Alfred Williams had the reporter, George Dohrmann, on his radio show, and Big Al took him to the woodshed. Dohrmann wasn’t going to get into “what ifs” with Al, yet his story was a classic one in the sense that he got sucker punched by a slimeball in Luchs and chose to believe a disbarred agent over reputable human beings. Very surprising to me, because my experiences with George have always been utmost professional; but in this case, he did not reach out to anyone at the school or try to use me to get Kanavis on the record before the story was published. Listen to Al’s show here: http://www.1043thefan.com/Channels/theDrive/Story.aspx?ID=1295213.
Buffs’ Rise In Late ‘80s Chronicled In New Football Book
Sports Illustrated senior writer Tim Layden has put out a magnificent book titled Blood, Sweat and Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How The Great Coaches Built Today’s Game. It tells the tale of the great gridiron plays and formations, from the minds who were responsible for putting them to work. The stories are told through legendary coaches like the late Don Coryell (his last interview), Buddy Ryan, Urban Meyer, Mike Shanahan, Rex Ryan, Bobby Bowden, Joe Gibbs, Bill Walsh, Barry Switzer, Mouse Davis, Tom Osborne and many others.
In the chapter “Option Fever,” former Colorado offensive coordinator Gerry DiNardo (1982-90) talks about meeting iconic Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry and his staff in February 1985 to investigate how the Falcons were able to successfully utilize the option. The Buffs installed the offense in spring practice that year and tweaked it till it worked, and worked it did. Here is an excerpt from the book’s Chapter 5 (Option Fever):
... The transition was comically painful. DiNardo recalls a preseason gathering in Denver with a booster club. One of the gentlemen in the audience stood up and, having heard of the conversion to the wishbone, said to McCartney, “Please tell me the first play of the season isn’t going to be a dive up the middle, because I don’t think I can stand that.”
McCartney let the question hang and then answered: “You might want to come for the second play.”
With athletes recruited to play a passing game, the Buffaloes improved from 1–10 in ’84 to 7–5 in ’85 to 8–4 in ’88, setting the stage for a two-year run at the national title. “The switch to the wishbone allowed us all to keep our jobs long enough to start recruiting players,” says DiNardo. They did exactly that, picking up the quicksilver quarterback Darian Hagan, a classic, tough and slippery wishbone QB, and running backs Eric Bieniemy and J.J. Flannigan. In their prime the Buffaloes ran their option from an I-bone, with two backs directly behind the quarterback and the second (lead blocking) halfback offset to the side, which DiNardo felt give him a better angle to throw a load block on the corner.
Colorado won 11 straight before losing to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl following the ’89 season and beat the Irish a year later, 10–9, to earn a piece of the title with Georgia Tech. “Not only did we stop a very bad slide, but we won a national championship,” says DiNardo. “Which was pretty good.”
Denver-Boulder Comes In At No. 9
In The Sporting News’ recent list of its best sports cities, the Denver-Boulder region once again made the top 10, coming in at No. 9. Twice previously the winner (1995, 1997), the Denver area is perennially a top 10 choice by the magazine. That’s tops for Big 12 Conference towns and third for Pac-10, our new home next year (Los Angeles came in at No. 3, Phoenix-Tempe at No. 7; Chicago was this year’s winner, edging Boston). Next on the list for either conference was Salt Lake City (No. 17), with the next Big 12 area coming at No. 31 (Oklahoma City-Norman).
Ralphie Ranked No. 1
There have been 49 times when the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the polls have met on the football field, the most recent being Alabama’s 37-20 win over Texas last January 7 in the BCS Championship game (44 of the those meetings have matched the top two teams in the Associated Press poll). But on Saturday, October 2, the top two teams in a different AP poll will meet in Boulder: the wire service recently did a national survey among its college poll voters on who has the coolest mascots, and Colorado and Georgia owned the top two spots. CU’s live buffalo, Ralphie V, came in ranked number one, while Georgia’s live bulldog, Uga VIII, occupied the number two spot. Ralphie made the trip to Athens in 2006, when the host Bulldogs rallied for a 14-13 win. The top dozen mascots as selected by the Associated Press:
The Ralphie Handlers posed with Uga prior to the CU-Georgia game on Oct. 2.
1. Colorado (Ralphie, live buffalo)
2. Georgia (Uga, live bulldog)
3. Florida State (Chief Osceola & Appaloosa horse)
4. LSU (Mike the Tiger; caged feline)
5. Auburn (golden eagle swoops down pregame)
6. Stanford (student in a tree costume)
7. Texas (Bevo, live longhorn steer)
8. West Virginia (the mountaineer, complete with buckskin suit and
9. Texas Tech (masked rider on a black horse)
10. Michigan State (Sparty, a costumed mascot)
11. Notre Dame (leprechaun)
12. Oregon (a fighting, costumed Donald Duck)
College Football Live?
Is it me, or does anyone else out there think ESPN’s show should be renamed SEC-Texas-Ohio State-Notre Dame-USC Live? It just seems to me the same handful of schools get 95 percent of the coverage on the show. Then there was the website’s House of Pain series, the 50 most painful losses in college football history. How balanced was that? Of 100 possible schools for the 50 games, only 41 made the list; now it obviously wasn’t going to be 100, but USC (7), Nebraska (7), Miami-Fla. (6), Ohio State (6), Texas (6), Alabama (5) and Notre Dame (5) ate up 42 of the slots. Our most painful loss? The ’90 Orange Bowl defeat to Notre Dame that cost us the national championship and a chance to be 12-0 and be on the list for the greatest college football teams of all time. The 24-7 loss at Nebraska in ’94 certainly ranks up there, as would the 21-20 loss at No. 1 Oklahoma when we missed an extra point in the final minute when going for the tie. And there was no CU-Michigan or Boston College-Miami for games ended by Hail Mary throws (but the Cal-Stanford game with the Cardinal band made the cut). Either they’re into promoting the same handful of schools or it was a poor research job—I am sure there are several others who looked at that list and wondered why their most painful loss wasn’t included.
Former Buff Netter Jim Cole, Survivor of Two Grizzly Bear Attacks, Passes
Jim Cole, who was a star tennis player as a senior at CU in 1970-71, recently passed away in Bozeman, Mont., due to natural causes at the age of 60. He is the only known person in North America to have survived two grizzly bear attacks, the first in 1993 and the second in 2007. He published three books about his life-long love affair and work photographing bears, the last one after the ’07 attack in which he lost an eye: Blindsided: Surviving a Grizzly Attack and Still Loving the Great Bear.
He played a pivotal role in during the 1971 season in which Colorado posted a second place finish in the Big Eight Conference championships. He recorded a 14-8 record in singles play, and owned a 16-6 mark in doubles action, helping the Buffaloes to an overall record of 16-7. The Chicago Sun-Times had an in-depth obituary about Cole; you can find it here: http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/2662154,CST-NWS-xcole01.article.
Longtime Supporter Dick Rogers Passes Away
Richard A. (Dick) Rogers passed away on July 21, just two weeks shy of his 83rd birthday. A good friend and supporter of all things CU, including the SID office, Dick was always a joy to visit with and knew as much about Buff history as anyone I’d ever come across. Born August 4, 1927 in Boulder, he attended North Side Junior High School and Boulder High School, where he played football and was head boy his senior year. Dick enlisted in the United States Navy in 1945, and after his service, he attended CU where he played football and met his wife of 60 years, Peggy. Dick remained active with CU football as a member of the Buff and Flatirons Clubs until his death. Dick ran a successful construction company in Denver and was a participant in numerous real estate developments. He was active at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church where he was an elder, president of the congregation and on many committees. He is survived by his wife Peggy, sons Steve and Rick and daughter-in-law Margaret, granddaughters Megan and Amanda, brother Kent Rogers and sister Ellie and her husband Don King. A memorial service was held on July 26; in lieu of flowers, contributions were directed to Hospice Care of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, 2594 Trailridge Drive East, Lafayette, CO 80026 or Mt. Zion Lutheran Church 1680 Balsam Avenue, Boulder, CO 80304.
The P-‘Tudes Mailbag
Q: I haven’t seen any discussion about the CU-CSU game being moved to Thanksgiving weekend; there are other rivalries played at the end of the year between rivals who are not in the same conference. This makes too much sense to me for this not to happen.
A: At this point, I would think there’s nothing that won’t be discussed, but I personally can’t see it happening for several reasons. The major one is that it won’t be prime for TV at that point of the year unless both teams have winning records; and in Denver at Thanksgiving, there’d be minimal student attendance since the crowd at Invesco depends on 20,000 being students between the two schools. I’m also not sure that Broncos, if they have a home game that weekend, would okay two games that close together later in the year when the grass is slower to come back. Plus, the Denver kickoff banquet feeds off that game being in September, so it’d likely draw fewer people. Now, we’re also 7-1 against CSU since the rivalry resumed in 1983 when the game is not our opener, CSU is 4-8 against the Buffs when it is their opener, and it’s tied 1-1 when neither. It will be interesting to see what Utah actually wants to do with the BYU game and when they want to play it.
Q: I saw a chart in the Denver Post where CU would have had the 10th largest, or second smallest, athletic budget compared to the current Pac-10 schools. Is that of concern?
A: Those things are often inconclusive; remember the phrase, “Lies, damn lies and statistics” when trying to compare what often amounts to apples and oranges. For example, if you took each school’s budget, divide by the number of sports that school sponsors, and CU would jump to third in dollars spent per sport. But, what does that really mean without a lot of in-depth research. The first thing I’d like to know is what each school is responsible for when it comes to tuition, board and fees; at about $10 million, we dwarfed what others had to pay in the Big 12. I suspect in the Pac-10 a good many of the schools have similar costs, and if you’re sponsoring anywhere from 19 to 35 sports, that will make up a very large chunk of one’s budget.
Q: I saw this in Woody Paige’s mailbag: On third-and-three in the red zone (a term originated by Colorado sports information director Dave Plati) in the fourth quarter, Tebow could have been inserted at QB, and Orton could have come back the next play. Is it true?
A: Yes and no. I apparently was the first to regularly chart the stat, for both CU and the Broncos, in 1983; as I’ve said before, I starting tracking it after I heard an announcer for some game I was watching say “they’ve been inside the 20 five times today and have scored just twice.” Ding, idea. However, I first named it, “Penetrating The 20” and then morphed that into “Scoring Percentage Inside-the-20.” Red Zone was tagged to the stat by someone else, couldn’t say who. Back in my inventive days (the early 80s), I tried to come up with stats outside the so-called “nine dots.” When I was with the Denver Bears, I tracked MISP (average with men in scoring position, which is now RISP, runners in scoring position); that o/*ne is popular but I can’t say I invented that one—I kept it for the Texas Rangers minor league player personnel director (Tom Grieve, a former Denver Bear himself). I also kept FBH, which was “foul balls hit with two strikes.” I liked it then, I like it now, but I don’t think that one caught on’ I’ve never seen it anywhere. I’d guarantee the Rockies’ Todd Helton would be among the leaders if it was; he’s as good as protecting the plate with two strikes as anyone I’ve ever seen.
Q: I see there is a movement to rename Folsom Field “Bill McCartney Field.” What are the chances of that?
A: I honestly don’t know; Mac definitely deserves something named after him, as do the late Eddie Crowder and Fred Casotti, among others (Fred does have the press box and Eddie the athletic director offices, but we’re talking buildings). One thing all of us in sports have to answer eventually is how long are things named after people before they are updated, and how long is a number retired? In the year 2981, will the Yankees still have the numbers of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Reggie Jackson retired, a thousand years after their accomplishments? Guess the same could be said for street names—does anyone out there know what the oldest named street is in the world? I’d like to know!
Q: I read where Colorado had been informed of its 2011 football schedule had it remained in the Big 12. Can you reveal?
A: It’s pretty moot now, so why not? The Big 12 had worked up football schedules for an 11-team conference in 2011 and each school would have played nine league games, which the conference will proceed with next year with 10 teams. CU’s schedule had it remained in the Big 12 would have called for home games a second straight year against Baylor and Kansas State, along with Missouri and Oklahoma State, with road trips to Kansas again and Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. For whatever reason, we would not have played long-time north colleague Iowa State but all six former South Division teams.
Q: I noticed you always reference CU’s 1990 national championship as consensus. Seems to me that disses Georgia Tech, do you have a problem sharing it with them?
A: The only real reason I use the word consensus is to offer up some ammo for those who say we didn’t deserve it; it has nothing to do with Georgia Tech, or Miami-Fla., the other teams sometimes mentioned in the equation. In 1990, there were 19 organizations listed by the NCAA that crowed champions, nine were basically recognized as being legit (meaning it wasn’t one guy in his basement picking a top 20). We were on top of six of those, so if six different entities could look past the Fifth Down and then the Rocket’s punt return (at least two clips on the play if you look at the wide version), my argument thus is that our title is not tainted.
College Football Hall of Fame To Feature Ralphie
In January, the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend will create a new exhibit entitled “Game Day USA.” They are planning to include the tradition of Ralphie, and will mount photographs and one of the blankets that we drape over Ralphie every game along with a Cinch Jeans game day shirt the handlers wear. So it should be a cool exhibit and we’re much honored we were selected. And speaking of mascots, the Ralphie crew took time out to pose for a photo with Georgia mascot Uga when the Bulldogs visited Boulder earlier this month.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm...
Saw a recent claim that 600,000 pageviews merited a certain site to claim that it was No. 1 for those who follow the Buffs. Really? 600,000? (with most likely fans arguing with each other in reader comment boxes, something school sites do not have, checking back in several times and no doubt being counted multiple times). Talk about classic hogwash, but let’s bring actual facts into the equation, but between August 1 and September 30 (or one month less than the period for that site’s 600,000), CUBuffs.com had 3.8 million pageviews by 820,624 visitors who visited the site 1.27 million times and looked at on the average 2.96 pages. CUBuffs.com not only offers the best information, advertisers, we are a much better buy—remember, people logging on to enter reader comments and post messages likely aren’t looking at much other than what others responded to about their posts.
Website(s) of the ‘Tude
A friend of mine in the limo business in New York sent me this link on speed traps. Figured it was some kind of joke, but quite the contrary: a national list of thousands of speed traps in every state (the local ones pan out from what I’ve seen through the years). Check it out: http://www.speedtrap.org/. Former Buff Terrence Wheatley, now with the New England Patriots, has a new website; you can find it at: www.TerrenceWheatley.com. Check out the construction cam keeping an eye on the Coors Events Center improvements at http://buffscam.colorado.edu. And if you want to see where CU really stands among its peers in the world academically, check out this site: http://www.arwu.org/ARWU2010.jsp. One more: the Wall Street Journal did a comprehensive comparison of all Division-I programs, including some unique areas like who has the heaviest offensive line; you can find that here: http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/documents/NCAAF/NCAAF2010.html.
Congrats Shouts & Sympathies
Ø To former Buff Blake Anderson (the ‘tipper between Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook in a certain game at Michigan): his team’s efforts, from Project Sanctuary, were rewarded with the Newman's Own Award from the Fisher House Foundation. One of four non-profits chosen who support and assist our U.S. Military Families. He traveled to Washington D.C. from August 30-Sept. 2 to receive what he termed “this glorious honor” at the Pentagon.
Adam & Kara Goucher
Ø To former Buff Bernard Jackson (’06), who has worked hard to get his life back in order and has enrolled at CSU-Pueblo to finish up his degree. He was eligible to play one more semester of football, and former CU assistant coach John Wristen gave him a chance. In the Thunderwolves first game, a 26-14 win at Panhandle State, B-Jax caught two passes for 64 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown.
Ø To former Rocky Mountain News sports editor (1980s) Denny Dressman has begun writing a blog for The Huffington Post. His first blog was sports-related, but over time he intends to cover a variety of topics, from sports, to travel, race, education, health, and politics. You can access at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/denny-dressman/. Denny hired me in the early 1980s to do statewide statistics for high school football and basketball, and also as a prep writer when I wrote under the clever disguise of D.P. Plati.
Ø To the CU husband & Wife Hall of Fame members Adam & Kara Goucher, who welcomed Colton “Colt” Mirko into the world on September 25 ... Adam reported that mother and baby boy were doing just fine; Colt checked in at 7 lb., 1 oz and at 19.5 inches tall; sounds like a long distance runner from the get-go!
This Tudes’ Number: 36.0
That’s the combined scoring average of senior Cory Higgins (18.9) and sophomore Alec Burks (17.1) of this year’s CU’s men’s basketball team. That 36.0 number is the third highest in the country, trailing the 39.8 by two players at Lipscomb and 37.1 at James Madison. No other Big 12 Conference school made the top 10.
CU—Those five games, all away from Boulder, were the last conference games for the Buffaloes the year prior to Colorado joining a new conference. In 2010, CU will finish up Big 12 play away from Boulder, either at Nebraska or in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington.
Who Am I?—Michael Westbrook. He played four snaps at safety against Baylor in Boulder in the 1993 game. He of course went on to become CU’s all-time leading receiver with 167 catches for 2,548 yards. Scotty McKnight recently passed him in receptions and is on his heels in yards.
Music—Peter Frampton. I Don’t Need No Doctor was actually a Ashford/Simpson song; Frampton and guitarist Steve Marriott had developed some friction and Frampton left the group prior to the album’s finish and release.
Name That Tune—None other than Prince’s 1985 hit, Raspberry Beret (thus my tribute to the song turning 25 this month).
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and the subject may appear in the next Plati-‘Tudes.