As news came down today that Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson potentially might not playing tonight, I got to thinking about how the Colorado Buffaloes blew a great chance to make a mark this season. It is truly amazing how the schedule and the weakness of the Big 12 North set the Buffs up perfectly to return to the spotlight in '09 but using part of a quote from head coach Dan Hawkins, the Buffs did not "sieze the day." Look at the schedule below. Doesn't that make you sick? Granted, we now know the Buffs are less than stellar themselves but think if the Buffs' offensive line performed up to expectations, WR Markques Simas was coached and prepared to play like he was now from game one (not suspended), if Tyler Hansen started the year at quarterback, if the Buffs weren't at the bottom of the nation in turnovers & penalties, and the defense started the season like they have been playing the past few weeks. Yes, I know the saying about using "ifs" and "buts". I know. But Colorado blew it this year, no "ifs" or "buts" about it:
Going into the preseason, there were four teams the Buffs could lose to and you wouldn't be totally surprised - at West Virginia, at Texas, Kansas and at Oklahoma State. West Virginia because it was a road game and we knew that would be a tough environment. We thought Kansas and Todd Reesing would be back to their normal abuse of the Buffs like the previous three years. Games at Texas and Oklahoma State were the hardest two on the schedule and were considered the two contests the Buffs would most likely lose preseason. But Kansas isn't who we thought they were as the Buffs' beat them sending the Jayhawks into a downfall. Tonight, Oklahoma State might be playing without two preseason All Big 12 players and their All American candidate runnining back Kendall Hunter has been hurt six games in 2009.
- Colorado St. Rams - no reason to lose to them considering the year they are having. AT FOLSOM FIELD! (L)
-@ Toledo Rockets - no reason to lose to them considering the year they are having. (L)
- Wyoming Cowboys - Buffs won (W)
-@ West Virginia Mountaineers- would accept a loss preseason and now. Tough place to play on the road (L)
-@ Texas Longhorns - would accept a loss preseason and now. Game on the road. (L)
- Kansas Jayhawks - Buffs won, was expected to be a preseason loss (W)
-@ Kansas St. Wildcats - very winnable game against a mediocre Big 12 North opponent (L)
- Missouri Tigers - very winnable game against a mediocre Big 12 North opponent at home. (L)
- Texas A&M Aggies - Buffs won (W)
-@ Iowa St. Cyclones - very winnable game against a mediocre Big 12 North opponent (L)
-@ Oklahoma St. Cowboys - Kendall Hunter returned two weeks ago and may not be 100% but think about this. Oklahoma State tonight will be playing without Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant and a less than 100% Kendall Hunter...unbelievable the luck if we had a mentally tough team.
- Nebraska Cornhuskers - very winnable game against a mediocre Big 12 North opponent at home.
A relatively easy out of conference schedule, a mediocre Big 12 North schedule with winnable road games against Kansas State and Iowa State, a down Kansas team, and an Oklahoma State squad that is missing a lot of offensive fire power with Robinson and Bryant out...
But once again, you have to look back at the slow start to begin the year and not getting these guys ready to play. Not having momentum and excitement on the road and "overlooking" Colorado State as Riar Geer said defines this team and the opportunity they left on the table.
If there is any reason for a change in Boulder, look at 2009, how the chips fell in place and the way the Buffs responded. "10 wins no excuses" was supposed to motivate the players, a change at offensive coordinator and a return to a pro-style offense was supposed to put players in a better position to be successful. A deep linebacker corp was supposed to bolster the defense with the emergence of CB Jimmy Smith. Of course, the defensive line was a preseason concern but they have certainly outperformed expectations.
Instead, the Buffs can't run the ball with any consistency and they can't keep a mobile quarterback from getting sacked eight times a game. A quarterback change was made too late, Colorado continues to suffer on the mental side of the game with turnovers and penalties, the defensive scheme was too complicated at the beginning of the year which cost the Buffs' games and Colorado continues to play unmovitated football especially on the road, something the players have admitted multiple times this year.
I think this is the only case you need to make. In a year that any improvement over the previous three years should have at least netted the Buffs a low level Bowl birth, Colorado has three wins.