Outlook: The Buffs are a proud program, rich in tradition, and they even had a decent amount of playmakers last season. But they have fallen on really, really hard times. So hard in fact that I think it’s actually fair to say to say to the Boulder community, for the first time ever, that it’s probably not a bad idea for you to just look forward to basketball season, because truthfully that 3-10 record from last season was a really good year. If you can remember Washington State 5 years ago, that’s exactly where Colorado is at now. I mean even with Sacramento State on the schedule in week 2 I almost don’t expect this Colorado team to win a game… remember what the Hornets did to our brethren Beavers last season?
The Good: Paul Richardson will be back in 2013 for his senior season. His injury (explained below) will sideline him all of this year and therefore he won’t miss anything while the Buffs are getting beat up with this young, inexperienced team. He’s a really good athlete and will get a better chance to shine when he does return.
Coach Jon Embree won’t let this team quit, the 3 wins last season are a testament to that. Embree sees this team’s deficiencies as a challenge to overcome, not a reality of desperation. If he can get his team to see it the same way, they could potentially scrap out a game or 2 this year.
The Buffs beat the Utes in 2011! More than the game itself, the winners of this new rivalry known that they were, and are still not as good as Utah which makes the victory in the inaugural game that much sweeter. The Buffaloes have bragging rights that they won’t relinquish until the final gun this season against Utah and that’s something to celebrate!
The Bad: Well, to be blunt, there is no Division 1 talent remaining on the roster. It all either graduated or in the case of Paul Richardson (third most productive receiver and the lone explosive athlete remaining from last season) tore his ACL just 3 plays before the end of spring ball. On top of that there is no clear quarterback yet and between transfer Conner Wood from Texas and Nick Hirschman, the Buffaloes’ coaching staff doesn’t think they’ll be able to make a clear decision till a few games into the year. Really not good when your 2 most winnable games are out of the gate against Colorado State and Sac State.
No passing game and no certain running production means the Buffs will probably get run out of the building in the Conference. The defense is probably not going to be any more productive than the group that gave up 31 or more points in 9 of 13 games last year, and the offense certainly won’t be as good after losing their best receiver (Toney Clemons) and running back (Rodney Stewart), along with their starter at qb (Tyler Hansen).
Also the Pac-12 schedule is brutal with SC, Stanford and Oregon going up against CU in successive weeks just to rub it in 2/3 of the way into the season. If you’re looking for winnable games in the conference, on the surface the 2 most winnable are WSU and Arizona, but those are on the road so I think those are out. Ucla and ASU might be a better bet because they are back to back at home before the gauntlet starts up.
Summary: The basketball team will be something to watch come November. Until then, it’s gonna be a long Fall in Boulder.
Make sure to join us next week for the preview of the returning Pac-12 Champion Ducks from Oregon.