Let’s start with the numbers:
Okay, let’s be a little more positive.
Of their 10 losses last season, the University of Colorado football team lost four by a total of 15 points (two of which were in overtime). Additionally, as cubuffs.com reporter Neil Woelk points out, in the fourth quarter last season the Buffs held the lead five times, were tied in the fourth once and twice were just a single score from taking the lead in the game’s final frame. Essentially, the Buffs were one play away in six games from an eight-win season.
How about something a little more concrete? Between junior quarterback Sefo Luifau and senior wide receiver Nelson Spruce, 62 Colorado records were either tied or broken last season.
That should get you excited, but probably not as excited as your friends who go to UCLA, USC, Alabama or Ohio State.
We, the students of the University of Colorado, must understand that in a sports era of “What have you done for me lately?” Rome wasn’t built in a day. But let me tell you why you probably aren’t as hyped about the CU football program as you should be.
As I enter my senior year, I‘ve realized that what makes the experience of this school so unique is how many of us come from out-of-state metropolitan cities. As many in-state students will say, all of us out-of-staters are very good representations of our hometowns.
Whether it’s the accents or local colloquialisms, there is one thing many of us share from our hometowns: a history of athletic success. It ranges from the Los Angeles kids with the Lakers and Dodgers, the Chicago kids with the Blackhawks and Bears or the New Yorkers with the Yankees and Giants. We are all used to greater and more concrete success and as a result have developed a lackadaisical attitude to Colorado football.
Which brings me back to this quote that might look familiar: “Who knows only his own generation remains always a child.” The famous quote by the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, which is inscribed above Norlin Library, not only pertains to time and history but also to stepping outside your preconceived notions in life.
You came to the University of Colorado to expand your knowledge on the world. Is it too far-fetched to apply that same concept to Colorado football?
Let me part with the philosophical aspect of this argument and dive back into some clear facts. One of the biggest problems with the CU football program for years was its lack of competitive training facilities. That all changed the day Athletic Director Rick George stepped on campus and launched the “Sustainable Excellence Initiative.”
The SEI is one of the largest capital constructions projects occurring in collegiate athletics. The project includes the construction of the new Champions Center in the Northeast corner of Folsom Field and the Indoor Practice Facility east of Folsom Field. The 337,000 square feet of construction will revolutionize CU football in the same way the Dal Ward center did in 1991.
The Champions Center includes a new team locker room, adorned with a player’s lounge and movie theater. Additionally, the facility includes state-of-the-art CU Sports Medicine and High Performance Sports centers, and the project has already entered into a partnership with Boulder Community Health.
As you can see here from this video the team released with the unveiling of the new locker rooms, the facilities are world class and that clearly strikes a tone with the players.
Along with its incredible views of the Rocky Mountains, the Champions Center makes Head Coach Mike MacIntyre’s recruiting pitch a lot easier: Come play in the best football conference in the nation, train in the best facilities and attend school at the number one-rated college town in America according to bestcollegereviews.org.
Another aspect of the growing Colorado Football program that needs more attention is the improvements to scheduling made by George. With Michigan and Nebraska in the next two years, CU football has also added Texas A&M, Minnesota and TCU to its future schedule.
Besides facilities, scheduling is one of the cornerstones to great recruiting. This will allow the Buffs to play in front of elite teams from Texas and their talent-rich state of high school football players. Also, the addition of three more Power 5 schools to the future schedule will give the football program more marquee match-ups.
Finally, it must be stated that CU does have two proven miracle workers on their football staff. MacIntyre and new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt have both been the architects of program revitalizations.
MacIntyre took the dormant San Jose State football program from a 1-12 record in 2010 to 10-2 record in 2012. Leavitt was famously hired as head coach for the new University of South Florida football program in 1995 and took the program from a FCS team (formerly Division 1-AA) to the FBS (formerly Division 1-A) and then all the way to a #2 ranking in the nation in the middle of the 2009 season.
Which brings me back to my initial point: Rome wasn’t built in a day. If CU is going to reach the all-important goal of reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2007 it will take a lot of work. But one must recognize that it takes time to turn a program around. It takes time to build facilities, recruit talented players, build a better schedule and attract the proper personnel.
On top of time, it also takes you. Give this program a chance to not only turn around its recent failures, but to also give you a team to be proud of.
CU kicks off at Hawaii Thursday, Sept. 3 at 11 p.m. M.S.T. on CBS Sports network.