The Colorado Buffaloes 2011 football season is over! Thank goodness, that was a rough one. And we managed to end it on a good note: an upset win over the Utah Utes, who were hoping for a chance to make it into the conference championship game. But we ended any hope they had for Pac 12 glory in their first season as a conference member. Anyway, on to how our 2011 opponents fared!
Hawaii Warriors (6-6, 3-4 WAC)
The Rainbow Warriors' David Graves started his first game at QB and accounted for 3 TDs before leaving the game (head injury) and being replaced by Shane Austin, who went 9-10 and directed the game-sealing TD drive. There is talk of a possible QB controversy going into their game against BYU this weekend. Watch for both guys to get some playing time.
Follow the jump to watch me learn how to Dougie!
California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac 12)
Yet another winning season for the Cal Bears (9 of the last 10). C.J. Anderson had three total TDs and Zach Maynard had a really good game. It's the end of the season, but he's finally figuring things out, and he will be dangerous next season. I'm glad we miss them in his second year. The Maynard to Allen connection is as good as any in the nation. They gave up a lot of points, but also ended up winning 3 of their last 4, and made sure they'd be bowl eligible.
Colorado St. Rams (3-8, 1-5 MWC)
Despite another big day by RB Chris Nwoke (269 yards and 2 TDs), the Rams were blown out by the Air Force Falcons. CSU started well, going up 7-0, but AF had a big second quarter and they never looked back. Freshman QB Garrett Grayson threw an interception and lost two fumbles in place of the injured Pete Thomas. They finish up the season against Wyoming this weekend. Coach Steve Fairchild may be on his way out.
Ohio St. Buckeyes (6-6, 3-5 B1G)
It was a close game, but the Buckeyes lost to Michigan for the first time in 8 years. They do have a lot to look forward to, though, with Urban Meyer taking over for Luke Fickell as head coach, and with Braxton "The Future" Miller at Quarterback. Miller is the prototypical spread QB, and looks to flourish in Meyer's system, and is probably a big reason Meyer felt comfortable taking over the Buckeyes even with possible NCAA sanctions in the programs future.
Washington St. Cougars (4-8, 2-7 Pac 12)
The Cougars tied the game in the second quarter and pulled to within a TD in the third, but Washington beat them pretty comfortably. Paul Wulff looks like he may be on his way out, though WSU definitely looked better this season than they did last year, and he may be able to do something up there with one more year. Connor Halliday was injured, but it looks like they've got a quarterback of the future in him, and they have some talent in places, but it didn't come together this year. Stay tuned to see if Washington State will be among those looking for new leadership in the offseason.
Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 8-1 Pac 12) #4 BCS
Andrew Luck set a couple of records in his final regular season game as a member of the Cardinal, with 35 TDs this season and 80 in his career (passing John Elway on the career TD list for the all-time lead). It wasn't the most dominant win they've had, but it was a pretty easy one over Notre Dame. They now wait to see if anything crazy happens, because they still might be able to find their way into the national championship game, though it's unlikely. Luck is a definite Heisman candidate. And they will be getting a few pieces back for their bowl game, which should be a good one.
Washington Huskies (7-5, 5-4 Pac 12)
Despite losing 4 of their last 6 games, the Huskies do finish behind Oregon and Stanford as the next best team in the Pac 12 North. Keith Price tossed 3 TDs to finish the year with 29, the most in Washington single-season history. That's a sophomore, folks. Chris Polk hit 100 yards yet again on the ground, and they salvage what was turning into a disappointing season. They will have high expectations next year.
Oregon Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac 12) #9 BCS
In the Civil War, the Ducks were never challenged as they assured themselves a spot in the Pac 12 Championship Game, which they will host Friday night in Autzen Stadium. Darron Thomas threw 4 TDs, LaMichael James ran for 140+ and a TD before leaving with a left elbow injury (after dislocating the other one not too long ago). They are 30 point favorites in the Pac 12's first championship game, which is looking like a bit of a joke. Don't worry, Pac 12, we'll get there to class the joint up soon enough (or, you know, USC will be eligible again for post-season play soon...).
Arizona St. Sun Devils (6-6, 4-5 Pac 12)
Talk about a bad finish, ASU lost their last four games and 5 of 6 (their only win in that stretch was against us...). There's a reason HC Dennis Erickson was fired. Unlike instate rivals, they don't yet know who they're going to bring in. Whoever it is will get another year of the talented Brock Osweiler and an experienced group of receivers and Cameron Marshall. They will need to retool a pretty bad offensive line, but there's some talent on the Sun Devils roster. There's a good chance that whoever comes in can turn them around quickly.
USC Trojans (10-2, 7-2 Pac 12) #9 AP
The Trojans are the best team in the Pac 12 South, but won't be representing the Division in the conference championship game because of NCAA restrictions. Remember that record that Matt Barkley got against us? Yeah, he tied it again with 6 TD passes in the Trojans 50-0 win over cross-town rival UCLA. He had 39 on the year. Just to recap, he passed for more than 3,500 yards, Robert Woods had nearly 1300 yards on 111 receptions and 15 TDs and Marquis Lee had 1143 yards and 11 TDs on 73 catches. Holy cow! Barkley is likely to leave this offseason, but whoever takes over is going to have a pretty easy time with those receivers to throw to. And yes, it turns out Lane Kiffin really can coach.
Arizona Wildcats (4-8, 2-7 Pac 12)
WE DIDN'T FINISH LAST IN THE CONFERENCE! We tied for 5th in the south division. The Wildcats pulled ahead of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns at the end of the first half and never relinquished the lead. Nick Foles was able to play in his final game, and tied the ‘Zona career and single-season TD records. They won with new head coach Rich Rodriguez on hand.
UCLA Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac 12) South Division Champions*
An odd end to the Bruins season. Rick Neuheisel is out, though he'll coach the Bruins in the Pac 12 Championship Game, despite the fact that they were stomped by USC 50-0 this weekend. They are 30 point underdogs to Oregon this Friday, and there's a good chance that they'll end up 6-7 and therefore ineligible for a bowl game. They could apply for a waiver from the NCAA, but I bet you they won't. Those bowl games cost schools a bunch of money, and they'll need all they can save to attract a new head coach. Too bad we didn't get a chance to beat Slick Rick.
Utah Utes (7-5, 4-5 Pac 12)
With ASU and UCLA losing, Utah would've made it to the Pac 12 Championship Game on Friday if they could've beat us. BUT THEY DIDN'T!!!! Ha! They faced some adversity this year, but look like they'll be pretty good next season after a year of experience in the conference. Jordan Wynn is recovering from his shoulder injury, and Jon White will be back, giving the Utes what should be a pretty potent offense. They still have a bowl game ahead of them, but I wish they didn't so that they couldn't wash the taste of losing to the Buffs out of their dirty, Utah mouths.
***Oregon St. Beavers*** (3-9, 3-6 Pac 12)
Mike Reilly will probably be back, even after the disappointing season that the Beavers had. But they know who will be their QB next year, in Sean Mannion, and they have pieces around him. But they have to find a lot of people to add around him. Reilly gets some leeway after turning the OSU program around, but he can only endure so many down seasons in a row before he's on the outs like a lot of other Pac 12 coaches.