Examining CU Football, Pac-12, and Big XII Football over the last 10 years using The Hist-O-Graph...and then saying stuff
After publishing articles #1 & 2, I realized that no matter how much I wanted to write these articles last June, it's not June. So instead of the original plan of clumping together teams with a similar recent history, it's going to be by opponent. Each Pac-12 team we face will be paired off with a Big XII team who's similar...here' goes.
#1: Introduction: Colorado (Confused? Start Here. Confused and lazy? Too bad!)
The California Golden Bears Hist-O-Graph: Deal with the Devil
Cal's football teams in the years prior to the beginning of the chart weren't any better than you see; 3-8, 5-6, 4-7. Then, after they went 1-10 enough was enough. They hired Jeff Tedford (from the Oregon booth), made a deal with the devil, and promptly won se7en games. This was with a team whose sole win in '01 was against a 2-9 Rutgers team. In '02 however, four of those seven wins came against bowl-bound teams. Cal themselves would've gone to a bowl were it not for Neuheisel-esque "academic infractions of the prior administration."
Fast-forward to '06, where they've collected a few years of recruiting classes who aren't exclusively 2-star players. They win 10 games, lose only to a non-awful Tennessee in their opener, an 11-2 USC, and Arizona. Wait...Arizona? Yeah, a 6-6 'zona at that.
Cal missed winning the Pac-10 by 4 points and instead had to be Co-Conference Champions/Best Buddies with USC. Think of it as the Pac-10's version of going to the Big-XII championship game and laying an egg. I'm sure you don't know any teams who've done that.
And then... not much. Cal won 9 games in '08, but for all the pain we took from them last season, they only won 5 games, and some they lost in pretty convincing fashion. That said, their recruiting appears to have remained strong despite petering off in the wins category. In all the hist-o-graphs, Cal is one of the teams whose records aren't quite as solid as their recruiting; for all the talent they net they should be better. I don't know which thought is worse; that we laid such an egg last year, or that Cal should've been better.
Astonishing to me is that they had a 10-win season three years after going 1-10. Seriously. Souls? Sold. To the Devil. The fact that they've dropped off in the last few years (4 straight bowl wins to no bowl) tells me that ol' Jeff Tedford hasn't been keeping up with his part of The Deal. Cal fans should expect some tough years ahead. Or, you know, human sacrifice...
There's a Big XII team they're remarkably similar to. You may remember them as...
"Hi, I'm Troy McClure! You may remember me from such edu-tational films as Three Men and a Bunsen Burner and Missouri, We Have a Gimmick"
The Missouri Tigers Hist-O-Graph: Three Men and a Bunsen Burner
Pretty similar deal; you have a less-bad Mizzou from the 90's that replaced their coach for too many 3-8's. Then Pinkel came in and slowly stopped losing to Colorado ('04) and decided to stop scheduling Bowling Green State, who gleefully dismantled them two years running (01-02).
Missouri's arc is similar to Cal, the were bad, then they were good, they won the North well enough to play for the championship a couple times, and now they're less good. The primary difference is that they did it with far less 4 and 5 star talent. Go back up and look at Cal and then come back. That little black sliver at the top? That's all the 5-star talent that Mizzou's grabbed in the last ten years.
I know that Mizzou invokes a bad taste in most people's mouth, and that's part of why I've paired them with Cal. With last year in mind, and how badly Cal plays on the road, I forsee Cal potentially becoming an opponent like Mizzou, no matter who wins: the score won't be close.
26 points, 29 points, 28 points, 55 points... those are CU-Mizzou scores, and three of those are CU wins. Really what I'm saying is that Cal can be one of those scary teams; they have the potential to be very good. Good, but not unbeatable. I think we have the potential to beat Cal, and to beat them soundly. Just like when Gary Barnett beat his Alma Mater four years in a row ('00-'04)
The Colorado Buffaloes Hist-O-Graph: In Case You Were Wondering