Happy Fourth of July! We here at the Ralphie Report love fireworks and freedom more than Jason Pierre-Paul, and we’re here to celebrate with you. On this holy day that commemorates this proud and glorious nation’s Independence — capital I — from an oppressive ruling body, we ask ourselves, “Why isn’t Colorado football free?” Better yet: “Why aren’t they Independent from conference alignment?
I’m an expert on both politics, history and college football, so I can answer that expertly.
Colorado is, and always has been, better than the Pac-12.
Colorado Buffaloes football has never been characteristically Pac-12. When the Buffs came to the Pac-12 in 2011, just about every team in the Pac-12 was a threat to win their respective division, if not compete for the Pac-12 or National Championship. But Colorado wasn’t about that action. Instead, Jon Embree wanted to have the worst product on the field just to spite their new conference. More importantly, the CU administration saw that the Pac-12 was at a critical period in securing a substantial TV deal, so Embree and his superiors decided to protest the conference and create the most unwatchable games possible. No one would watch Buffs games because the game would be over by the end of the first quarter. Surely, this horrid on-field product subverted the Pac-12’s goals, because what else could explain the Pac-12 Networks (limited) existence?
But Colorado’s protesting only began with the Embree Era. Flash-forward three years to 2016. The Pac-12 as a whole seemed to agree to have the worst season they could draw up — no one is quite sure why, but I have a theory that they needed some head coaches, most notably Mark Helfrich, to leave the conference. The Pac-12 deciding to derail itself explains the tragicomedy of UCLA and Cal, the fall of Stanford and Arizona, the horror of Oregon State and Arizona State, Oregon’s pass defense, and why USC spent their first few weeks with Sam Darnold on their bench. Of course, the Buffaloes (and Huskies) weren’t having it. They didn’t want to conform to the misery of their counterparts. Led by Sefo Liufau and Chidobe Awuzie, the Buffs turned “CU” into “F-U”. They had their best season in over a decade, won the Pac-12 South over USC, would’ve beat Michigan and USC and eventually make the Playoff if Sefo didn’t get injured, and reached the relatively prestigious Alamo Bowl, which they still would’ve lost but it wouldn’t have been a blowout if Sefo didn’t get injured again.
So why would Colorado go independent? It’s simple: Colorado doesn’t like the conformity of the Pac-12, and the Pac-12 certainly doesn’t like the counter-cultural behavior latent in the Boulder attitude. CU shouldn’t be forced into a relationship they’re unhappy with, and like my ex-girlfriend once said, “It’s not you it’s me. I want to feel free again, and with you being so clingy and insecure, it’s difficult to feel like I’m worth anything. Please, please stop crying.”
Notre Dame can do it, so why can’t CU?
Notre Dame, as you may have heard, finished 4-8 last season. The Fighting Irish were a disaster in just about every aspect of the game, and they somehow ended up cycling through just as many quarterbacks as they did coaches, even though neither of which could have possibly helped mitigate such a disaster. Magnanimous head coach Brian Kelly somehow found himself on the hot seat, even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the team’s collapse. But despite everything on the field, Notre Dame was always on national TV.
The reason Colorado should care about this? Notre Dame is an Independent team, so they’re afforded certain privileges in college football. The 2016 Fighting Irish finished their worst season since 2007, but they still got to be on NBC every Saturday. A national TV audience was there to witness every DeShone Kizer overthrow in HD and there was no stopping it. Now, Colorado doesn’t have the name recognition or alumni base as Notre Dame, but it logically follows that if the Buffs left the Pac-12 to be on their own, they would stand to make massive amounts of money on a TV deal. It could be Altitude, Root or even Boulder Channel 8, but hey, at least it couldn’t be the Pac-12 Networks.
The Buffs couldn’t get screwed over by the Rose Bowl Committee again
CU won the Pac-12 South, were rightfully next in line for the Rose Bowl after Washington got into the College Football Playoff, and had nearly beat USC on the road without their starting quarterback, but noooooo, the Rose Bowl Committee — which I can assure you was supported by the Pac-12 — wanted better attendance, better TV ratings, and more USC alumni to fill their pockets with donations, so they made the “executive decision” to invite whichever team was ranked higher in the final CFP Poll, and of course USC was going to ranked higher because not only is it impossible to beat Washington without your star quarterback, but the CFP committee is likely corrupted to some degree, and USC and the Pac-12 have significant influence in college football, so the Buffs should leave the Pac-12 because the conference is obviously fixed and biased towards the premier teams with the wealthiest donors and largest TV base.
You can’t get screwed over by the Pac-12 if you’re not in it.