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Post-Election Plati-'Tudes

Nov. 17, 2008 

 

Welcome to a notes and comment column, now in its ninth year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is in his 25th year as the Buffaloes director of sports information:

 

This is my 77th Plati-‘Tudes since the original one appeared on March 20, 2000 ... I wish I had more time to do more (I did 24 the first year and 18 the second), so I guess they come out with the regularity of James Bond’ movies, as more were done in the 1960s than any other decade I believe ... I did hit 300 straight football games worked, however, No. 300 was at Missouri and that score won’t be printed here. 

 

 Trivia Questions

The opening four mind benders (and a bonus since I’ve been away for months):

CU—Senior Derek Tolan set the school record for lowest stroke average for a fall season at 71.0, shattering the old mark by .15 while playing at least three more rounds than most Buffs usually do in the fall (CU played in six tournaments this fall, historically it’s usually five).  Tolan was the fifth Buff to average under 72 in the fall.  Name the only Buff to do it for the entire season and who’s 38-year old record did he break when he set the mark?

Who Am I?—My first name is also an item of clothing.  This is my time of year, as being a CU letterman in basketball, I love the start of hoops season.  I started 54 of 55 games as a Buff, and had a career blocked shot-to-assist ratio of 5-to-1.  And it’s fitting that I recently shared the stage with Mork.  Who am I?

Music—This one time child performer collaborated with Peter Gabriel on this 1989 hit song, in which the original marketing campaign when the song first received air play had the singer presented as a “mystery artist.”  Name the performer and the song.

Name That Tune—What song is this lyric passage from: “A boy tries hard to be a man ... His mother takes him by his hand ... If he stops to think he starts to cry ... Oh why.”

Name That Tune II—What song is this lyric passage from: “When the radical priest comes to get me released we is all on the cover of Newsweek.”

 

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 Quick Hits

If you haven’t stumbled on to Sporting News Today, you need to; “delivered” as they say to your inbox every morning, it’s like a 32-page paper about sports that is fresh daily.  TSN has always done a great job covering college football, and they’ve ratcheted it up several notches with this groundbreaking publication. Subscribe at www.sportingnews.com...  Here’s a rarity: Colorado’s top three rushers are all true freshmen; upon research, the Buffs are the only school in the nation to have three first-year frosh comprise the top three of any major statistical category ... Could an argument be made for the Mountain West replacing the Big East as one of the six BCS conferences?  Easily: the MWC has had three teams, Utah, TCU and BYU among the top 25 for most of the season, and currently in the top 16, whereas the Big East has had weeks where just one team was ranked and two at present, both outside the top 20. But it won’t happen: can you say TV markets?  The Big East delivers more television sets, and that’s the biggest factor ...  And count me amomg those glad to see Fox lose the BCS to ESPN; Fox basically does a subpar job on those games and uses its NFL announcers not familiar with college ball; many have often wondered why they don't use their own in-family FSN talent who know the college game, or recruit a Keith Jackson who certainly would have been willing to listen and probably do the title game ... We polled the football team for ESPN Game Day on their presidential choice, and it pretty much fell in line with the national results (Obama 50%, McCain 42%).  But what was most impressive is that of the 95 players we polled, 94 voted.  Now that’s what this country is all about! ... Sorry to see the men’s cross country streak of 12 Big 12 titles come to an end, but it took Oklahoma State going overseas to import athletes to do it, something many schools have resorted to in track for their distance participants but something CU coach Mark Wetmore absolutely will not do.  Kudos, Mark  ... Here are some tidbits from the university via journalism dean Paul Voakes recent “Friday Notz” column: The incoming 2008 freshman class numbers 5,843, the largest ever at CU, which include 117 who ranked No. 1 in their high school class and 1,129 with grade point averages of 4.0 or higher.  The average SAT score of the group is 1175, and the high school sending the most “first-years” to UCB is Cherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.) with 166 graduates. 

 

 Memories Of Eddie         

Since the last P-‘Tudes, we at the University of Colorado have lost one of our all-time icons, former head football coach and athletic director Eddie Crowder.  We lost Eddie on Sept. 9 from complications of leukemia at the age of 77.  There aren’t many administrators left with ties back to the early 1960s, if any, and when they pass, a little bit of our history goes with them.  Eddie was always very good to me, and though my experience of working with him one-on-one officially for CU was short-lived (I was the last hire he made as athletic director, as he okayed my selection as SID on July 24, 1984, and he officially retired a month later), he was a great confidant up until the time of his death.  We were very fortunate to get Eddie to pen the afterword in the Colorado Football Vault book, as they were his last public words about the university he loved so much. 

 

 Now It Can Be Told

I had no desire to become “Joe the S.I.D.” during the recent presidential campaign, but as is my style, I like to have some fun.  Every Saturday, we get an e-mail from Brett Edgerton at ESPN to send in our nominations for the “Helmet Sticker” awards that Reece Davis, Mark May and Lou Holtz hand out at the end of the day’s action.  After we lost at Texas A & M by a 24-17 score, I sent in an e-mail saying that while we didn’t have anyone to nominate for a helmet sticker award, but CU had actually won the game by a 29-12 score when applying the Obama “Spread The Wealth” theory as it applied to sports.  Meaning the team with the most points had to give half of its total to the other team, which got to keep what it scored and take half of what the bigger earner made.  Brett printed out the e-mail for the trio, which I was informed laughed hysterically when they read it.  Fortunately for me, it didn’t make the air just three days before the election or some nosy government official might be checking to see if I was registered public relations professional on my tax records (which I am).

 

Obama is also pushing for a playoff, said he'd "throw his weight around for it"... please, please, no more politicians interfering with sports; you have enough to worry about with the economy, terrorism, health care, etc.  We don't need another dog-and-pony show like the parade of baseball players answering questions to grandstanding politicians.  If the public is really clamoring for a playoff, let's state what the big reason is: some want office pools just like college basketball.  Playoffs and tournaments have proven to render the bulk of the regular season meaningless, and college football has the most important regular season in all of sports.  As I've said many a time in these pages before, get the BCS right, and the way to do that I am convinced is to junk all the computer rankings and add a 24-person human poll of the broadcasters who call the national games week-in and week-out and go to a plus-1 format with the natural No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3 semifnals feeding a title game.

 

 Hall of Fame         

This year’s CU Athletic Hall of Fame inductions were really something special; what a great class.  To see Claude Walton enter the Hall at the age of 95 was the icing on the cake on the evening, and every single inductee had memorable quotes.  I thought Dave Logan had the best when he said, “Anyone who has ever run out behind the buffalo, there is a special bond and a special feeling.  It is such a high to run out behind the buffalo that there’s nothing else that can match it in your life.  Once you wear the black and gold, it’s black and gold forever.”

 

 Ouch

The football team has lost 109 games due to injury or illness so far in 2008 (as of November 15), a number that will be no less than 120 when including the future missed games of 11 players who have been lost for the season.  All but 10 of those 109 are by players who figured in either the two-deep or prominently on special teams.  The Buffs are a bit shorthanded as Hawkins & Staff continue to rebuild the CU roster, but have 20 on the inactive roster now (10 injured, six ineligible, four transfers), not including 16 freshmen ticketed for a redshirt season.   CU hasn’t seen a year like this where so many key players were lost to injuries, but at least numbers like this do prove to be an aberration and figure to be much lower next season. 

 

 Some Things Defy Logic

This seems so simple, yet bewildering that something’s not done about it.  The United States Under-20 Team conducts mandatory practices throughout the year to prepare for the FIFA World Cup.  But FIFA times the start of tournament, which drags on for some eight months, with the NCAA women’s championship tournament.  Teams that advance to the NCAA’s no doubt fill the bulk if not the entire U.S. team roster.  Thus, the girls are forced to choose to between redshirting the entire season or leave their teams to attend these practices, which CU’s Nikki Marshall had to do.  Marshall chose to play this season because she knew the team was going to be good and that the season could be special.  She already missed some time earlier in the season to attend some practices.   The U.S. college system is different from everywhere else in the world, so you would think FIFA would cooperate so that these kids aren’t placed in such a predicament.  Instead, CU was one of several schools without its top player.  Now is this why CU lost 1-0 to South Dakota State in the first round of the playoffs?  Head coach Bill Hempen would never use that as an excuse, and when you’re seeded 16th, he’d say that it should have been overcome in the first round for certain.  But it still messes with team chemistry and it obviously never hurts to have your star player for an entire playoff run.  Still, congratulations are due this team, which finished second in the Big 12 tournament and finished the year with a 14-5-4 record.  (By the way, you can watch Marshall and the US U-20 team take on France this Wednesday on ESPN2 at 11:00 a.m. mountain.)

 

 Orange Bowl 75th Anniversary Team

Colorado has two players on the Orange Bowl’s 75th anniversary team – G Joe Romig (1961) and CB Deon Figures (1990-91).  Help out these Buffs by voting for them at http://www.miamifly.net/business/orange/vote.php.

 

 CU-CSU Rivalry

The Sporting News recently published a list, “Ranking the Rivalries” and came up with what it thought was the top 20 rivalries in college football.  Alabama-Auburn was first, followed by Michigan-Ohio State, Harvard-Yale, Army-Navy and Notre Dame-USC to round out the top five; CU-Nebraska ranked 15th.  I noticed that the rivalries selected were all either BCS versus BCS or non-BCS versus non-BCS in nature; I naturally wondered what it thought the top BCS vs. non-BCS rivalry was and where CU-Colorado State would rank.  Matt Hayes, who coordinated the ranking, answered me with: BCS versus non-BCS?  It’s gotta be No.1; seriously, there are no others at that level with that passion.”  I figured the game would be right there, with the most serious completion being Notre Dame-Air Force, AFA-Army, AFA-Navy or maybe one with Fresno State or Boise State, but there aren’t many BCS/non-BCS matchups where the teams play every year.

 

 Book Update         

Colorado Football Vault is apparently doing very well, judging by the 500 or so copies I have signed.  Should you a copy autographed, just drop me a line, many people swing by the office.  I’m a little embarrassed about it all, as I am no Hemingway (or Danielle Steele for that matter).

 

 Flag Program Wraps Its Seventh Season

(Courtesy Tom Gleason, Denver Buff Club President)

 

CU football fans traveling Highway 36 to Boulder on a crisp fall afternoon begin experiencing the excitement of college football long before they arrive at Folsom Field, thanks to hundreds of black and gold CU flags that line the highway for five miles prior to each home game.  The CU flag program is a project of The Denver Buff Club (DBC), which for seven years has arranged for the colorful display of CU loyalty to greet players and fans traveling to the game along the stretch of highway between the Broomfield and Louisville exits now known as “The Buffalo Highway.”  A banner proclaiming “Ralphie’s Route” is placed in front of Sil-Terhar Motors before every home game by Kent Jonsson, a salesman at the auto dealership.  It signals the start of the flags to drivers as they clear the Broomfield overpass.

 

“When we launched the project,” former DBC President Jerry Johnson said, “we believed it to be the only highway flag project in the country.  I have traveled to more than 75 Division I-A football stadiums and have never seen anything like it.  We started from scratch, designed the sleeve-stake that is permanently paced in the ground, bought flag poles, attached the flags, negotiated with the property owners and found a crew to install the flags three hours before kickoff on game day.”

 

“This unique initiative, coordinated by volunteers, represents the passion of our support base that makes the University of Colorado the special place that it is and distinguishes the Buffs as a national game day leader in pageantry and pride,” says athletic director Mike Bohn.

 

The flags are raised by a small crew supervised by Chris Bates, whose son, Justin (’02), lettered four times for the Buffs as an offensive lineman.  Braving extremes of weather that can range from scorching summer temperatures to late season snowstorms, Chris and her workers deploy the flags several hours before kick-off and then gather them up after each game has begun.  As they work, they often receive appreciative “honks” from passing motorists.

 

“The Buffalo Highway’ flag program embodies the spirit of Buff fans on game day,” added Larry Muse, also a former president of the DBC.  “When those flags pop up on the horizon, CU fans begin to ‘get their game face on’ and our opponents know they are entering ‘our house.”

 

To join the Denver Buff Club, visit www.cubuffs.com and click on “Buff Club” at the top of the page.

 

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 The P-‘Tudes Mailbag

The usual grab-bag of questions fired my way by P-‘Tudes readers and others that I thought others would be interested in:

 

Q: What is up with the revolving door on our (football) uniforms?  We have made yet another change?

A: The change on this year’s uniforms was due to new technologies... the bumps (a tonal resin application) on the top of the shoulder pad and between the legs have a functional purpose.  They provide a slick surface so there is less friction in these areas, so it is not a cosmetic change.  It would be like a new type of helmet or facemask.  Upon seeing the new technology, the addition was requested by coach Dan Hawkins.

 

Q: Why do player heights seem to change and it’s always that they are shorter?

A: Well, no one ever says they are shorter than they are, and there is no mandatory measuring of high school recruits so everyone goes with what the kids say.  The coaches eyeball them so even though someone might say they are 6-3 and they’re 6-0½, they know.  We get our heights in the summer from strength and conditioning, who works in concert with sports medicine.  They often differ a bit year to year, and it could come down to posture on the old scales.  We try to be dead on, as no one wants a reputation for inflating heights when it comes time for players to get measured for the NFL, NBA or WNBA.  

 

Q: If you had to list the top five opponent running backs you’ve seen in your time at CU, who would you select?

A: That’s a tough one, as I’ve been here and have seen a few Heisman Trophy winners.  In no particular order and without investing a lot of time, the ones that immediately pop into mind are Mike Rozier (Nebraska), Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State), Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma), Cecil Sapp (Colorado State) and Darren Sproles (Kansas State).  Thurman Thomas (OSU) could be in there, as could Ricky Williams (Texas), Billy Sims (OU) and Corey Dillon (Washington).  Top fives are hard, if I really invested a lot of time in it, the list would grow, adding players like Steve Bartalo (CSU) and any of those Nebraska fullbacks (e.g., Cory Schlesinger) that were thorns in our side when we played them.

 

Q: I liked your memory list from the last edition.  I’d like to know how technology has changed your job since you’ve been a constant for so long.

A: I’m a constant?  That reminds me of the late Fred Casotti’s thoughts of being the school’s historian: “Historian is a position that demands great age” was one of my favorite quips by him.  Like any job, I am sure it’s changed things close to 100 percent.  The best example I can come up with would be the weekly release in football and basketball and road trip advances.  We’d rush and do the releases on Sundays, make 500 or so copies, careful to stay within one ounce so we didn’t have extra postage, collate, staple and stuff envelopes or mailers and get them down to the postal annex in Denver by Sunday night so they’d hopefully be delivered in the state by Tuesday and outside the state by Wednesday.  Now it’s a click on the keyboard and you can send dozens of pages via PDF.  I remember when I first started advancing football trips, I’d leave on Tuesday, usually arrive in time for the other school’s weekly media luncheon, brining releases and highlight clips with me.  I’d have the highlights on those huge old beta tapes and I would have to go from TV station to station to have them dub it.  In Oklahoma City, one station (KFOR) would have the visiting team SID appear on the 6 o’clock news in the sports segment and do a little Q&A.  Now that’s old school!

 

Q: Okay official scorer-breath, what would you have ruled on the slow roller to C.C. Sabathia?

A: (This is in regards to the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher and the scorer’s call of a play ruled a hit, whereas an error would have allowed him a no-hitter).  Myself and Dave Einspahr, the scorers for the Colorado Rockies, both agreed that we would have scored it a hit.  Sure, it could probably go either way, so it’s not the controversy of the decade, but I will say this: if there is any other number than 0 under the H on the scoreboard and you score that play an error, both dugouts would be calling the press box complaining, “How you score that an error when his only play was trying to bare hand the ball?”   We have been schooled that there is no such thing as a “routine major league play” which is what a lot of announcers like to say.  What happened there is the one thing most if not all of us scorers dread, and you hope the first hit is a clean hit. 

 

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Where They Are Now

Kathy Gonzales recently wrote in to update us on her two former CU wide receiver sons, Daniel (’04) and Marcus (’05).  She informed me being the proud mother that she is that both graduated from the University of Phoenix with master’s degrees in Business this past July 19.   Daniel earned his bachelor’s from CU in Economics while Marcus’ was in International Affairs.  Both are currently employed by the University Of Phoenix, Daniel as a financial aid advisor and Marcus as an academic advisor, and both reside in Tempe, Ariz., but still both have season tickets for the Buffs.  Any former teammates wanting to catch up with one or the other or both can find them at Marcus.Gonzales@Phoenix.edu or Daniel.GonzalesJr@Phoenix.edu and welcome hearing from any Buffs visiting the Phoenix/Tempe area.

 

Website(s) of the ‘Tude

This is kind of cool, tells you how many days/seconds, etc., that you’ve been alive (plus you get an appreciation for just how much a billion is, dollars politicians throw around like it’s an easy number to access: http://www.paulsadowski.com/birthday.asp.  And speaking of which, is there anything more fun than catching a politician taking up both sides of an issue years apart proving they go with the prevailing wind?  If you enjoy that, check out this: http://www.bercasio.com/movies/dems-wmd-before-iraq.wmv.  And our own Mason Crosby was one of several players featured in an NFL series of commercials for fantasy football.  Similar to the commercial where Labron James made all those full court shots, Mason kicks a football three times and rings a bell; did he actually do it?  No—the bell was something like 400 feet in the air, which translates to at least a 133-yard field goal.  The link: http://www.packerholic.com/2008/07/29/packers-commercials/.

 

 Congrats Shouts

Ø       To former women’s basketball player Kate Fagan (’02), whose career in journalism has now taken her to the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she recently was named the beat writer for the Philadelphia 76ers.  

Ø       To former Buff quarterback Joel Klatt (’05), who was studio analyst for FSN’s new Big 12 Conference regional show this fall and has done so well that he may very well be in line to become one of game analysts in the future.

 

 Things That Make You Go Hmmm....  

I’m as sad as anyone to see Matt Holliday leave the Colorado Rockies, but in these tough economic times, you’re not going to get any sympathy for turning down $18 million a year for playing baseball.  But as long as fans keep paying $8 for a hot dog and $6 for  a coke to go with $72 tickets, runaway salaries will continue.  And rumor has it that four seats behind home plate at the new Yankee Stadium will cost $810,000.  YIKES!

 

 This Tudes’ Number: 242

That’s the number of games that the football team scored in consecutively between 1988 and this year, with the streak coming to an end with the 58-0 loss at Missouri.  It was the third longest active streak at the time and the ninth longest in NCAA Division I-A/FBS history, so it was a big-time deal.  I’ve been asked several times why we didn’t try t kick a field goal at the end to preserve the streak; you know, trailing 58-0 and trotting the field goal team out there with 10 seconds to go is not the way to continue the streak.  At no point in the 242-game run did we do that to avert a shutout; each field goal that stood alone as our lone score was made when the game was enough in doubt where we needed to get on the board in some manner to make the next possession worthwhile.  That wasn’t the case when it was 58-0.  We all would have liked to see it continue, but not at the expense of being ridiculed to do so.

 

Trivia Answers

CU—Kane Webber.  As a senior, he averaged 71.46 strokes per round in 2003-04, breaking Hale Irwin’s record of 72.04 set in 1966-67.

Who Am I?Poncho Hodges.  A member of the Buffs basketball team in 1991-92 and 1992-93, he remains one of the school’s all-time great shot blockers.  He recently appeared with Robin Williams in License To Wed.  Check out Poncho’s page on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1523482/. 

Music—None other than Donny Osmond of “Sweet and Innocent” and “Puppy Love” fame as the pre-pubescent singer of the Osmonds.  The song was Soldier of Love.

Name That Tune—I Will Follow, by U2.  Some of the instrumental portion of the song can be heard in perhaps the worst teen movie ever made, The Last American Virgin (1982), a movie seemingly made around the lyrics of the same four or five songs.

Name That Tune II—Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, by Paul Simon.

 

“Plati-‘Tudes” features notes and stories that may not get much play from the mainstream media; offers CU’s take on issues raised by those who have an interest in the program; answers questions and concerns; and provides CU’s point of view if we should disagree with what may have been written or broadcast.   Have a question or want to know CU’s take on something?  E-mail Dave at david.plati@colorado.edu, and the subject may appear in the next Plati-‘Tudes.  

 

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