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2016 Colorado Buffaloes: Worst Case Scenario

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Here's what will happen if things go very, very bad.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Everything is terrible. That’s the theme for today’s article. Murphy’s Law applies in a big way, and then Murphy’s Law breaks because everything breaks. The Colorado Buffaloes get caught in a hurricane of bad luck, poor opportunity, and terrible play. There is a very worst case scenario for Buffs football this year, and that is what will be outlined in today’s article. Let’s paint a picture.

Before the season, it is ruled that Josh Tupou is SOMEHOW declared ineligible by the NCAA for being too good, and CU has to roll with the redshirt freshmen at nose tackle. Chidobe Awuzie gets traded to the Bruins for Nate Starks, who promptly leaves. Sefo decides to focus on school and Juwann Winfree becomes our starting quarterback. OK, that’s obviously worst case, but that will never happen. Let’s bring a little bit of reality back to this discussion, but still, you’ll be frowning for this whole article.

Opener against Colorado State. September 2nd. Primetime. ESPN. Friday night. Sefo still hasn’t fully healed from his injury, so Steven Montez gets his first live action. And he absolutely cracks. The first series ends in an interception and it goes downhill from there. He doesn’t know the new offense and drives are filled with terrible reads, missed blocking, and negative yardage. CSU shuts out CU, 24-0, and fans have to deal with stupid trash talk for 365 more days. Mike MacIntyre is firmly on the hot seat and the team is starting to lose belief.

We still beat Idaho State, because c’mon. However, it is much closer than it should have been and even fans can see the friction between Brian Lindgren and Darrin Chiaverini. That storyline worries Buff fans and is one to follow going forward.

The Buffs leave the state for the first time and travel to Michigan. Harbaugh plays with their heads and kneels on the first down of the game. CU gets too hyped after leading 7-0 at halftime. Harbaugh just stares in silence for his halftime speech and when all is said and done, the Wolverines win 42-21. Sefo Liufau, making his first start after coming back from injury, promptly gets benched for Montez, and Jim Leavitt gives the most points in his short tenure. Mike MacIntyre gets booed by the Buff contingent as he gets off the field, and he feels a little warmer every time he sits in his office chair. He wasn’t expected to beat Michigan, but that game was embarrassing.

After traveling to the Big House, CU then has to follow the Oregon Trail to Autzen Stadium. They are mentally beaten down from last week’s physical beat down, and they play as such against Oregon. Royce Freeman uses and abuses the defense, and while CU can move the ball (once again, we can’t get too unrealistic), the red zone woes strike once again and they settle for field goals. Oregon leads 28-9 at half and the team is just tired. The game ends 35-23, but it was never really that close, and Mike MacIntyre knows he has to win some at home.

The Buffs return to Boulder and luckily, they get a little bit of a break with a struggling Oregon State team. CU takes care of business, and Mike MacIntyre gets his second Pac-12 win, 30-17. Fans get a little bit of hope back, with CU sitting at 2-3 and a long season left to go. Boy, how wrong they were.

USC is next on the schedule, and the game is played in Los Angeles. CU comes in confident off a win that they needed, and they proceed to have that confidence laid out in front of them, tortured, and then shattered by a supremely talented Trojan team. The frustration is starting to mount from all of the losing. 2-4 is not a good spot to be at. They really need a statement win the next week at home, against Arizona State. The players almost expected to lose to USC on the road, which is part of the problem. But they have to beat a faltering ASU team to get to 3-4 to fight for a bowl.

That doesn’t happen. ASU comes into town with JUST enough talent to squeak by. Kalen Ballage goes off in his home state, rushing for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns, carrying every CU defender along the way. A hard, slow game, ASU wins 21-17 on the strength of their defense, which new quarterback Steven Montez just can’t figure out. He gets benched for Sefo in the second half, who gets hammered with hits. Switching quarterbacks has led to differing opinions on who should start by Chiaverini and Lindgren, which boils over into fights in the coaching meetings. It’s obvious something needs to change, sitting at 2-5. So Rick George makes a tough call, replacing Mike MacIntyre with Jim Leavitt. Everyone on the team is cautiously optimistic to see what changes.

Unfortunately, Leavitt has to play Stanford the next week. And CU plays hard for the new coach, but they just get crushed. McCaffrey goes off, the defense suffocates CU’s struggling offense, and nothing much goes right for CU. They sit at 2-6. Another not winning season is all but confirmed. The players have nothing to play for other than pride. Now the ball really starts to slip.

The students show up to the Thursday night game, but the players sure don’t. UCLA, even with half effort, wins handily and the bowl game dream is officially shattered. Sefo Liufau gets frustrated seeing his team give half effort and gets frustrated at himself for not playing better. Everything that ex-coach MacIntyre built is slipping away.

Fortunately, the same goes for Arizona. CU is at 2-7, and the Wildcats aren't much better than that. The players know that this game isn’t too crazy to win, and they still want to give Jim Leavitt his first win. They go into Tuscon and fight hard, and eventually win, 27-24. The players are elated and the team remembers just how fun winning is. But that doesn’t stop them from continuing to lose.

The team is 3-7, and they have a two week home-stand. The hope for 5-7 is still alive and therefore the hope to sneak into a bowl. Washington State dashes that hope, just to have Utah stomp on it the next week. Luke Falk has his way with the CU defense, and a surprisingly stout Cougar defense doesn’t have to much to stop a CU offense that can’t get out of its own way. A defeated CU team goes into a Utah game playing with nothing to lose. The game stays close, as it always does against the Utes, but in a fit of dramatic irony, Sefo Liufau throws a game-sealing interception and Utah wins, 20-17.

CU ends the season 3-9, a step back from what looked to be a promising season. All of the top-flight recruits jump ship and the Buffs are left with a husk of a class and nothing to show for it. Leavitt has a rebuild in front him, if he is even retained. And Buff fans collectively sigh everywhere.

And scene. Good thing this will never happen, right guys? RIGHT?