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Day after thoughts: Buffaloes fall to Utes 30-7

Colorado’s offense couldn’t get it going in the loss.

NCAA Football: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The 500th game at Folsom Field will be one the Colorado Buffaloes football program might want to forget. On a snow filled day in Boulder, the Buffaloes fell to the Utes 30-7 and are now 2-6 against their division rivals since joining the Pac-12 conference. Here are my three biggest takeaways from Colorado’s loss to Utah:

1. Inept offense dooms Buffaloes once again

“We’re just inept on offense right now, that’s the best way to put it.” Head coach Mike MacIntyre said following the loss. “We’ve got to find a way to move the ball better and get some points.”

MacIntyre’s offense managed just 196 total yards against Utah, their lowest output of the season. In their five wins this season, the Buffs offense averaged 490.6 yards per game. Since then, they are averaging a mere 323.3 yards per game. And that number is inflated thanks to a 536-yard performance in their overtime loss to Oregon State. What has happened to this offense? Tyler Lytle’s 33-yard completion to Juwann Winfree in the 4thquarter was the only Buffs play that went for 20-yards or more against Utah. They’re simply not taking enough shots downfield. If the Buffs want to have any shot of playing into December, they’re going to have to throw the ball downfield more against California next week. They certainly have the playmakers to do this. Of course, it doesn’t help when your offensive line gives up six sacks as they did against Utah. Better protection and taking more chances on throws longer than 15-yards might do wonders for this offense.

2. Fast starts are great, but will the Buffaloes ever play a complete game again?

The Buffaloes only score against Utah came in the form of a Travon McMillian 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Colorado has outscored their opponents 94-31 in the first quarter this season. In fact, in their last five games, (at Wash, vs. Ore St., at Ariz, vs. Wash St., vs. Utah) they’ve outscored their opponents 38-0 in the first quarter. In the second, third and fourth quarters of those same games however, they’ve been outscored 171-57. They have also managed just four points per game in the fourth quarter in those contests.

3. Where does Colorado rank when it comes to head coaching jobs?

Now that we know that Mike MacIntyre has coached his final game for the Buffaloes, this scribe got to thinking, just where does Colorado rank when it comes to head coaching positions these days? It’s not an elite level position like Alabama, Ohio State or Texas. It’s not even a top tier position like Georgia, Penn State or USC. So where does the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes fall?

Back in June, 247Sports.com’s Chris Hummer ranked college football’s best jobs entering the 2018 season using a points system. Not surprisingly, Colorado failed to crack the Top 26 on Chris’ list. When ranking the best head coaching jobs, Colorado most likely falls in the 40-50 range in this scribe’s opinion. So who is going to be a good fit to replace Mac?

Don’t expect an elite level or top tier coach. Colorado would be better off hiring a young up-and-comer, a no-nonsense type that can make use of the talent already in place, but also knows how to bring in a couple of elite level recruits each year. Someone that could make the Buffaloes a perennial contender in the rather wide-open Pac-12 South year in and year out.

NEXT UP: November 24 at California (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12),

The Golden Bears hold a 5-4-0 edge in the series which dates back to 1968, but the teams have split their four games since Colorado joined the Pac-12 conference. A week after beating USC 15-14 at the Coliseum, California had the week off after their game against Stanford was postponed due to poor air quality caused by wildfires. The Golden Bears boast one of the conference’s top defenses, but their offense is prone to giving up the ball. If Colorado can take advantage of Cal turnovers, they might have a chance to win and finally become bowl eligible under an interim coach.