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Wednesday CU Football Buff Bites - Pac12 North Midseason Reviews & Ted Miller's Christmas Wishlist

The Buffaloes are headed here this week. How has UW's season gone this far? Read on!
The Buffaloes are headed here this week. How has UW's season gone this far? Read on!

Recapping Colorado Buffaloes Football and Pac-12 News, Links, and Mid-Season Reviews

Colorado_mediumThorburn: Plenty left for Buffs to play for in 1-5 season - Buffzone

But first-year head coach Jon Embree doesn't have to give Knute Rockne speeches to motivate these Buffaloes to roam from Saturday to Saturday with their heads up.

"The seniors understand how the clock is running," Embree said when asked about the mental state of his team during a Tuesday press conference. "Part of it that helps is having a lot of young guys that are playing. It's still their first time going through it, so there's natural excitement on their part.

"It's been a good blend. Our staff has done a good job of keeping them focused on the task at hand and keeping them focused and energized."

Deep down, Tyler Hansen and his classmates realize the odds of finishing their careers in a bowl game are about the same as Kyle Orton's chances of starting for the Broncos in aSuper Bowl. That doesn't mean they can't leave the program with a smile on their faces.

"We still have a lot to play for. The good thing is we're still playing football," Hansen said. "It hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, but we're still having fun and playing the game we love. ... Hopefully, these last seven games we can get some good, positive experiences and end this thing with a bang."

Colorado_mediumCU notebook: Buffs compete with Huskies for recruits, too - Buffzone

"Obviously, we're on the right kids," Embree said. "It's kind of funwhen you go in a house and the other coach is leaving. The parents and the family are freaking out because they think its' going to be a fight in the living room or something like that. ... Invariably, depending on the relationship you have with the coach, you and that coach are going to have dinner after you get done with the home visit."

"When you have a healthy respect for a coach and a program, it ends up being OK," Embree said. "The issue is when you don't have a healthy respect for that coach or program. ... I like what Sark is doing up there and how he's doing it. I don't have a problem with him."

Colorado_pac-12Pac-12 second-half preview - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

There were some nice moments in the first half of the Pac-12 season, but it was more about injuries and a poor nonconference showing. Here's hoping that the second half is chocked full of great games and great performances and the end result is national relevance and a successful bowl season.

-And no more fired coaches! What I'm Looking Forward To:  

-First off: A quick return of Oregon running back LaMichael James from a dislocated elbow.

-No more major injuries. The Pac-12 has contributed enough to the national injury pool.

-Colorado and Utah getting their first Pac-12 victory.

-Something good to happen to Arizona. Don't know what. Just something.

-A Pac-12 championship game that is meaningful nationally.

-Two [Pac-12] BCS bowl teams that win.

-World peace and economic recovery.

-A pill that allows you to eat everything you want and not get fat. 

Two Pac-12 BCS bowl teams that win? I think that's asking for a lot, don't you Mr Miller?

As promised, today there's the md-season review for the Pac-12 teams in the Jerk North Division

Colorado_pac-12Midseason review: Stanford - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

It's not that they are yet to be challenged. It's that they've put themselves in a position where other teams can't challenge them. Stanford has avoided the traps and pitfalls that so many other teams succumb to early in the season. They are efficient on offense, physical at the line and punishing on defense. They grind down teams with a stable of running backs and confusing formations. And the tight ends are the best in the country. They can spread out as receivers or drop behind the line as fullbacks. But behind all the smoke and mirrors, they are a smash-mouth football team that hasn't let themselves be caught up in the hype of a post-Jim Harbaugh letdown or the nation's longest win streak. 

Colorado_pac-12Midseason review: Oregon - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

After the disappointing opener, there remain big tests ahead for the Ducks, starting Saturday against the Sun Devils. Then, on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, the Ducks play Washington and Stanford on the road, back-to-back. Here's a guess we'll get a good idea of who the Ducks are by then.

Colorado_pac-12Midseason review: Washington - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

The 2-0 conference mark suggest the Huskies are headed for a finish in the top half of the North Division. The question is can they elevate their game enough to challenge Oregon or Stanford? 

Colorado_pac-12Midseason review: California - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

So, at 3-2 but 0-2 in conference play, the Bears play host to USC on Thursday. It's not yet clear where the season may be headed. Both the offense and defense have flashed potential but haven't showed consistency. This looks like a bowl team. But we said the same thing last year and were wrong.

Colorado_pac-12Midseason review: Washington State - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

In year four of his tenure, Wulff's Cougars are vastly improved. But are they going to be good enough over the second half of the season to ensure he gets a fifth year at his alma mater? That might require three victories and bowl eligibility. 

Colorado_pac-12Midseason review: Oregon State - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

The 0-4 start, the program's worst since 1996, had fans grumbling, many even questioning Riley. The Beavers weren't playing well on either side of the ball. If Oregon State is going to bounce back in the second half, Mannion will have to continue to improve and make Riley look good. And the defense and running game are going to have to gain some traction. 

Colorado_mediumStewart Receives Athlete of the Week Accolade - 

Women's golfer Alex Stewart (sophomore) has been named the CU Athlete of the Week... Stewart, a native of Elk Grove, Calif. (Homeschooled/Purdue) finished fourth individually and led the CU women's golf team to just the seventh tournament victory in school history in arguably the toughest field of competition where the Buffs have won an event. 

Go Buffs!