I just read two more interesting stories that I believe will spark some more good discussion as we count down the hours until the last weekend before Christmas.
Dr. Saturday has chosen the Buffs for his first postmortem of the season. Matt (formerly on SBNation on the Saturday Morning Quarterback blog) knows a ton about college football and is one my favorite writers on the subject. Writing in depth about the many D1 college football teams across the country has got to be hard work as it requires a more than general knowledge about many many squads. That being said there are a few items in his assessment of the Buffs 08 season and his 09 outlook that I don't agree with and wanted to address.
First off, the spot on. I think this statement, as bleak as it may be, sums our our season in the best way possible.
More telling is the evidence against bad teams: CU held on to beat Kansas State by one point, lost at Texas A&M and had to rally from 11 points down in the fourth quarter to put away Iowa State in the final two minutes. It was among the conference's 2-6 Brigade that Colorado found its true peers.
We, as Buffalo fans, would be much better served to remember our struggles against Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas A&M than we would to find too much hope in the West Virginia and Nebraska games...
Matt also made a great chart illustrating the offensive struggles. While this might be skewed a bit because there were very few offenses in the Big 12 this season that one could consider "average", the numbers still glaringly show how far, far behind we were with the ball from the rest of the conference:
via Dr. Saturday
Now on to the 2009 outlook, which I feel is just about rock bottom of what we should logically expect next year.
Dan Hawkins is so pumped about 2009, he may have already locked up the title for crazy offseason expectations when he stood up during the team banquet this week and predicted "10 wins and no excuses." Somebody check the punch at the hotel, please. Hawk has 13 wins in three years. By all appearances, Cody Hawkins remains the starting quarterback. AD Dave Plati ought to have a CD made with "no excuses" playing on a continual loop to play when he hands Hawkins a pink slip next Thanksgiving.
This team was a good ways from mediocre, though. The building blocks are Stewart and Scott in the backfield, but the offensive line has shown no ability to become the kind of road-grading unit necessary to make Cody Hawkins a competent quarterback. Nobody's going to expect much better from next year's group than the middling, .500-ish efforts it's produced the last two years, which probably ends the Hawkins era.
1) How could the offensive line have "shown" any ability to become more than competent when we were never able to see the healthy o-line play together? If Colorado can find a capable replacement for Daniel Sanders in the middle, I believe that a healthy and more experienced Ryan Miller and Max Tuioti-Mariner can transform this unit into one of top 2 lines in the Big 12 North. Throw in guys like Bryce Givens, Sione Tau and Mike Iltis and with returning starters Devin Head, Nate Solder, Blake Behrens and Matt Bahr, CU should have great competition on the offensive line to will lead to much improvement. Dan Hawkins still believes Ryan Miller and Nate Solder are NFL caliber tackles and from everything we saw in Big Max, if he stays healthy, he could be considered a big time player. While we can't predict injuries, we have to assume that everyone will stay relatively healthy and if so I believe the running game will be very strong next year.
2) Does Hawkins get fired if the Buffs go 6-6 next year? It would be very close but I don't think so. However, if we are discussing a .500 season at this time next year I would imagine that all of us would consider the season an utter failure. The maturation and hopeful health of a very young team combined with the expected downturn of every team in the North outside of the Jayhawks and Cornhuskers (partially if you believe they can replace Ganz and their WR corp overnight) should give us reasonable hope for anywhere from 8 to "Dan Hawkins is a genius" 10 wins in 2009.
What do you think? I am being too positive as I think about next season?
Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn has announced that he will once again hold town hall style meetings to address athletic department issues with fans, alumni and season ticket holders, this year holding as many as seven across the state with plans of streaming all sessions live over the web. I think that this is a great way to hear the voice of the fan and hopefully get some great ideas on how to continue the improvement of Colorado athletics and facilities. Irish and I will try and attend at least one of the meetings and I hope that all of you in the area will make plans to attend as well. Have any of you ever been before?