The game against Iowa State is a must-win every year, as the Cyclones usually occupy the cellar of the Big XII North by the end of the year. This year it was even more important to establish that things were turning around at the end of a disappointing year. Now, with the loss to the Cyclones this year, Colorado's road record against the Big XII North in the Hawkins era is 0-10. If Coach Hawkins is not around next year, that fact alone could be the reason.
Later today, the Buffs travel to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State. If traveling on the road throws them off, wait til the newbies get a load of one of the few east-west aligned football fields in the country. Of course, the field alignment isn't a factor in a night game, but it doesn't seem to take much to stampede these Buffs in the wrong direction. The only factor in their favor is that the Cowboys will be minus two players the Buffs saw a lot of last year when they played a pretty good game against OSU. And they happen to be the Cowboys' two best players: WR Dez Bryant, whose year-long suspension was upheld about two weeks ago, and starting QB Zac Robinson, who wont start and probably wont play tonight. Nobody expected the Buffs to win this game, and everybody expected them to win last week, so maybe the Buffs can defy expectations again. No program could use it more.
Big Passing Game for Hansen & Two Best Receivers - For the first time in a while, CU had two receivers with over 100 yards in receptions. The always-reliable Scotty McKnight had 107 yds to move further up the list of CU's all-time leading receivers in yards and catches, while Markques Simas led the team with 128 yds. This not only shows the maturing of Tyler Hansen and the passing game, but, with two 100+ receiving yards games in a row, it shows that Markques Simas is for real. Now, if we can only get the running game going at the same time.
Sorry. Although there were other good individual performances, there was no other area that stands out as excellent in a loss to Iowa State that knocked the Buffaloes out of bowl qualification.
The Colorado football program was in this same spot three weeks ago when they lost on the road to a program with a new coach that was not expected to be a factor in the Big XII North, and then faced a more highly-ranked and recently successful team the next week. The difference this week is that they already have had less time to prepare for a Thursday night game, and they have to travel as well.
The "Myths" comments I made then still apply tonight. Because I don't expect the Buffs to break the mold when it comes to road losses, I will simply attach a link to the Hits & Myths article that came after the K.State game and before the Missouri game:
See above link. It's probably too late to CHANGE COURSE, but a road win here would make many forget the loss to Iowa State. Nevertheless, this year, for the first time in a while, CU's last two games have no bearing on who will participate in the Big XII Championship game or who will participate in a bowl game. Okla St has already lost to undefeated Texas, so unless the Longhorns collapse against both the North's last place team(KU) and the South's next-to-last place team(A&M), incidentally the only two Big XII teams to lose to CU, the Cowboys can't win the South. And the winner of the KSU-NU game this Saturday takes the North title regardless of the outcome of the CU-NU game. Also, the Cowboys and the Huskers are already bowl-eligible.
Even if the Buffs win out, CHANGE COACH seems to be the most likely fix. Setting all-time records in penalties and road losses will do that to a coach. The two things that hurt the most are 1) even a win tonight against a Big XII South team would leave Colorado's road record against the North at a hideous 0-10 in the last four years, and 2) a statement made by a hated Husker last year about this time has come true. As evidenced by the previous paragraph, CU is no longer relevant in the Big XII.
Still, I say to the players: win these two games for the long-suffering seniors, for the vast majority of fans who have strongly supported you all season long, for your coaches, some of whom may be coaching their last games in Boulder, and for the tradition and honor of one of the very best universities in the country.