Before the 2009 season started, there were a lot of people who thought that Colorado would be a dark horse in the Big 12 North. Husker Mike had them pegged, as did Bill C at Rock M Nation. Me? I was one that thought they'd have a decent season. You're probably wondering what I was thinking. I don't blame you.
Entering the season, there were two things that stood out that gave me hope that Colorado wouldn't fall apart this season (more on that comment in a bit) - the exorbitant number of injuries the Buffaloes suffered last season and my faith in Colorado coach Dan Hawkins.
Hawkins entered the 2009 season with a 13-24 record over his first three years. It's turned into 16-32 as we head into the game this week, an abysmal failure particularly when compared to the 53-11 record and four WAC championships he racked up during the five years he was at Boise State. If he'd have been half the coach he was at Boise State, he'd still be kicking some butt, and that's where I went wrong. I figured that there was no way that Colorado would finish another season below .500. Yet here they are, guaranteed a losing season for the second consecutive year.
If you took Hawkins' "The worst day as a Buffalo fan is better than the best day as a Husker fan" comment as anything other than political stumping, you need a better sense of humor. And tell me you didn't enjoy his "Go play intramurals brother" rant. Both gave Husker fans a great sense of joy because they gave us so easy a target to hate.
Then there's the man. Husker fans admire Bo Pelini for his passion. Hawkins, too, has that same passion. If you want your son to go play for a coach, wouldn't it be someone that showed so much spark and fire? Isn't that who you'd want for a head coach?
Back to that "hope that Colorado wouldn't fall apart this season" comment.
If this season has taught us something, it's that we need good competition in our half the conference to have any level of national respect. Right now the Big 12 North is seen as a laughingstock. Evidence of that is the fact that Nebraska has won the North but still isn't ranked in the AP Top 25.
Whether we like it or not, the Colorado rivalry has been forced upon us by the Big 12 conference and the need for a larger television audience. For the first time in years, the game this week will have no meaning for anyone besides the teams themselves. We cannot ruin their season by making them miss a bowl game. They cannot ruin our shot at the Big 12 title game. At the moment at which the whole nation will be watching, there's not a lot of reason for them to do so. That doesn't help either team on a national level, nor does it help in recruiting.
I take no joy in Dan Hawkins demise. I have no idea of whether or not a loss against the Huskers will be his last game with the Buffs, but if it is, I'll be sad to see him go. It's not because he's a loser. It's because he at least was interesting while he was there.