with 2-4 star commitments, 2 top in-state commitments and numerous 3 and 4 star recruits with multiple Power 5 offers strongly considering CU.  This class has the potential to be the type of class for Mike MacIntyre that Bill McCartney got in 1986 following his first bowl season and showing he wasn't just hot steam after going 7-25-1 to start his tenure.  The fundraising has hit unprecedented numbers and along with the facilities it appears football is rolling.  The athletic department continues to see success in their traditional powerhouse like skiing and cross country while having a NCAA tourney level team directed by the great Tad Boyle.

2016 to 2017 could be the launching point for both programs and complete opposite of .  Colorado State will be opening the new on-campus Sunny Lubbick Stadium at "Corporate Sponsor" in 2017 and are trying to continue their run at bowl games.  If that happens CSU may need to hope the Big XII gives indication they will add them or CSU may be eyeing a second head football coaching change in a 24 month period with Mike Bobo looking to move back into the Power 5 but as a head coach.  If CSU can manuever their way into a Power 5 conference, their spending will finally match the conference they are in and allow them to improve their athletics further and instead of being considered little brother will have to be looked at as an equal to Colorado.

Colorado meanwhile has visions of a bowl game.  Fans are torn on this after a decade long string of losing seasons and a lone bowl game in 2007.  Their hope is low, but the recruiting edge would finally pay off with a bowl game and the improvement in facilities allowing CU to go from a doormat that is happy to win a conference game and beat "little brother" CSU to a competitive Pac 12 program that earns more than respect from improving but earns Wins!

The next 15 months leading up to CSU opening their new on-campus stadium may be the most important 15 months these two programs have seen and the best chance these programs can get to where they need to is by winning.  Either way, there is no doubt that both Colorado and Colorado State have not been sitting back idly but attacking the arms race in college sports with great fervor.  Here's to a 2016-2017 campaign that sees both programs continuing on their improvement and attaining the visions laid out within the past 3 years.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Colorado Football: Shit or Get off the Pot in 2016 QUICKIE

NOTE/CAVEAT: This may be the wrong time to put something down online, but I am not a recruit or looking to get hired and if Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential Candidate can say whatever he feels like, I might as well be able to!

The loss of Davis Webb is a blow to the program no matter how you slice it or dice it with your Ginsu knife.  The simple fact is the program had Sheriron Jones and Davis Webb committed as Buffs and have lost both in one off-season.  Sheriron Jones loss can be made up for with a stud QB commit for the 2017 class, but Davis Webb loss hurts immediately.

Why does it hurt?  First, Davis Webb has beat a Pac 12 bowl team, something NO ONE on the CU teams roster has done.  While Webb's numbers show a quarterback that has also made mistakes with the football, he provided a dynamic this team needed, confidence and a gunslinger background.  Sefo Liufau is not 100% coming back from an awful Lisfranc injury that is known to make players never the same again, i.e. see the end of Champ Bailey's career or Peyton Manning having no zip behind the ball with a bum arm and not enough drive off his foot.  The Buffs lost a back-up quarterback in Cade Apsay and have the same cast returning.  Jordan Gehrke is not a Pac 12 level QB and most likely wouldn't even start at Northern Colorado.  Steven Montez still needs to grow into his body and his spring game showed me a quarterback not ready to play at Pac 12 level speed quite yet.

Even if Sefo is healthy, there are two huge issues depending on Sefo:
1.  Can his body stay healthy another full season since he has no quarterback that looks ready to play at Pac 12 level?
2.  Is Sefo good enough to double his 2 Win Pac 12 total in one season in order to get the Buffs to a bowl game?

That last answer regardless has to be YES or else the Buffs are looking at yet another head coaching shake-up.  Look, I love Mike MacIntyre.  He is a man of staunch FAITH and has helped bring a more positive environment to the football program and been able to run the program better than the previous two staffs and really cared about these young men.  BUT... Mike MacIntyre HAS to start getting Wins.  It's simple.  This isn't youth football where you are just trying to make the team learn basics and improve, the only improvement and overriding factor in college athletics, especially at the FBS level is wins and making bowl games.  The Buffs have 1 bowl game and 10 consecutive losing seasons over their last decade of football.  That shit doesn't get it done for any Power 5 team, especially a team that has a tradition of wining.  Rick George didn't hire Mike MacIntyre but the fact he didn't fire him after a 2-10 campaign and 2-25 Pac 12 record last year shows you that he has a belief that Mike MacIntyre can right the ship and be the answer.  But a belief ends quickly if it is proven false repeatedly and after four years as the Buffs head man after 2016, there is one simple measuring stick Rick George will have, did the Buffs make a bowl game?!  Even then, that may or may not be enough.

The truth is the Buffs are a better team, but no matter how much a pretty picture is tried to be painted that Sefo hasn't been the problem, the long droughts of inept play or boneheaded mistakes have kept the team from scoring enough to win in the Pac 12.  Washington State fans didn't give a shit their defense gave up an exorbitant amount of points because when it came down to it they had the offense to go toe to toe and answer every shot their opponent threw.  The Buffs have to have the same in 2016 and that means either improved play by Sefo or another quarterback.

Mike MacIntyre has no option, he must do what it takes to win now because the honeymoon ended the second CU lost to Utah to complete the 2015 season, it's time to shit or get off the pot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

104.3 The Fan Continues Downward Spiral: Where's Sandy Clough? Welcome to Altitude 950!

It has been over a month since Sandy Clough was on-air for 104.3 The Fan in Denver.  Since then, "filling in" for Sandy has become a regular theme.  Fans of Sandy Clough have been clamoring for his return or at the very least an update on his status.  The simple answer to Where in the World is Sandy Clough.  From what I have gathered is the station itself is not sharing what is going on and may not know exactly what is going on themselves.  It appears Clough's departure is equal to a song opening for one of his segments and has left both Sandy Clough fans and his stations co-workers "In The Dark"

The vagueness of his departure has led many to speculate on what is going on from illness to rehab to even my own bad jokes of Clough being brought back eventually but like Bernie of the 80s movies Weekend at Bernie's:
While Clough has regularly been known to not be my cup of tea, the simple fact is I respect Sandy's knowledge and true hard work and old school approach to the profession.  Clough's knowledge is lacking in the Denver Sports Radio and his diverse sports abilities are missed when his own station has taken the approach to focus all efforts on the Broncos coverage.  The Fan had the opportunity to present a solid short term replacement in the likes of a young Sandy Clough type protégé in Ryan Edwards and bring back his counterpart in Shawn Drotar and/or James Gomez but instead brought in the cackling hen voice of Charles Johnson.  I love CJ as a Buff but he just isn't very entertaining.  I will say Clough didn't have to work with Brandon Stokley for a week while at the Final 4 and realized how much better his show was without him and he can't stomach the thought of having to share the radio with such an imbecile.  The Fan could simply say Sandy Clough has taken a temporary leave of absence and they are unsure of his return but hope to have him back as soon as possible.

The Fan's mistakes don't stop there with 104.3 The Fan now wasting an hour of their time replaying Stink and Evans.  That is now four hours of sports show replay that The Fan puts on-air between that and the replay of The Drivel, I mean Drive.  It is lazy and shows a complete disregard for their fans.  If anyone can stomach listening to the same thing twice in one day, then they are simply void of the necessary brain cells to function in life and not a surprise that they have  been brainwashed by some subliminal message 104.3 The Fan puts on-air.

I won't rehash it too much, but The Fan put together a great line-up and diversity in their programming that presented hope that even with 105.5 FM ESPN going off-air and The Fan's sister station 1600 AM absorbing ESPN that The Fan would become strong, instead since March all I have seen is one bad mistake after another from canning their two diverse shows (Shawn Drotar and Ryan Edwards and their Fan Late Night 2.0 with James Gomez and Joshua Dover) to leaving fans and employees in the dark on what is going on with Clough.

All these changes have pushed a lot of listeners to turn back time and return to The Fan's old station 950 AM and tune into the month old Altitude Sports Radio.  Altitude Sports Radio came on with a bang starting their first show on opening day and have hit the ground running. 

I have been impressed with their pairings.  The stars are no doubt Vic Lombardi and Nate Kreckman, but the entire cast is actually a very solid one put together by Will Petersen and James Merillatt and their balancing act of running two radio stations. 
6-7 am: Joshua Dover bats lead off.  His show is mostly a scoreboard recap and while I have shouted from the mountain tops about my love for Dover's sports radio abilities, I feel like this format holds him back from being his best.  I would prefer he be allowed to freestyle and do what he does best.
7-10 am: Tom Helmer and Scott Hastings with Lauren Gardner.  Honestly, Lauren has made this show more entertaining.  I initially thought three voices and a female I  have heard/seen very little from was a bad choice but Lauren adds another dimension to the show I like.  It is vast discussion of topics you will get on this show and some may just be Ditch Date Prom Guy for an hour, but you will at least get a laugh in.  I tend to flip the dial to here when my main show Morning Mayhem with Cello Romano & Danny Williams is on commercial or lacking their own focus. 
10-1 pm Rich Eisen national: I can't get into it.  I like Eisen a lot but it is a 3 hour tour of trying to find what I want to listen to between the very talented and undervalued Sports Guy Mike show.  His work is strong and sorry but Cecil Lammey is meant for specific times of the year, football season and the weeks leading up to it with some occasional draft talk.  This constant breakdown of positions is scout talk and while I love scout talk, it doesn't make for the most entertaining May sports discussions.
1-4 pm Vic and Kyle with Vic Lombardi and Kyle Keefe.  Kyle Keefe needs to grow on people but I have been waiting for this pairing since Keefe's Horace Rhemy impersonations were unearthed when Vic was on The Fan.  These two are the spinoff of Vic and Gary like Van Halen was when they switched to Sammy Hager from David Lee Roth.  These two are great and allow me to fill an hour of emptiness from 1-2.  From 2-4 pm they battle the dial with the late day breakfast of champions in The Big Show with Benny Bash, Benjamin Allbright and Kent "Toast" Erickson. 
4-7 pm: Nate Kreckman and Tom Nalen.  By far the best option for a drive home and when taking that early evening bathroom break, these two are the best Denver has to offer.  The only time my dial wanders is during commercial break.  Simply put, if you are too lazy to give the show more than 5 minutes, you are most likely listening to replay radio on 104.3 The Fan and wasting brain cells.

So I have been asked, do I hate 104.3 The Fan?   No,  but in fact their best talent are their producers and fill-in host Ryan Edwards.  Their on-air talent is the weakest in the Denver sports market right now.  At every time slot The Fan has live radio their is a better option or TWO better options for the listener.  Ask more from your radio than sticking with what has been around the longest or what is on currently on top.  With that reasoning, we should all tune in to Drew Soicher and think Woody Paige and Mark Kiszla are the best sports guys in the business.  We all know that the only people that think that are those 3 people and Big Al & D-Mac listeners.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Colorado Football on RISE with Chiaverini PLUS Rick George Bonus Edition

In just over four months, the impact that Darrin Chiaverini has had on Colorado Football in his second go around in Boulder (this time as a coach after his 1995-1998 playing career) has been immense and yet he has another four and a half months until he coaches his first game for the Buffs. 

Chiaverini has brought the Buffs into 2016 recruiting with his use of social media and adulation for his alma mater.  He has helped direct his staff and get them more interactive on social media but out on the recruiting trail and selling CU again.

Is this all due to Chiaverini?  No, but there is no doubt there was a noticeable change in recruiting philosophy and the way the staff approached recruiting than ever before under Mike MacIntyre.  This staff is selling CU is on the rise (#Rise16) and has facilities, equipment and tradition that can go up against any of the big dogs.  To hear a recruit even breathe CUs facilities in the same sentence of Oregon's facilities is astounding.  CU has built a world class facility and spent money where it belongs, not on some Teak wood lifting platform and aesthetic elements that cost 5x what you can get the same look/feel.  The Buffs are on the RISE and it is because Chiaverini has been relentless on the recruiting trail.  The Buffs coaches have taken every opening in the recruiting window and flew through it.  The Buffs closed hard lost year after Chiaverini was brought on board bringing in 4 of their Top 6 2016 commitments after he was brought on board. 

The 2017 haul has already begun with CU landing two of the top 10 in-state kids in Jon Van Diest and Dante Sparaco on February 28th.  In the month of April, two 4-star wide receivers being recruited by Chiaverini in Jaylon Jackson and Laviska Shenault have committed to play ball in Boulder starting in 2017.  While it is early and you never know if a commit holds, the simple fact is these two are the highest rated commits CU has had in many years (with apologies to similarly rated Shay Fields, Tim Lynott and Beau Bisharat), especially this early in the process.  The number of high 3 star to 4 star recruits even mentioning CU in their top dozen is something CU has not seen in the past decade.  The fact a program that has had 10 straight losing seasons is garnering interest and gaining steam is tied to two things to me: Facility Upgrades and an approach to go after the best recruits and get them interested in CU Football. The offer lists aren't MWC laden, the guys on CUs radar that are heavily considering the Buffs have legit Power 5 conference offers.  Not just another school or two. 

It is a great start for recruiting in 2017 and to generate buzz for the 2016 season.  This summer's June camp should add a few more commits and continue to get the steam rolling.  The main question still centers on 2016.  If 2016 is a copy of the previous two seasons, it doesn't matter what this staff does on the recruiting trail, there will be questions that can no longer be answered and Rick George will have to figure out what direction to take the football program in.  Either way, I see Chiaverini being a long term plan at CU with his tenacity as a coach and recruiter.

Speaking Rick George, the simple fact is he has done everything you could ask of him as an athletic director.  He has made changes in head coaches in two sports that haven't met his expectations in volleyball and women's basketball and he has spearheaded his main initial goal and secondary goal: generate fundraising into a program that had never raised more than $15 million in a single year and help build a top end athletic facility.  With the Buffs putting on the finishing touches of their athletic facility upgrades that have transformed the northeast side of the stadium and just eat of the stadium with an indoor practice facility and soon-to-be complete outdoor practice facility adjacent to the stadium, the Buffs have transformed Folsom Field and it's surroundings.

As of two months ago, the Drive for $105 Million ($85 million capital with $20 million in endowment) had reached $66.15M and $28M respectively with a total of $94.2M.  The university had set incentives in Rick George's contract to meet those fundraising goals with the total $105 million to be met no later than June 30, 2018 to achieve the final incentive.  They were $15M June 2014 ($50k), $25M June 2015 ($100k), $50M June 2016 ($150k), $75M June 2017 ($200k), $100M June 2018 ($250k).  Rick George appears to have been underestimated by the university considering he will most likely reach his 2018 incentive goal almost two year ahead of schedule.  The $166 Million facilities upgrade will most likely not be George's last task or fundraising effort unless someone finds a way to woo him elsewhere. The work  being done by Rick George has not been unnoticed with his home state and alma mater University of Illinois showing great interest in George and him turning down the chance there to remain in Boulder.  Rick George has done everything asked of him and more at CU and even with his exciting hire in summer 2013 (George takes AD Job Running), the relentlessness of his constant pursuit to make anything he heads (Senior PGA/Champions Tour, Texas Rangers COO, President/CEO Fore!Kids Foundation, etc.) improve tenfold from when he started on it has continued.  CU Athletics is also on the RISE due to his leadership and vision, not just the money he is helping to generate.

The Buffs have struck gold with hires of Rick George as AD to the additions of Jim Leavitt, Joe Tumpkin and now Darrin Chiaverini.  Let's hope 2016 it all ties in to seeing CU have it's most successful football season since the Barnett era at CU.  CU is on the RISE!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Respects to a Retiring Legend: Irv Brown

Irv Brown has been a staple of Denver Sports Talk for longer than I have lived and his retirement today is a bittersweet day.  It brings back memories for many on why they fell in love or got involved with sports radio.  The duo of Irv Brown and Joe Williams and the Irv and Joe show will most likely never come close to being matched with program directors constant programming shake-ups and maybe it is fitting, because no one has done it quite like Irv and Joe.

Irv Brown brought two things that are vital in Sports Talk Radio: Sports IQ/Knowledge and Entertainment.  His sports IQ and genuine love of talking anything and everything from the high school to professional level has been unmatched.  Whether it be the easy talk of Broncos or the Avs talk, Irv Brown took the time and had something that wasn't full of bologna.  He actually did his homework and this was before the internet.  Irv paid attention to details.  I didn't know Irv as the coach and referee but I felt like I did with his stories.

His connections were endless, from the secretary at an elementary school to the unknown high school basketball player from 40 years ago to iconic Bob Knight, Irv took the time to get to know and show respect to those he dealt with.  It's how he treated sports talk and callers.  I can't recall him ever belittling a caller like Sandy Clough or not trying to bring something positive to the program.  He was always an upbeat voice.

Personally, Irv Brown means a lot to my love for sports talk radio.  I began listening religiously to sports talk radio in 1999.  I had listened to Nuggets games on-air for many years before that, but in 1999 I began to drive to college from Thornton to Golden five days a week.  It was a commute that was no less than 35 minutes on a good day and was mostly like a job being there 8-4 p.m.  My commute home consisted of only one show, Irv and Joe on 950 The Fan.  Irv and Joe made The Fan become what it is today, a giant.  They got callers involved with The Hunt and their repertoire with one another was always great entertainment.  Yes, I have called for their retirement at times, but no matter what if I was in the car, I gave Irv and Joe a few minutes of my time, because they always balance those key elements of Sports IQ and Entertainment.  Unfortunately, many other shows have repeatedly failed at this.  They either get too involved in the entertainment/schtick of it (see Big Al & D-Mac) or too sports IQ (see Sandy Clough and his dead air).

I listened to Irv on with Mike Evans today.  One of my favorite sports laughter memories is one he highlighted, The Hunt that day was people named Johnson and oblivious to it Irv asked callers, "Do you have a Johnson?"  The other great memories center around his back and forth about Joe's unfounded disdain for the 2001 Avalanche and John Elway and how he never let him rest on it.  Irv and Joe will not be matched, because there is not enough guys that are willing to put in the work to learn as much as these two did on a daily basis.  I have yet to hear a show cover as many subjects and sports as Irv and Joe could in 3 hours.  Hell, their 1-hour show was more diverse than almost anything The Fan has produced in the last month.

Irv Brown, today being known as Irv Brown Day in Colorado is a fitting send off for a legend.  The amount of radio/TV guys that have shown their respect on social media and on your show today is unmatched.  You will be missed and Denver Sports Radio loses a big piece of its heart today. 

Come Home Baby, Now!!!