Continuing the Ralphie Report's preseason football August Blitz, we have a retrospective of Colorado Buffaloes football seasons via pocket schedules. Images are courtesy of Matthew Robins @BupsJones, a fellow Buff and avid pocket schedule collector. Part one in a multi-part series, we begin a long time ago...
It's the height of the great depression. The year is 1936, Prohibition was repealed a scant 3 years ago, the King of England has just abdicated the crown and left it to his stuttering brother, and the Hoover Dam has just been finished, sealing away some gigantic arctic alien robot thingy... or something.
Anyways, football tickets to your Buffaloes are $2.00, hot dogs are ¢5, and you can't afford either...
The Buffs in the Late Thirties
By now, the Buffs have been playing 'the rugby game' for 46 years, which has resembled actual football for only the last 30. Bunny Oakes returns in his second season as head coach of the U. of C. "Buffaloes" (a two-year old monkier), and expectations are high, as last year's 5-4 squad won the Rocky Mountain Conference title, the second for the Buffaloes in as many years. The man literally wrote the book on football line-play, and also holds patents for the first blocking dummies.
It's good that Oakes and the Silver and Gold took back the Rocky Mountain Conference, because though the Buffaloes were champions in 4 of the first 5 years of the conference which they helped charter back in 19-aught-9, the Utah Utes had been winning far too much; each conference championship from 1928 until we put a stop to it in 1934 by winning it ourselves. May that be a lesson; appeasement never works.
The whole 1936 season was one point away from solidifying Colorado's football dominance in the late thirties. In the non-conference opener, the Buffs lost to a 3-3-3 Oklahoma team 0-8, though the team rebounded to clobber the School of Mines 33-0 on their way to a 4-game win streak, punctuated by a 31-7 destruction of Utah on homecoming day. During that game, which inaugurated Balch Fieldhouse, Byron White personally scored 25 points against the Utes: four touchdowns and a kicked extra point. In the next game, the Silver and Gold unfortunately lost to eventual conference champion Utah State (7-0-1) by one point, 13-14, and the final game against Denver (7-1-1) by the same margin, 6-7.
The next year was better, though; in 1937 Byron "Whizzer" White was a consensus All-American, in part due to his performance at the Utah game, where he scored all of the team's 17 points, where he "returned a punt 97 yards, and scored another touchdown on a 57-yard sprint, kicked a 15-yard field goal, and kicked both extra points." He also accounted for all the team's points in the 35-6 win over Colorado College and the 34-7 victory over Denver U. This year he is the first Buffalo to personally score 100 points.
The team's 8-0 record places them firmly atop the Rocky Mountain Conference as champions in their last year in the RMC. The undefeated season also sends the Buffaloes to their first-ever bowl game: the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day. The Buffaloes will face Rice in the Bowl game's second year.
In spite of all of White's heroics and theatrics, the Colorado squad only rose as high as #16 in the 1937 AP poll, finishing 17th. Byron White only placed 2nd in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, and Colorado ultimately lost to Rice 14-28 in the Houston-hosted Cotton Bowl. But hey, at least there's no more prohibition, right?
After the end of the season, "Whizzer" White was selected by the National Football League Pittsburgh Pirates in some new thing they have called the NFL Draft. The Draft is only in its second year, and experts don't expect the confusing process to last. Later, he was traded to a new expansion team, the Supreme Court of the United States.
Part two will continue with the Buffs in the Fifties...