Buffs football successful even with tough schedule
The Buffs will be going to a bowl game this year despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
CU played the third toughest schedule in all of college football, according to the Sagarin ratings that run in USA Today. Only Notre Dame and Washington had tougher schedules based on the ratings.
CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn said he thinks the team did well considering how many tough teams it played over the course of the season.
“It was very difficult for them,” Bohn said. “We played the third-toughest schedule in the country with such a young team. We try to have a balanced schedule, and this year was not balanced as well as it was last year.”
Associate athletic director Dave Plati, who does the bulk of the football scheduling for CU, said advance scheduling is often one of the major factors that contribute to the unpredictability of college football.
“Many people don’t realize that college football is scheduled way in advance,” Plati said. “Our schedule is set in stone right now probably through 2015.”
Plati said this year’s schedule was finalized about five years ago, with the exception of the Miami (Ohio) game, which was added about two years ago.
The Buffs went 6-6 this season despite their tough schedule, a huge step up from their 2-10 record last year.
Head coach Dan Hawkins said his team thrives when it’s greeted with tough games.
“To one degree it’s awesome,” Hawkins said. “It’s why you coach, and it’s why you play. But on the other side, it leaves you very little margin for error.”
The Buffs played three teams this season that were ranked in the AP Top 25 at the time they met– No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 15 Kansas and No. 9 Missouri. Four other teams broke into the AP rankings at various times during the season as well: Arizona State, Florida State, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
Missouri, a team that defeated Colorado 55-10, is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the AP Top 25 and the BCS rankings.
Many of CU’s games were also nationally televised this season, which is a potential benefit Bohn and Plati consider when scheduling non-conference games.
“First and foremost, we want to schedule teams that will have a high level of attractiveness for our fans,” Bohn said. “We want to play games that will have a national appeal to them.”
Bohn said exposure from nationally televised games tends to help with recruiting as well. But he also said he tries to schedule non-conference games that will add balance to their traditionally competitive Big 12 lineup.
“In my opinion, the Big 12 is the finest football conference in the country from top to bottom,” Bohn said. “We want to balance out the schedule with games that will help players build confidence, especially with our young team.”
Hawkins said the toughness of CU’s schedule is what makes it such a great program.
“Colorado typically plays tough non-conference games as well as in the Big 12,” Hawkins said. “We always try to use it as a positive rather than an obstacle.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Amanda Walck at email@example.com.