Who drank the Kool Aid? Okay maybe we didn't drink the Kool Aid entirely after less than stellar performances against Eastern Washington and West Virginia but at 3 - 0 we were able to rationalize those performances...sort of. Being undefeated felt good and it was easy to buy in after years of losing, even though most of us were less than satisfied. Winning blinds us all!
The win against Colorado State was one of the more complete victories of the season with the offense and defense both showing its moments. Against Eastern Washington, the Buffs survived that FCS scare with Cha'pelle Brown and some late Cody Hawkins heroics provided a 2 - 0 start. The Montana State and Eastern Washington storyline was extinguished and the Buffs had a little more than a week and a half to prepare for West Virginia, the consensus circle game of the year. The Buffs were 4 point dogs going into that game. Thursday night in Boulder, Erin Andrews in the house, the crowd was buzzing with a full on blackout for national TV. Colorado responded as the team came out on all cylinders. Two quick touchdowns. For a second there, I was drinking the Kool Aid and so was everyone else. Less than five minutes into the game, CU was up 14 points. I had an epiphany that maybe CU football had, once again, arrived. Maybe it was the Kool Aid or the 12 pack of Coors Light before the game but I got that feeling. You could rationalize the Eastern Washington game as being a youthful experience for a team still trying to find its play makers, its starting rotation at offensive line, running back and offensive line (if you were drinking the Kool Aid). The key, as was being said at that time, was the young Buffs found a way to win and in the first three games, they won in shaky but exciting fashion. But as the West Virginia game went on, we saw the offensive inadequacies and still wondered if the spread offense was the right choice with such a limited set of play makers (too bad we are wondering the same thing today). But the defense held its own against a quarterback who would end up being the NCAA all-time leading rusher for a QB. Things seemed good.
It is pretty safe to say that it went all down hill from there. Ryan Miller and Max Tuioti-Mariner, both starting offensive lineman went down with injuries. The youthful and injured Buffs couldn't get much going. The worst part was you look back on the season and the Buffs should have beat Florida State and should have beat Texas A&M. Cody Hawkins missed on three touchdown passes in the FSU game and well, the special teams did its usual thing; missing a field goal, giving up a safety followed by a subsequent field goal and allowing a kick off return for a touchdown. The team was never really the same after the Florida State game that they let slip away. It would have been one of Dan Hawkins first signature road wins and the Buffs would have been 4 - 0 going into conference play. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.
But for a second, well for about five minutes into the third week of the season, we believed. And I do have to say, it felt good. Next year, No excuses! Go Buffs!