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Monday Buff Bites - Trying to Understand the Mess That is the Big 12 North

Colorado_mediumThe Morning After: How the Big 12 North Will Most Likely Play Out - Rock M Nation

Amazingly, the Colorado Buffaloes are not out of the picture to win the Big 12 North. Part of me is in disbelief about that topic because we keep hearing "we still have a shot at the Big 12 North" and it doesn't seem right. A team that has played as bad as it has for 6 out of 7 weeks shouldn't be in the race still. Part of me is very mad at the program because of the huge opportunity it is letting pass them by. Let's face it, a win last week against Kansas State and the Buffs would be hands down the team to beat in the North. It wouldn't even be close. If they played with a fire and passion to win games on the road, they would walk away with the title. They already beat Kansas. Missouri and Nebraska are at home and very beatable. A trip to Ames, Iowa doesn't scare anyone if they could actually come out with energy on the road and if they played consistently, Texas A&M is very beatable at home. It is a shame and an embarrassment that the Buffs can't play consistently, that they can't use their playmakers effectively on offense, that playmakers won't emerge and that they can't play with energy on the road confirmed by the players after the Kansas State game. This was the year to win the North, win recruiting battles against Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri and jumpstart this program. You think that would be motivation enough. It is pretty sickening to think about. This was certainly the year. You look at next year's schedule and see @California, Hawaii and Georgia on the out of conference schedule not to mention a Colorado State team that beat Colorado at Folsom this year. Then the Buffs will play a Baylor team that returns Robert Griffin, Texas Tech, @Oklahoma, @ Missouri, @Kansas and @Nebraska.

Anyway, Rock M Nation, the Missouri blog, has done an extensive look at the Big 12 North and how it will breakdown for the rest of the year for all the poor teams in the North. They even admit, the Buffs have a chance to win the conference at 4 - 4. Definitely worth the read:

In the above scenario, Colorado could beat Nebraska to get to 3-5, meaning they need to find one more win for 4-4. With their game at Oklahoma State a likely loss, that means they basically need to go 2-2 versus NU, MU, @ISU, and ATM. Absolutely doable. You know how I feel about Colorado as a whole--they stink--but at this stage I freely acknowledge how wrong I could be. Nothing has played out as expected this year, and if they figure out how to take a step forward and, even if they lose in Ames, go 2-1 at home against three beatable teams (NU, MU, ATM), they could somehow win the North. I say the biggest wildcard for Colorado is their defensive line. Leaving the ATM game aside (because I have no idea how to predict that game), the key to beating both Missouri and Nebraska will be not allowing their running games to get going and getting pressure on their respective QBs. I do think NU has the best defense in the North and MU the second-best (I still say Mizzou's front seven played damn well yesterday, but they got no help from the secondary or offense), and CU's iffy (to put it kindly) offense can't be expected to put up many points. That means they have to win a low-scoring battle, and both of these offenses can be stopped...if their offensive lines can't get established. The CU D-line is by far the least proven unit on their defense, and if they step up, they could win the North.

Colorado_mediumMizzou now has mountain to climb -

With MU being outscored 101-36 in Big 12 play and 0-3 for the first time in seven years, the prospect of rebounding seems more a matter of hope than grounded in the realities of the season. "I can't be more disappointed," said Pinkel, later adding, "I don't care who we're playing. I don't care if it's the New England Patriots. I expect us to play better than that."

Colorado_mediumCU Buffs motivated for Missouri game - Boulder Daily Camera
I would be frustrated too, Tyler, if I was pulled from the game in two minute drills:

Coach Dan Hawkins did not stop for interviews after the Sunday evening session in the bubble. ... CU coaches chose to use Cody Hawkins to run the Buffs 2-minute offense against Kansas State and said he will probably continue to do so in the future. Hansen said Sunday he would prefer to run the 2-minute offense but he is willing to do whatever the coaches believe is best for the team. "It`s frustrating seeing your team out there playing without you and you`re the starting quarterback," Hansen said. "So it`s frustrating, and I want to be out there, but the coaches didn`t think that`s the best. So you`ve got to go with it. But it is frustrating sometimes." Hansen said he doesn`t feel like coaches have a hook hanging over his shoulder. "They came up to me today and said, 'Hey, you`re still the guy. We still have 100 percent confidence in you.` That shows me that I`m still doing some stuff right and still moving the team. I`m not like that at all. I`m not feeling like I`m looking over my shoulder at all."

Colorado_mediumBuffs hold out hope for season - The Longmont Times-Call

"We’re definitely in it," CU tailback Rodney Stewart said. "Kansas State has some big games coming up they could easily lose. We could easily lose, as well, as we did (Saturday)."

Colorado_mediumBig 12 power rankings - College Football Nation - ESPN

11. Colorado: Offensive momentum has been impossible to generate for the Buffaloes, who scored on their first drive against Kansas State and then didn’t cross midfield until less than 6 minutes remained in their loss to the Wildcats. Coach Dan Hawkins inserted his son, Cody, back into the lineup to try to spark the offense. It didn’t work. Rodney Stewart struggled for 49 rushing yards and never could balance the Buffaloes’ pass-heavy offense. The defense played strongly against Kansas State, but in the end couldn’t escape the poor field position it was forced to defend throughout the game.