When Mike MacIntyre took over as head football coach at Colorado, his task was to turn around a program that stumbled through a 1-11 season in 2012. We suspect any significant improvement to this record will produce a Rocky Mountain High among Buffaloes fans. MacIntyre brings a successful resume from San Jose State to Boulder. The question is: Does he have the manpower to produce real results at CU?
At first glance, Colorado appears to be an easy opponent for the Arizona State Sun Devils on Oct. 12 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Apart from one dazzling quarter of play against Washington State, the Buffaloes were almost completely hopeless last season. They lost to Sacramento State and Colorado State. They lost by 56 to Oregon, 55 to Fresno State, 48 to Stanford, 44 to USC, 35 to Washington, 34 to Arizona State, and 28 to UCLA.
Take a look at the bigger picture, and it’s even worse: Colorado hasn’t won six games since 2007, hasn’t finished above .500 since 2005, has lost 22 games in the past two seasons and must find a way to win in one of the nation’s most competitive conferences.
Not all of the news is gloomy for MacIntyre and his staff. Colorado returns its top three wide receivers from a year ago, as well as 2011 standout Paul Richardson (back at full strength after missing all of last season with a knee injury). CU also has high hopes for sophomore running back Christian Powell (691 yards, 7 touchdowns).
The schedule outlook at Colorado is mixed for 2013. The Buffaloes miss Stanford but they also do not get to play Washington State this year and the Cougars provided their only win last season. Five of CU’s nine games will be on the road and the non-conference slate includes two difficult games. Things won’t get any easier at home, with Oregon, Arizona and USC paying visits to Boulder.
After its homecoming matchup with Arizona, Colorado must travel to UCLA and Washington for back-to-back conference showdowns. Pac-12 road games are never easy late in the season, and certainly not for teams trying to rebuild.
Colorado’s opener in Denver against Colorado State will have monumental implications for the struggling Buffaloes program. MacIntyre’s team needs to defeat its in-state rival to regain bragging rights in the Rocky Mountain region. Getting off to a fast start in the 2013 season may be even more important.