Dan Hawkins: The End of an Error?

Stuart WhitehairAnalyst IOctober 17, 2010

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 07:  Head coach Dan Hawkins leads the Colorado Buffaloes against the Texas A&M Aggies during NCAA college football action at Folsom Field on November 7, 2009 in Boulder, Colorado. Colorado defeated Texas A&M 35-34.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

From www.cuatthegame.com

Will the loss to Baylor be the final straw?

Will this be the game which finally brings to an end the all-too-frustrating Dan Hawkins’ era?

Well, “no” … and “yes.”

Dan Hawkins will be on the sidelines for the Texas Tech game next weekend. In all likelihood, Hawkins will be patrolling the sidelines at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln the day after Thanksgiving.

But that should be it.

Six weeks from now, the 31-25 loss to Baylor will be looked as the turning point of the 2010 season.

A win over the Bears would have given the Buffs a 4-2 record at the midway point. With three winnable home games left on the calendar (plus a winnable game on the road against hapless Kansas), the Buffs would have been on their way to a winning season, or at least a 6-6 record and a bowl game.

With his first winning season still a possibility, Dan Hawkins might have found a way to save his job for yet another year.

Now, with a 31-25 home loss to a good, but certainly not great, Baylor team, Colorado is 3-3, and it is difficult to imagine a scenario under which the Buffs will rebound and post a winning season.

Texas Tech next weekend? The Red Raiders are on par with Baylor, and will present similar matchup problems for the Colorado defense.

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Oklahoma in Norman the following weekend? Yuck. The Sooners beat Iowa State Saturday, 52-0...and it wasn’t that close.

It could be Cal ugly (52-7); it could be 2008 Missouri ugly (58-0). The only reason to watch will be to see if the Buffs can score against the Sooners. 

The Buffs then go on the road to play Kansas in Lawrence. Unless the Buffs can pull out a win over Texas Tech, Colorado will travel to play the Jayhawks carrying the burden of a four game losing streak.

As bad as Kansas has played this season, the Jayhawks could be looking forward to the game against the Buffs. This game could be to decide which team finishes last in the Big 12 North in 2010, and Kansas will be up to play a team they can beat.

The Buffs will limp home after a two game road trip to face Iowa State and Kansas State at home. Perhaps the Buffs will rally at this point; perhaps not.

Colorado will then close out its 15-year membership in the Big 12 with a trip to Lincoln to play Nebraska. The Cornhuskers showed that they can be beaten Saturday, falling 20-13 at home to Texas.

And yes, Colorado does play Nebraska tough, regardless of records. But, after the loss to Baylor, is there anyone out there willing to place a bet on the Buffs to win that game?

Colorado is 3-3 at the halfway mark of the 2010 season, but there are no Colorado State’s or Hawai’i’s left on the schedule.

As a result, it must be said …

… the Dan Hawkins’ countdown officially began when Tyler Hansen’s last pass of the night fell incomplete in the Baylor end zone.

Colorado is 3-3, but is 0-2 in Big 12 play. A close loss to Baylor is still a loss. Baylor is now 5-2, and in line for its first bowl game since before the Big 12 was formed. Colorado is in line to finish last in the Big 12 North.

In a perverse way, it would almost be fitting that Dan Hawkins’ last team finish last in the Big 12 North. Hawkins has littered the Colorado record books with ignoble records.

He is the first head coach to lead the Buffs to four consecutive losing seasons. Hawkins’ Buffs were shut out by Missouri in 2008, ending a consecutive game scoring streak dating back almost 20 full seasons.

Hawkins took a team which won four division titles in five years, and has, as he might put it, “burned it to the ground.”

One last record for Dan Hawkins before he is officially shown the door?

Colorado has never, and I mean NEVER finished alone in the basement in a “Big” conference. Not in the Big Seven. Not in the Big Eight. Not in the Big 12. NEVER. Yes, Colorado has finished tied at the bottom of the standings several times, but Colorado has never finished alone in last place.

(For those keeping score at home, the only other team from the Big Eight days which can make that claim is Oklahoma … Nebraska finished alone in last place in 1957).

Will 2010 be the year?

Colorado still has four winnable games in the final six contests. There were times when the Colorado offense played well against Baylor defense. There were times when the Colorado defense rose up and played well against the Baylor offense. There were times when the Colorado special teams made plays.

The Buffs just did not make enough plays to win.

The Baylor loss will haunt the Buffs the rest of the 2010 season. It may cost Colorado a bowl bid. It may just cost Dan Hawkins his job.

Pac-12 presidents and chancellors will meet this week to vote on division alignments, revenue sharing, and a conference title game site.

It will be a big week for the University of Colorado, as Buff fans will find out who will be their new division rivals, and will find out which Pac-12 teams will be on their schedule in 2011.

For Buff fans, though, the 2011 season began when the final Tyler Hansen pass fell to the Folsom Field turf, sealing the loss to Baylor.

There are six weeks left in the 2010 college football campaign…just not in Boulder.

Dan Hawkins should not have been retained after last season. He has forced Buff fans to endure another season of “almosts.” He won’t find a way to justify keeping the position this time. The Baylor game sealed his fate.

Bring on 2011…!!

More on Colorado football at www.cuatthegame.com