Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Cannon Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cannon_casey.
At the homecoming pep rally on Oct. 16, University of Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre guaranteed a win against the Arizona Wildcats. Colorado lost the game 38-31.
So, is it a bad thing that MacIntyre guaranteed the win and didn’t come through?
Let’s defend MacIntyre for a second. In that moment, he was just a man trying to pump up the fans and players for a big game at a homecoming parade.
He was put on the spot to say something that would get the crowd going, so he did. He didn’t come out in a press conference to say that — he said it at a rally. And what’s the point of a pep rally? It’s defined as a “meeting aimed at inspiring enthusiasm, especially one held before a sporting event.” Guaranteeing a win certainly inspires enthusiasm, wouldn’t you agree?
“You’re up there trying to get them fired up, get them going,” MacIntyre said. “It was a pep rally, excite ’em-type comment, that’s what it was. Y’all have been to pep rallies. Things [like that] are said all the time.”
So, excuse the guarantee. To his credit, Colorado did have that game won, only to squander yet another close game.
MacIntyre is now 1-20 in Pac-12 play during his tenure at Colorado. The sole win in those 21 games? Against Cal in 2013 (the Bears ended the season with a 1-11 record).
His teams continually show they can compete, but come up short in the end. I’d say they had chances at beating Oregon and Arizona this year, and Cal, UCLA, Oregon State and Utah last year. In all of those games, the Buffs went into halftime either tied or winning the game, but lost — the only exception to that pattern being a 10-point halftime deficit to UCLA. But the UCLA game ended in double overtime, so I’d say Colorado showed it could compete that game.
The second half spells bad fortune for the Buffs under MacIntyre. In his Pac-12 games alone, the Buffs have been outscored by 170 points at a cumulative score of 420-250 during all those second halves. Opponents are outscoring the Buffs in the second half by an average of about eight points a game.
The Colorado football team over the last three years has been unable to finish in Pac-12 games. Yes, they can compete. Yes, they have talent. So what’s the problem?
We can start by stating MacIntyre is not part of the problem (for now). I don’t think the team’s underachieving tendencies are entirely his fault.
MacIntyre has made this program better and has the team on the rise. The wins just aren’t there to back that statement up. This team can compete, they just have to find a way to win these close games. What that comes down to is effort, conditioning and heart. Coaching and practice can only go so far. Mac can’t go into the game. The players have to dig deep and find that heart and will to win.
Right now, MacIntyre’s contract extends through Dec. 31, 2018. Colorado football needs stability at the coaching spot, and that’s exactly what it went for when extending MacIntyre’s contract back in 2014.
At this point, a bowl game is probably out of reach for the Buffs. Colorado will come out of this season with five wins at best, maybe six if you really want to stretch it.
I guess what I’m saying is: give MacIntyre a chance. This season may be starting to look like a failure, but all the pieces are there — they just have to be put in place. Rebuilding is a process that takes time, so trust the process and results will come.