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Thursday CU Buff Bites - Basketball, Bowl Games, And Bacon

Recapping Colorado Buffaloes Athletics and Pac-12 News, Links, and Stories

Colorado_mediumBrooks: Buffs Expecting Stern Test From Pioneers -

"Being down one with (under) four minutes to go . . . you have a different feeling in the pit of your stomach as a player, as a coach, on the bench," Lappe said. "So being able to understand what it takes to win close games, you have to execute your offense, your defense . . . you have to play together and have intensity. "And I thought we really brought that at the end of the game. We understood what was at stake.

We saw our team's competitiveness, which was great." Lappe expects those traits will have to be evident again Thursday at the Coors Events Center (7 p.m., ROOT Sports) when the University of Denver visits. The Pioneers edged the Buffs by a point (70-69) last November in Magness Arena and this season have worked their way through the state without a stumble.

Their 6-2 record includes wins against Air Force (54-52), Colorado State (64-61) and Northern Colorado (66-57). Boulder is the last stop on DU's in-state itinerary. "It's an in-state game, so you want to make sure you come ready, you're intense and fired up and focused," Lappe said. "We don't take any in-state games lightly. We didn't take Colorado State (a 72-53 win in Fort Collins) lightly and we're not going to take DU lightly.

Colorado_mediumCU Buffs find free-throw touch in win over Fresno State - Buffzone

There were no chest bumps or high-fives in the Colorado locker room. Tad Boyle had to remind himself that the Buffs won after the crowd of 5,562 filed out of the Coors Events Center relieved but unsatisfied. CU's 71-64 victory over Fresno State on Wednesday night would have been cause for celebration a few years ago, but the home team didn't feel great about the overall performance after nearly allowing a 20-point lead to evaporate down the stretch.

"We won the game. I know it doesn't seem like it by the energy and the body language our team showed in the second half," Boyle said after the program extended its home winning streak over non-conference opponents to 27 games. "That shows me the expectation level of our players, of our coaches, and I think of our fans is much higher than that."

F/+ Rankings, End Of Regular Season - Football Study Hall

Your end-of-regular-season (sans Army-Navy) F/+ rankings are now posted at Outsiders. I'll say this much: Oklahoma State gave it a run. They made up half of Alabama's lead with their romp over Oklahoma. Meanwhile, LSU just continues to expand their lead.

Now ... we are going to be recalculating F/+ ratings from previous seasons soon -- to account for both a slight change to S&P+ and the addition of the special teams component -- so this isn't a perfect comparison, but this is still worth noting in the meantime: since 2005, only two teams have posted an F/+ rating higher than LSU's +38.1%: 2005 Texas (+38.4%) and 2008 Florida (+38.3%). They are just so damn good. They refused to play offense for the first half against Georgia and still a) won easily and b) played well enough for the game to rank second in Off. F/+.

After the jump, bowl game rankings, heisman trophy predictions, and ASU pulled a fast one on June Jones...

Colorado_pac-12The SEC is doomed - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN analyst Brock Huard finally wrote what everyone -- and I mean everyone -- believes is about to happen in college football: The Pac-12 is poised to overtake the SEC as the nation's dominant conference. Sorry, SEC. You had a nice run. We have a nice parting gift -- a Hickory Farms summer sausage & cheese gift box -- which you can pick up by the exit. Bye bye.

Colorado_pac-12Ranking the Pac-12 bowls - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

While many eyes will be on the national championship game -- the LSU-Alabama rematch -- it's possible the Pac-12 will produce two more entertaining bowl games. Here's how we rank the Pac-12 bowl games.

Colorado_pac-12Pac-12 is the underdog conference - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

The Pac-12 is going to be an underdog in six of the seven bowls it plays this season. Oregon is the only favorite. The Ducks are given six points against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. ...So, if things go by expectations, the Pac-12 should go a terrible 1-6 this bowl season. My take: Success is at least splitting the BCS bowl games and winning two of the others. So 3-4 overall won't be something to write a sonnet about, but it won't deserve nationwide ridicule.

Colorado_pac-12Assessing Year One of the Pac-12 - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

The first year of the Pac-12 looked about like the last year of the Pac-10, didn't it? Oregon won the conference. Stanford and Andrew Luck were good enough to get a second BCS bowl invitation. There was a lot of inconsistency and mediocrity thereafter.

The biggest differences? The obvious: Two divisions. Two new teams. And USC returning to the elite after an 8-5 season.

The big question for you guys, though, is this: Did it feel different? Was something gained? Or lost?

On the typing, interviewing, analyzing and being snarky end of things -- my job -- I enjoyed the changes.

It felt like growth. I like a conference championship game. If USC had been eligible -- it will be going forward -- we would have had a fantastic top-10 matchup. The folks at Oregon and the Pac-12 seemed to work well together well putting on a good show. Sure, the new marketing push is something different for a patrician conference, but things didn't go overboard.

And I think the No. 1 seed hosting the game makes sense. ...Look, athletic directors, I get it that scheduling is difficult and scheduling a potential fourth nonconference game is a burden. But you are hurting your teams. Your job is not to make your job easy. It's to help your team be successful.

The nine-game conference schedule is a negative for the Pac-12, period.

From Worst To First - 35 Bowl Games Ranked By Level Of Interest - Crimson And Cream Machine

Thirty-five bowl games means that seventy football teams have "qualified" to play in this year's post season. I'm old enough to remember the evolutionary process of being bowl eligible processing from needing a winning record, to just being .500 to now just being marketable despite a losing record.

Colorado_pac-12Athletic directors say college football playoff 'inevitable' - ESPN

A panel of ADs at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Wednesday voiced opposition for a large playoff in football's top tier but agreed that a four-team format seemed likely down the road. Washington's Scott Woodward says he supports the plus-one model and believes it will "eventually" happen.

Colorado_pac-12Mike Leach's Press Conference Shows How Fun This Ride Will Be - CougCenter

Notes and quotes from Mike Leach's press conference. He's going to be fun to watch.

Colorado_pac-12Arizona State Sun Devils pull coaching offer to SMU Mustangs' June Jones, sources say - ESPN

SMU coach June Jones had accepted an offer to coach Arizona State and minor contract points were being ironed out, a source said, when his representatives today received a call saying the offer had been pulled. The source said Arizona State's explanation was that "it took too long" and the school president was moving on. "We had accepted the deal," the source said. "I've never seen anything like this."

Colorado_pac-12Time for Coach Leach on the Palouse. Bill Moos got it done. - CougCenter - Click for the Wazzu-pirate flag; stay for the amateur pirate-talk

Colorado_pac-12Chase Hansen, Deseret News' POY, will compete for starting job this spring - Block U

he Deseret News named Chase Hansen, the Lone Peak quarterback and future Utah star, their player of the year. They also dropped this little juicy nugget: The past Sunday Hansen and his family met with Utah assistant coaches Norm Chow and Jay Hill, and everyone agreed that it was in the best interests of all parties for Hansen to compete for the starting job next fall instead of going on his LDS mission first.

2011 Heisman Trophy Watch: The Right Man Might Win -

This year, the Heisman Trophy looks like it will end up being bestowed upon the most outstanding player in the country. This doesn't always happen.

BlogPoll, Week 15: BCS Rankings Reversed As Oklahoma State, Not Alabama, Is No. 2 -

Wack Ballot Watchdog Usually, I use this space to try to figure out who did what completely wrong. Today, I use it praise for ballots with teams outside the conventional wisdom: Linebacker U's vote for Ohio, One Foot Down's faith in Louisville, Bearcats Blog's respect for Western Kentucky, and The Ralphie Report's ranking of California.

Colorado_mediumJUCO Defensive End Morgan Breslin Visits Colorado - SB Nation Denver

Breslin has had the most sacks out of the junior college ranks in California with14.5 sacks as a freshman and 13.5 sacks as a sophomore. His rating is all over the board and is a four-star recruit according to Rivals, Scout has him as a two-star and 247 Sports lists him as a three-star recruit.

Here are some highlight clips of Breslin...

Colorado_mediumBrooks: After Slow Start, Dinwiddie's Game Coming On -

His name has always set him apart, his basketball talent takes it from there. Seven games into his career at the University of Colorado, Spencer Dinwiddie is finding himself, although he realizes the discovery process is ongoing.

The gifted freshman from Woodland Hills, Calif., might not have expected much of a break-in period at the college level, but he encountered one nonetheless. CU's first five games offered glimpses of Dinwiddie's overall capabilities, but the most recent two games have been more in focus with a bigger picture that coach Tad Boyle envisioned when Dinwiddie signed with the Buffs a year ago.

A seven-game starter, Dinwiddie totaled 24 points in his first five college outings. But he's led CU with 16 points in each of the past two games against Georgia, a 70-68 win, and Colorado State, a 65-64 loss.

Colorado_mediumBrooks: Young Buffs Regain FT Touch, Edge Bulldogs -

A veteran basketball team with a 15-point halftime lead is pretty close to being a certain winner. A young team clutching the same advantage . . . no guarantees. With his team up 38-23 at intermission on Wednesday night, Colorado men's coach Tad Boyle fervently tried to head off the onset of complacency, telling his young Buffaloes, "Don't play the scoreboard, play the possession on both sides of the ball . . . it wasn't something we didn't talk about, but sometimes all you can do as a coach is talk. (Players) have to take it out on the floor and do it."

Colorado_mediumIn-State Battle Thursday As Buffaloes Host Denver -

Colorado has shown early balance with four players averaging between nine and 18 points per game and seven averaging at least five per contest. The Buffaloes are averaging 71.0 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the field. CU's defense has held its opponents to 53.7 points per game, ranking third best in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage (.719) and rank third in rebounding defense (32.4 rpg) and scoring margin (+17.3) and fourth field-goal percentage defense (.335).

After a slow start the Buffaloes are steadily improving on the glass and from the free-throw line. After shooting just 61.5 percent from the free-throw line over the first two games (24-of-39) CU is 77.3 percent over the last five (58-of-75). After being out-rebounded in the season-opening win over Northern Arizona, Colorado has won the battle of the boards the last six games, including an impressive plus-33 margin against San Francisco (53-20).

Colorado_mediumBrenna Malcolm-Peck ready to move past injuries, play for CU Buffs - Buffzone

During the past two seasons, Brenna Malcolm-Peck has had one of the best seats possible for watching Colorado women's basketball. Problem is, she didn't come to CU to be a spectator. She came to play basketball and, with the exception of some spot time two years ago, she has done very little of that.

A series of injuries has kept Malcolm-Peck off the court since the latter half of the 2009-10 season. "Not being able to do what you love every day is definitely a challenge," said Malcom-Peck, a sophomore from Boulder whose twin sister, Meagan, is a starter for the Buffs.

"To do rehab every day is kind of strenuous. But, getting to watch my teammates do so well has been a fantastic experience." Brenna is hopeful that a return from her latest injury, a concussion, will come soon. She returned to practice on Tuesday, but it will take some time to get into shape and for her to learn how to be involved in the Buffs' game plan.

"We have to be careful on how we work her back in and making sure we don't go too fast," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. For Brenna, the return to the court can't come soon enough.

Colorado_mediumRoberson bounces back for CU Buffs - Buffzone

Andre Roberson said his approach was the same. A week after scoring one point in a loss to Colorado State, the 6-foot-7 forward matched his career-high with 21 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and a clutch 9-for-9 effort at the line. Roberson's inspired play, including 10 rebounds, highlighted Colorado's 71-64 victory over Fresno State on Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.

"I just think we shared the ball a lot more and that really played out well," Roberson said. CU head coach Tad Boyle didn't see the same approach from the talented sophomore. "Andre was dialed in mentally. You could see it from the very beginning," Boyle said.

"Hopefully it doesn't take a couple made jumpers every game to feel that way, but you could tell that definitely helped his mojo."

Roberson made back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a personal 8-0 run that helped stake the Buffs to a 20-point lead in the first half.

Go Buffs!