Ralphie Report Mailbag - You Really Want the Buffs to Be in the Mountain West?

We asked and you delivered a good amount of questions regarding a wide range of topics. Here are a subset of the questions. See after the jump for the answers. If your question wasn't answered today, we will get to it on the next mailbag. And if you have a topic or question that you want to see discussed on the site email us at  theralphiereport@gmail.com

Mark T '83 Alum: So let me get this straight, you want the Buffs to be in the Mountain West Conference over the Pac-10? How does that do Colorado any good from a financial standpoint? I doubt Colorado will ever be relevant again if they move to the Mountain West Conference.

Tom P - The Ralphie Report was a little slow for the past couple of months. Are you guys still committed to coverage of the Buffs?

Scott from Tulsa - Any news about WR Terdema Ussery returning to the team? I know he left for personal issues last year but haven't heard if he was back or not. Also, any incoming freshman having a tough time clearing CU admissions?

Walt J - New to the site, enjoyed reading the expansion stuff the past few days. What do you believe is the most important positional unit for the Buffs in 2010 and the player that needs to overachieve for the Buffs to be successful.

Mark T '83 Alum: So let me get this straight, you want the Buffs to be in the Mountain West Conference over the Pac-10? How does that do Colorado any good from a financial standpoint? I doubt Colorado will ever be relevant again if they move to the Mountain West Conference.

Glad you asked the question, Mark. Nothing would make me happier than joining the Pac-10 with Utah to form the Pac-12. Competitively, a division within the conference including Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State seems like a great option. My issues start when we add the Big 12 South into the mix both from a competitive standpoint as well as a cultural standpoint. We haven't been able to get anywhere close to Texas & most other Big 12 South schools over past five or so years. Of course , financially, whether it is the Pac-16 or Pac-12, Colorado will earn more money if that is the route they go. It really is a question of how do you weigh winning and money and how intertwined are the two? I guess being stuck at the bottom of the conference the last few years has me craving to be competitive again and when I look at a potential grouping with Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, I start to wonder if the Buffs will be battling it out for the bottom three spots every year just to get some dollars in the door. Most of those schools have more money with or without the Pac-16. 

Here is how I rate my scenarios for conference expansion:

1) Notre Dame goes to the Big Ten. Nebraska and Missouri stay put meaning Texas and the Big 12 South stay put. Colorado and Utah get the Pac-10 invites to form the Pac-12. The Big 12 adds TCU to replace Colorado. The Mountain West adds Boise State. Colorado gets out of the Big 12 arms race of big money programs into a more culturally aligned conference in the Pac-12. I think the Pac-12 will help Colorado recruiting and I like the fit from a competitive standpoint.

This is the absolute best case scenario and I still like the odds of it happening. I don't think it is in Texas' best interest to move to the Pac-10 considering they control the Big 12 as it is. Why mess with a good thing? The one thing we do know is the Pac-10 wants to expand, they have been vocal about it and it is going to happen. Notre Dame moving to the Big Ten is what we need to root for.

2) The Big 12 stays as is. It's is hard to see this happening place considering the Pac-10 wants to expand, the Big Ten wants to expand and there looks to be interested parties in Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri and Notre Dame. I don't see Colorado in the Big 12 anyway you cut it.

3) Colorado joins the Mountain West Conference which will merge with the Big 12 and others to form the new Big 12 or 16. Teams would include Colorado, Colorado State, TCU, Boise State, Utah, BYU, Houston, SMU, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and UNLV. Add Gonzaga in basketball and maybe St. Mary's of the West Coast Conference.

4) Join the Pac-16

As much as it sounds like a bad idea to run to the Mountain West, many others are coming to terms with it and seeing how it might be a viable solution: Vic Lombardi, Kyle Ringo and Mark Kiszla

Tom P - The Ralphie Report was a little slow for the past couple of months. Are you guys still committed to coverage of the Buffs?

Obviously this was written before all of this expansion news heated up. Yes, we certainly are still committed, probably more so than ever as I will discuss in a second. The conference expansion has really given us something to write about and it has been intriguing to say the least. But we do agree it was a little slow over the past couple of months and that is due to a few reasons, mostly centering around this being the slow time of year after the football signing period and basketball ends. Also, rather than shove a bunch of crazy lists down your throat like we should have been doing, we were stuck working some long hours at work (unfortunately, this is a volunteer/fun hobby, not really a paying job) as well as getting engaged (yes, we aren't complete losers) & doing an obscene amount of wedding prep work. Trust me, I would have rather been blogging than creating a guest list. 

That being said, our member numbers are growing every day and we thank all of you for frequenting, commenting, posting fanposts and following us on twitter.

Now to why we are committed more than ever:

1) SBNation continues to provide a great platform for us to work with and they continue to enhance the way you, the readers, can be apart of the discussion for the teams you love. Soon, SBNation will be rolling out a Denver Regional Hub page (see an example here) that will most likely turn into your daily Denver sports page. In honor of the Denver Regional Hub rollout, the team will be having a launch party at the home of the Colorado Buffaloes drinking team, the Blake Street Tavern in Denver on June 28th with drink specials and giveaways. It's things like this that keep us going and hopefully continue to make you come back to SBNation.com.

2) From a Ralphie Report perspective and the ability to cover the Buffs in the best way possible, we have some big news that will become fairly obvious during & leading up to the football season that will allow us to give you a more in-depth perspective of Buffs. We'll let you know more when the time comes but just know it is a huge step in the right direction for the site.

That being said, Jon and I would love some additional help. If you browse across the SBNation blogs, you will notice many of the sites have four or five active writers. We have two. Adding a few more contributors would certainly help us to to some more things that we just don't have time to right now. If any of you have an interest in becoming a writer in some capacity, please let us know. It could be as simple as compiling a daily Buff Bite Links story a few times a week (our Daily Links post that comes out first thing in the morning so fans can get their fix of what the mainstream media is saying about the Buffs) or covering just basketball or football or writing a few editorials here and there. Here are a few positions we had in mind:

(1) Daily Link (Buff Bites) Writer (not a huge time commitment but allows you to give your take on the day's news). Many of you already do this so it could just be an extension of what you do every morning gathering Colorado information.

(2-3) Either sport specific or all-encompassing writer - offer breakdowns of games, discussions about the upcoming season, opinions on Buffs' topics in the news with your own spin, opponent breakdowns, etc.

If any of this interests you, shoot us an email at theralphiereport@gmail.com. We may ask you to write a few demo fan posts before you become a full time writer on the site.

Scott from Tulsa - Any news about Terdema Ussery returning to the team? I know he left for personal issues his redshirt year but haven't heard if he was back or not. Also, any incoming freshman having a tough time clearing CU admissions?

WR Terdema Ussery is back with the team and was at the spring game. Jon and I saw him at the Lazy Dog Restaurant and Brewery after the game with Scotty McKnight (who is the person I would be hanging with too so I could meet these people). I have no idea what the personal issues were but hopefully those are resolved and he can go back to being a full-time student. With WR Markques Simas' career likely over due to all of the off the field issues,  it would be nice if Jarrod Darden and/or Terdema would make a move into the top four receiver rotation.

As for ineligible incoming freshmen, Ringo of the BDC reported that TE Justin Favors is possibly ineligible/will not qualify with his current test scores. The California kids are still in school so that is always where the hangup will come because we don't know their academic standing yet. Favors was one of four tight ends signed in the 2010 class so the depth is still there if he cannot make it into school.

Walt J - New to the site, enjoyed reading the expansion stuff the past few days. Who do you believe is the most important positional unit for the Buffs in 2010 and the player that needs to have a big year for the Buffs to be successful.

Welcome to the site and good question. I wish it was an easy question to answer, though, as the Buffs need a lot of squads to step up this year and a lot of players to achieve potential. As for the single unit I think will be under the microscope the most this year and who will dictate the success of this team, that distinction goes to the offensive line. We all know what happened last year on offense: 113th nationally in rushing offense (11th in the Big 12), 104th nationally in total offense (12th in the Big 12), 117th in sacks allowed (12th in the Big 12). That sort of production won't win many ball games in the Pac-10, Big 12 or Mountain West Conference.

This will be Denver Johnson's second year as offensive line coach. OT Nate Solder is now a senior, an All First Team Big 12 type player and an NFL prospect. Jr OG Ryan Miller should be ready to go and hopefully the Buffs can get him to play like he did against Ndamukong Suh last year for the entire 2010 season. Then you have question marks everywhere else and the hope of players reaching their potential. OG Max Tuioti-Mariner started as a true freshman but has since blown out his knees (three times total since his senior of high school). Does he have anything left in the tank? Do the Buffs have a center that is physical and nasty enough to control the interior and create movement? RT Bryce Givens had a trying redshirt freshman year as he dealt with off the field issues, on the field mishaps and continued to be under weight. Is this the year he emerges? Can the offensive line stay healthy? All big questions that this unit will have to answer if Colorado has any chance of battling a tough 2010 schedule to go to a bowl game. The good news is Colorado has the most returning starting experience on the offensive line of any Big 12 team and 7th overall in the nation which usually correlates to success.

As for the individual player...too many. QB Tyler Hansen, WR Toney Clemons, OT Bryce Givens, LB B.J. Beatty, S Ray Polk, DT Nate Bonsu, RB Rodney Stewart...all of the Buffs need to improve over last year.

I am excited to see WR Toney Clemons and LB Jon Major make an impact this year. These are two players I believe who can add some explosiveness and an increased level of play on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Same goes for TE DaVaughn Thornton. He "looks" like a Big 12 player when he is on the field and from what we saw this spring, he has playmaking ability.  

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