Colorado Buffaloes: It’s Time to Get Hot and Win Out

Chaz MattsonAnalyst INovember 3, 2008

It’s hard to get a grip on what coach Dan Hawkins has brewing in Colorado.  For some, it seems like an amazingly disappointing cup of coffee.  For others it could be a wine at the crushing stage when the grapes are just getting mashed with someone’s feet you hope are clean.  There is still the possibility that this could be a construction job that has run into snags that have hindered progress and it might be time to re-lay the foundation.

No matter how you see it, there is the thought that whatever Mike Bohn and Coach Hawk have started, it is an incomplete work, and so the Buffaloes' following is looking to next year with an expectation for a strong finish this season.

While Colorado football has had a bit of an identity crisis this year, it is clear that they still have some fight to move forward this season.  After being blown out by Texas and Missouri in recent Big XII contests, the Buffs showed they are at least alive against Texas A&M.  At this juncture, alive is better than dead, so the Buff program will go from there.

With three remaining games on the regular season schedule, the Buffs will host the next two games at home.  CU will finish out on the road at Nebraska the Friday after Thanksgiving for their traditional rivalry weekend game.  Most immediately, the Buffaloes should look at the schedule and feel they have an excellent shot against Iowa State and Nebraska.

Moreover, they are catching a break in hosting an Oklahoma State squad that is among the nation’s best this year.  OSU is basking in the success of a great season under the leadership of Mike Gundy; the Cowboys almost beat the Texas Longhorns last weekend in Austin.

It’s been mentioned many times this year about how good the entire Big XII Conference really is.  It is still worth repeating.   Last night, the nation’s top-ranked Texas Longhorns were knocked off by a Big XII South foe the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  The high flying Red Raiders offense jumped out to a 21-3 lead and was in cruise control much of the early going. 

The Longhorns got off to a sluggish start and then turned up the heat in the second half.  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy brought his team from way back after being beat up physically all night long.  Wary and determined, McCoy and the Horns ate up the cheap real estate courtesy of a tiring Tech defense that had an otherwise stellar performance. 

Texas scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:29 remaining in the game.  Texas Tech responded with quarterback Graham Harrell taking them the length of the field down to the Texas 28-yard line.  The next to last play from scrimmage was nearly picked off by Texas true freshman DB Blake Gideon.  Instead it bounced off his body and went right through his hands, along with the Longhorns' chances of an undefeated season.

With eight seconds left, Red Raider QB Harrell threw a 15-yard out pattern slightly behind his go-to receiver Michael Crabtree.  The Red Raiders' receiver could have stepped out and set up a game winning field goal, but instead he out-muscled and physically out-smarted the young Texas DB on his way to the end zone for the winning touchdown. 

Due to the outcome of this game on Saturday Night, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have leap-frogged previous No. 3 Penn State for the No. 2 spot in the nation, with Alabama moving into first.

This coming weekend will tell fans even more about the Big XII strength, with Oklahoma State facing off against Texas Tech.  This game could cause a messy tie in the South Division if OSU beats Tech. This would be due to the fact that the only losses these schools would have suffered would be only to one another.

Texas beat OSU and OU, Texas Tech beat Texas, and it’s very possible for OSU to beat Texas Tech. OU still has to face Tech and OSU in the last two games of the season.  Four of the top eight teams in the country reside in Big XII South and they were all just mentioned in the last sentence.

In the North, it’s highly unlikely any team will catch Missouri, but the conference has still represented itself well all season long.

For CU, the focus has to be on winning again and putting in the type of work and attitude it takes to win.  For the coaches, it’s time to create solid game plans that put the team in a better position to win throughout the game.  Coach Barnett was terminated in part due to the number of large blowouts that happened at the end of his tenure as coach. Coach Hawk has been treated well and has had a realistic pulse on where the team and conference are at.

It is time for the Colorado Buffaloes to start rising up across the board.  It’s time to beat Iowa State at home and Nebraska on the road.  It’s time for the young Buffaloes to start believing in what is going on up at CU and act on it by believing they can beat teams like Oklahoma State in Boulder.  The CU-OSU game could be a trap for the Cowboys with OU still on the horizon, and the Buffs desperately need wins.

It’s time to rally the troops, stay on pace, and have greater expectations in Boulder.  It’s within reach and now is the time for CU to get hot and win out.  Coach Hawkins just signed a longer term extension to his current contract.  Now it’s time to make the push to get past the blowouts and the loss to Texas A&M.  The Buffs could just save everything they have been working so hard for to rebuild the program and show the program has taken that much-needed step forward going into the future.