Welcome to a notes and comment column in its 13th year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is in his 28th year as the Buffaloes’ director of sports information.
Plati-‘Tudes No. 94 ... An easy selection to match to a jersey number: College Football Hall of Fame inductee and two-time first-team All-American Alfred Williams (who wore 91 when with the Broncos) ... Why do newspapers lecture us on the environment (which I am fine with, I’m an environmental SID), but they do nothing about recycling or collecting those plastic bags they’re all delivered in? ... Ever catch yourself in a moment where you’re whistling something bizarre? I did that the other day with the “Theme from Rhoda.” Some things just can’t be explained... Few probably know that Colorado was created out of four different territories shortly after gold was discovered in the state back in the 1850s; the initial name of the area, slightly larger than our current size, was the Territory of Jefferson. Had that held, we’d be JU (or UJ), and we might be the Nickels instead of the Buffaloes (for those really interested in trivia, key players around that time have streets named for them in Denver including Steele, Williams and Gilpin).
The opening four mind teasers:
CU—What is CU’s connection to the first three Rocky movies?
Who Am I?—I was originally a walk-on for the Buffaloes, but earned a scholarship working hard on special teams. I eventually started on defense by my senior year and led the team in tackles. I forced the fumble on the opening kickoff against Texas A&M, which led to the quickest touchdown from scrimmage in CU history (13 seconds into the game). Nationally, however, I am known for something as far away from football as can be. Who am I?
Music—Who is Kent Lavoie?
Name That Tune—From what song is this lyric passage from: “Well another man might have been angry ... And another man might have been hurt ... But another man never would have let her go ... I stashed the bill in my shirt.”
Colorado was 18th in the final fall standings of the Learfield Director’s Cup; the men’s cross country team earned 85 points and the women’s 57 in their respective NCAA championships for CU’s 142 total points. The good news is that they will again count skiing after inexplicably kicking it out last year; the bad news is it’s still a competition for those schools that have several national contenders in sports that only field 10 or so teams capable of winning a title, as we do in skiing (in short, it really doesn’t mean all that much, it’s usually an annual battle between Stanford and North Carolina, which rank 1-2 in the fall standings) ... The cross country teams gave us the fall semester’s top moment, when both claimed the inaugural Pac-12 championships in Tempe; the morning of our football game, kudos to those who attended both events that day, as almost 300 CU fans showed up at cross country meet to spur the Buffaloes on, cowbells and all ... Did you see where Texas basically ripped off our long-time phrase that Bill McCartney first instituted here in 1983: “The pride and tradition of the Colorado Buffaloes will not be entrusted to the timid or the weak.” They tweaked the order and added a word, otherwise, a total plagiarism job. Many here were none too pleased, but as long as they don’t claim we ripped them off, we can laugh about it. Sort of ...Women’s World Cup Tie To CU Football: Long-time football stat crew member Wally “Bill” Taylor has a famous second-cousin: none other than U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach (recently named the Female Athlete of the Year). Most proud of his younger relative, he told me, “My mother and Abby's grandmother are sisters. Her mom, my first cousin, grew up down the street from me. I'm thinking of going to London next year to watch her in the Olympics.” Bill does defensive stats in the press box, teaming with Jack Landon (who’s been on the crew since the early 1970s) since the mid-1990s ... If you haven’t read Ted Miller’s blog on ESPN.com about the differences between the punishments the NCAA handed down to USC and Ohio State, you should; of course, we want to see what the NCAA does to Paul Dee, the arrogant and condescending former Miami, Fla., athletic director who got his jollies scolding many of us for minor infractions when his shop was allegedly in one of the worst orders in NCAA history. He’ll beat the rap because he’s retired, but he’s one of the biggest hypocrites I’ve seen in my 30-plus years in the business. Talk about vacating someone of any accomplishments...
How cool was it to see both of our first round draft picks, Nate Solder (New England) and Jimmy Smith (Baltimore) duke it out in the AFC Championship game? And both were in the starting lineups. Likely impossible to research unless one has months to do so, but it can’t be that many times have first round rookies from the same college faced each other in a chance to go on to the Super Bowl in their first season ... Baltimore had more Buffaloes, with center Andre Gurode and receiver Patrick Williams, not to mention SID office alum Patrick Gleason; Moses Cabrera, a former Buff strength assistant, gets to accompany Solder to the big game as he is now on the New England staff. Solder will try to become the seventh Buffalo to earn a Super Bowl ring as a rookie in the league, joining Terry Kunz (Oakland, 1976), Eric Coyle (Washington, 1987), Barry Helton (San Francisco, 1988), Matt Lepsis (Denver, 1997), Vili Maumau (Denver, 1998) and Tom Ashworth (New England, 2001).
Top 12 Moments of 2011
Here are my selections for our top dozen moments of 2011, knowing full well I couldn’t include everything; they are in no particular order, other than the first one:
- Colorado officially joins the Pac-12 Conference on July 1, ending a 15-year association with the Big 12 and a 63-year run with six schools (and 53 years with a seventh) of the former Big 8 Conference.
- The ski team claimed its 18th national championship, the sixth since the sport went coed in 1983.
- The cross country teams sweeping the Pac-12 Conference championships in Tempe, as with the addition of the Buffaloes, the league has become the toughest in the nation in the sport and Mark Wetmore’s teams sent notice that they hope to continue the dominance they enjoyed in the Big 12.
- The men’s basketball team’s sensational NIT run to New York, with perhaps the catapult being the comeback from 22 points down against Texas to defeat the Longhorns as Tad Boyle’s first CU team set a school record for wins in a season with 24.
- The women’s hoopsters nearly matched the men’s feat, getting hot late in the year and were one win away from the WNIT Final Four.
- Football closing the season with two wins in the last three games after a 1-9 start, culminated with a 17-14 win at Utah that snapped a 23-game road losing streak. It was also revenge some 50 years later for the ’61 team, which saw Utah come to Boulder and leave with a 21-12 win to deal the Buffs their only regular season loss that year and any end chances for a national title. The win prevented Utah from winning the Pac-12 South in its first season; a rivalry might just have been reborn.
- The men’s golfers winning back-to-back tournaments to open a season for the first time in history as well.
- The women’s soccer team posting the first Pac-12 win by any CU program, a 1-0 upset of Cal in Berkeley.
- Emma Coburn’s USATF title in the steeplechase after her fantastic outdoor track season (and don’t forget former Buff Jenny Barringer Simpson did the school proud with her win in the 1,500-meter run at the world track and field championships in South Korea).
- The atmosphere of the Pac-12, especially at those football road games where CU had overflowing attendance at alumni functions and thousands of fans in the stands.
- Four Buffs were high picks in 2011 drafts: Nate Solder (New England) and Jimmy Smith (Baltimore) to the NFL and Alec Burks (Utah) to the NBA, all in the first round. Brittany Spears (Phoenix) was a second round WNBA pick, but with much fewer teams than the NFL and NBA, she was the 19th pick overall.
Hatfield’s & McCoy’s?
Former CU sports info student assistant and assistant SID Allie Musso will tie the knot this September with former Cherry Creek and Colorado State quarterback Matt Newton. Congratulations to both; the wedding will take place in the Bay Area in California. Dating for almost two years, they’ve already overcome who to root for in the Rocky Mountain Showdown and when the Buffs and Rams line up in other sports...
I Think We’re Owed A Check Or Two
Okay, so we get drilled for roughly $6.9 million as a penalty for leaving the Big 12 Conference; that was in the bylaws, so we sucked it up. Even though it’s mainly in there due to the value of the TV contracts, which ESPN and FSN did not reduce after CU and Nebraska departed. So it basically wound up being a spanking for us both since the 10 schools wound up all making more money. The $15 million plus withheld from CU and NU allegedly was split between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. But it seems to me that with A&M and now Missouri leaving the league a year later, those two schools should owe us a refund; I mean, we basically gave them a bonus for staying in the league a year longer than we did. So in my world, whatever is withheld from them come departure time, a slice should head to CU and NU from the Big 12 (you know the schools aren’t going to ante up). What’s fair is fair. And with Colorado and Nebraska scheduling most of the BCS opponents in non-league games in our time in the league (22), we made those TV contracts more valuable as opposed to the lineup of cupcakes most of the other schools played (it’s why some conference games started being moved into mid-September, much to our chagrin). Why should Baylor get the same share for playing Wofford or Sam Houston State that’d we’d get by risking our season playing at Georgia? Easy answer—it shouldn’t.
Was That ESPN.COM/EA Sports CU-Michigan Competition Rigged?
Going back to that competition between traditions on ESPN.com last summer, that was the opinion by more than a handful of people of the mid-June competition that pitted CU’s tradition of running out behind Ralphie against Michigan’s team. Just under 80,000 votes were cast, and Michigan’s banner beat out the live buffalo, 62-38%.
Well, if that’s what the vote actually was, so be it; it means 49,300 or so voted for UM, not even half of their attendance for an average home game. That’s just under our total number for a home game, so they had the fan base advantage from the get-go. But many people looked inside the numbers, including myself. Colorado won 42 states, Washington D.C. and the world vote; Michigan won eight states: Michigan (91% of the vote), with its next largest win in Alaska (56%, receiving 33 of 59 total votes cast); after that came Illinois, New Hampshire and Ohio (all 54%), and then Indiana, Iowa and New York (all 51%). Colorado won Colorado with 90 percent, four states with 70 percent of the votes, and then 22 others with 60-plus percent (five of those were 69%). In short, when adding the vote counts assigned per state, Ralphie was well over 6,000 votes ahead of a plastic banner and the total votes added to almost 55,000. But the map showed 79,533 votes; where were the other 24,000? I had to know, being a stat geek and all.
I sent an e-mail to ESPN.com editor David Albright about what was happening. He answered within minutes and here’s initial response (verbatim):
“Polling is handled within our SportsNation group so I reached out to them for an explanation ... there appears to be a map data collection error that is resulting in some of the total votes not being accounted for in the map display ... but they said the overall vote total represented in the bar chart is correct ... the production and engineering folks are going to further explore the problem and I will let you know if I get any more information ...”
Then after I asked if the had any more information since the margin grew to just under 24,000 votes, again seemingly each one to Michigan, this was the response:
“We’ve moved on to the quarterfinal round ... and we’re not showing the maps moving forward because there’s still an inconsistency between total votes and what’s showing on the maps ... so the total votes are what’s being used to determine the winners in each matchup ...”
I’ll take David at his word, he’s been a stand-up guy many times before in our Email exchanges and he’s not with SportsNation; but something stinks. How does an inconsistency add up to 24,000 votes all going to one school (I mean, is this a Chicago mayoral election?). One thing for sure is that I will not be forwarding any more e-mails with links for people to vote as these, as several of you pointed out, appear to be predetermined and it’s all about collecting website hits for advertising rates (or the site was hacked by a Michigan fan who pulled off some shenanigans; interesting that in round 2, the Michigan match-up with Clemson again was well ahead of the other pairings, including Nebraska-Oklahoma (now that made no sense at all—I’d figure that’d be the one getting the most attention).
But without being able to explain it, for the time being, SportsNation appears to be a giant fraud that suckered many of us in.
Speaking of Polls
I can’t remember which talking head on an ESPN college football show once again said that the coaches polls is voted on by SID’s and graduate assistants (might have been Matt Millen), an uniformed opinion that keeps that belief alive. Jon Embree was a first-time voter this fall, and my role, as it has been dating back to when coach Mac had a ballot, is coordinating a weekly worksheet with updated records and to remind the coaches to vote Saturday night, usually not the first thing on their minds long after game day is over. Often, Mac, Rick, Gary and Dan would reel off their ballot to me and I’d phone it in; Jon and I did that the first few weeks this season but he actually liked phoning his own ballot in to USA Today and did so all but maybe one time the last two months of the season. Guys like Millen always say coaches don’t watch any other games; as I’ve stated before in these parts, that’s total bunk. They enjoy watching other teams play, and by the time the season is over, they’ve seen plenty of schools on tape, well more than most media voters.
CU’s Top Trios
In my last P-Tudes, I listed what I thought were our best trios in all sports. For basketball in 1954-55, I selected Burdie Haldorson, Bob Jeangerard and Charlie Mock; it was hard pick the third person of that trio, as this could have been a starting five, but I recalled the late Fred Casotti talking about Mock. P-‘Tudes reader Brian McMillan offered this assessment: “I don't think you can select that trio and leave out Tommy Harold and Mel Coffman. That was truly a 5 or even 6 [Jim Ranglos] player TEAM. Tommy Harold missed the USF game and although Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, and Hal Perry were stupendous the Buffs really missed Harold.”
Hard to argue that ... and no reason to!
1-2-3: Big 8 Rules
When LSU, Alabama and Arkansas ranked 1-2-3 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/Coaches polls of November 20, it marked just the second time ever that one conference owned the top three spots. The final 1971 AP poll (after the bowls) had Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado from the old Big 8 atop its standings, still the only time that has happened in a final poll. Almost immediately, some of the current day “experts” couldn’t help but compare that the three SEC teams were much better than those in the Big 8.
|CU's Ken Johnson to pass at Ohio State in 1971|
Well, that’s pure hogwash, the kind that drives the bloated SEC PR machine, and as usual, with little or no research done. The SEC feasts on cupcakes for the majority of their non-league games (heck, in mid-November FCS schools were the norm for at least three schools), and with very limited exceptions, they never lead the South for non-conference play (I’m thinking Back To The Future and Needles’ line to Marty: What are you McFly? Chicken?!). In 1971, Nebraska beat Oregon, Minnesota, Texas A&M and Utah State; Oklahoma topped SMU, Pitt (on the road), USC and Texas (in Dallas); Colorado won at LSU and Ohio State, both ranked in the top 10, and beat Wyoming and Air Force at home. The SEC three this year? Alabama’s non-league wins came over Kent State, at Penn State, North Texas and Georgia Southern; Arkansas defeated Missouri State, New Mexico, Troy and Texas A&M (the latter at a neutral site); but kudos to LSU, as it beat Oregon (in Dallas) and West Virginia, two league champions away from home, Northwestern State and Western Kentucky. So in non-league play, that’s nine top wins for the ’71 Big 8 to just four for the ’11 SEC; bowl games remain to be seen, but Nebraska (Alabama), Oklahoma (Auburn) and CU (Houston) cruised to bowl wins. But, in my opinion, backed up by former Boulder Camera sports editor Dan Creedon, this SEC three can’t hold the proverbial jock of those Big 8 three.
|Top Regular Season Games on ABC/ESPN|
Who says the Pac-12 doesn’t draw viewers nationally? The conference had four of the top seven regular season viewerships in 2011 on the ABC/ESPN platforms:
USC at Oregon (ABC, 80% of country) and Oklahoma at Baylor (20%): 6.1 rating/9,744,108 viewers
Oklahoma at Florida State (ABC): 5.8 rating/9,307,428 viewers
Oregon at Stanford (ABC): 5.4 rating/8,726,183 viewers
Stanford at USC (ABC 76% of country) and Clemson at Georgia Tech (24%): 5.3 rating/8,426,144 viewers
Ohio State at Michigan (ABC): 5.1 rating/7,958,233
Oregon vs. LSU (ABC): 4.6 rating/7,750,648
Notre Dame at Michigan (ESPN) 5.2 cable rating/7,540,945 viewers
|The P-‘Tudes Mailbag|
Q: I was thinking you should name your all-Buff underrated (football) team of the past three decades in the next Plati-‘Tudes. Those of us in Buff Nation would love to hear your thoughts and perspective.
A: Great idea; this question came from longtime Buff fan Curtis Esquibel. Now I guess this would be how you would define underrated; I’ll attack it from the perspective of those players during my time as SID (1984-2011) who were worthy of but didn’t earn first-team all-league honors because there was someone from another school equally or more deserving and the chips just didn’t fall our way (and this was no easy task, as at most positions, it was hard to narrow down; for example at fullback, how do you select two between Anthony Weatherspoon, George Hemingway and Brandon Drumm? You can’t, so I added where I thought it was reasonable...):
Quarterbacks (2): Mike Moschetti (1998-99), Joel Klatt (2002-05).
Running Backs (5): Lee Rouson (1980-84), Lamont Warren (1991-93), Herchell Troutman (1994-97), Bobby Purify (2000-04), Rodney Stewart (2008-11).
Fullback (4): Anthony Weatherspoon (1984-87), George Hemingway (1987-90), Brandon Drumm (1999-2002), Lawrence Vickers (2002-05).
Wide Receivers (5): Rico Smith (1990-91), James Kidd (1993-96), Derek McCoy (2000-03), D.J. Hackett (2002-03), Scotty McKnight (2007-10).
Tight Ends (2): Sean Brown (1990-91), Matt Lepsis (1993-96).
Offensive Linemen (6): Bill Coleman (1986-89), Derek West (1991-94), Melvin Thomas (1994-97), Tom Ashworth (1997-2000), Brian Daniels (2003-06), Ryan Miller (2007-11).
Defensive Linemen/Ends (4): George Smith (1982-84), Brian Dyet (1986-89), Darius Holland (1991-94), Kerry Hicks (1992-95), Nick Ziegler (1995-98), Tyler Brayton (1999-2002).
Linebackers (6): Dan McMillen (1982-85), Darin Schubeck (1983-86), Sam Rogers (1992-93), Ron Merkerson (1994-97), Hannibal Navies (1995-98), Brad Jones (2005-08).
Secondary (6): Solomon Wilcots (1983-86), David Tate (1984-87), Greg Thomas (1988-91), Dalton Simmons (1993-96), Donald Strickland (1999-2002), J.J. Billingsley (2002-06).
Punter (1): Mitch Berger (1991-93).
Kicker (1): Jeremy Aldrich (1996-99).
Kick Returner/All-Purpose (2): Jeremy Bloom (2002-03), Stephone Robinson (2003-06).
If someone obvious is missing, most likely they did make either Associated Press or coaches’ first-team all-conference; but I could have missed someone, too. So feedback, as always, is welcomed!
Q: You’re involved in doing the football schedules; why didn’t CU downgrade it (2011) to get some easier games for Jon Embree’s first season?
A: Well, you don’t just downgrade a schedule; remember, these are done years in advance, there are penalty clauses for cancelling, and you certainly don’t want a reputation in the world of scheduling that you’re a school that cancels out. Leaving opponents scrambling at the last minute is not good business. That being said, we had an FCS school lined up if the return game in the California home-and-home series would have been wiped out or selected as one of our nine conference games. Cal did not want out of the game, as they had its own issues playing in San Francisco last fall instead of Berkeley due to stadium construction, and thus, the reason we played it as a non-league contest. We did add the game at Ohio State for a $1.4 million payout, believed to be a record for a one-time visit to an opponent stadium, but we did that largely because of the $6.8 million the Big 12 penalized us for leaving the conference and we had to offset that as much as we could. The Hawai’i series was set in 2007 (we also meet in 2014-15), and CSU is obviously an annual staple. The remainder was the initial Pac-12 conference game slate.
Q: Like many, I am concerned that we’re only getting two- or three-star players to commit. What’s your take on the “star” system?
A: (Licking my chops). The star system is perhaps the biggest joke in all of college athletics. Those services assign stars based on who is recruiting them (e.g., they get lists from some of hot schools and make them four or five stars), and also based on schools that heavy subscription bases to their services. I have been told this several times through the years by people who work for these places, so if anyone contests this, they’re flat-out lying. Example: Tyler Hansen commits to CU, is a 1-star QB; Michigan and Iowa show some interest, and he’s a 3-star, or as Tyler put it, he had a heckuva week playing Madden on his couch that week. Most of these guys aren’t the experts they say they are, they have coaching sources slipping them info. Always go back five years earlier and all of these places easily miss on half of their top 100 or 150 players; they just never tell you. Sure Coach Mac built our programs with some top kids, but an eye for talent and potential didn’t hurt either; FACT: since 1989, CU has had 67 first-team All-Conference performers (or better); 34 were high school All-Americans, 33 were not (and those 34 were not all 4- and 5-star players).
Want more proof? I had an interesting conversation with Ted Miller (ESPN.com) at the Rose Bowl. He told me ESPN’s 150 is skewed for the same reason—lists from certain schools and picking more players from areas where the fan bases are rabid about recruiting. This year’s ESPN 150 has 18 players from Georgia (population 9 million) and 11 from California (population 41 million). Statistically, that can’t happen but there are more rabid fan sites in the south than in California, so it caters to that fan base. And if you look at the so-called team rankings, isn’t it amazing that certain schools either have none or at most one two-star (or less) player? They haven’t spotted any one in their camps or on film that’s not a “three” star performer that they have a commitment from?
So don’t be suckered in, it’s a business that recruiting spun off, and apparently, a very lucrative one. But it’s almost all bull, and most coaches will agree with the above assessment.
Q: It seemed to me that our offensive linemen, in particular, dropped weight between last spring and this past fall. Was that a trend team-wide? Is that something the OL coaches wanted? Or was there not enough time for the diminished weight to be replaced?
A: Nothing that was orchestrated, so there was no rhyme or reason to it; when Steve Marshall was here in his first stint, he had guys like Andre Gurode and Victor Rogers checking in over 300 pounds. I know Ryan Miller personally wanted to play at around 295 as he thought he’d gain some quickness. Some of the weights likely dropped due to an emphasis in more conditioning and less outright lifting with our new strength coach, Malcolm Blacken.
Q: I've seen in the past some games-lost-to-injury numbers comparing different seasons. Obviously, this year we've been decimated in the defensive backfield, but how snake-bit has the team been as a whole?
A: When all was said and done, this was our second worst year injury-wise since 1987, when the participation charts we started to maintain became more detailed as to why someone did not play, instead of just listing it as DNP. We lost 20.1 percent of the possible 572 games in the two-deep (13 games times 44), or a total of 115 games by those players to injury, second only to the 20.8 percent (110 of 528) lost in 2008. This year’s number jumped to 141 games lost when counting those players that were not ticketed to redshirt (with that 12.8 percent figure being the highest since the info started to be tracked in 1987).
Q: I read that there was a bit of a dustup in the press box following the win at Utah, and that you actually had to physically intervene ... can you shed some light on the story in the next Plati-‘Tudes?
A: Ha ... that was totally blown out of proportion. Our coaches were exiting the press box, and to get to the elevator, they had to walk behind where the reporters sit; they were exuberant, so I just tried to get them to lower their voices a bit, even though not many people were in there at the time. Some guy got in my face about them and started yelling at me, calling us no class, etc., so I basically told him to get away from me. It really was no big deal.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm...
I’m actually a BCS, anti-playoff gut (plus-1 would be fine). But it was curious not to see any reaction to Nick Saban’s plea for the voters to be fair with their final ballots. In my world, Stanford or Oklahoma State deserves a crack at LSU. Why? Well, Alabama had its chance, had it at home, struggled offensively (60 plays for 295 yards, 40 of which came on the first two plays of the game, and 198 yards on nine plays, meaning 51 plays netted 97 yards – ugh), missed field goals left and right, etc., etc., etc. Why do they get a second chance? And remember, they had a subpar game against an FCS team late in the season and got a pass for that. LSU now has to beat a team twice, which is no easy task (they were even worse on offense with just 239 yards on 58 plays, and 132 on 52 after taking out their six big plays), and should they lose, why should Alabama get the nod over LSU if they split two games all because of the timing of the game? Regardless, being a college football junkie, I’ll be watching.
Website(s) & Links of the ‘Tude
Good News Dept.: It was good, no, great to see a so-called “blogger” lose in a court case when sued for defamation of character; the verdict was unanimous. An insurance professional by trade, she had zero journalistic ties or training and used to Internet to spread lies and innuendo. Well, she’s now out $2.5 million and hopefully will set the tone for people to stop this sort of thing without checking facts (story: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/22/bloggers-not-journalists/). I know there are two or three people I’d like to go after, and still might, you just never know. But it is good to see a responsible judge and jury protect someone from malicious lies without hiding the cowardly author behind a shield law. Valorie Simpson (the late golf coach Mark Simpson’s widow) recently won the 2011 Boulder Dancing With The Stars competition; see it here on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYHETyyCfjY ...
Former Buff Sightings
Fred Jones (football ’03) and Torin Williams (basketball ’87) are both working in law enforcement. I bumped into Fred at a Denver Broncos game, where he also occasionally works with Phil Jackson (football ’01), also a policeman. Williams, who transferred to Arizona State his junior season, lives in Tempe, Ariz., and was officiating a basketball game attended by former Buff assistant SID Preston English.
Congrats Shouts & Sympathies
- Congrats to CU Associate AD/Development Jim Senter, who was elected to serve as the 2nd Vice President/Secretary of NAADD: the National Association of Athletic Development Directors for 2011-12.
- Good luck to Sebastian Heisele, a member of the Buffalo golf team who graduated with a degree in Architecture in December. He is foregoing his last semester as a collegian and has turned professional, and will head to qualifiers in January to try and play on the Asian Tour; he’ll likely also play some events in Europe and in his native UAE.
- Huge kudos to Kara Grgas-Wheeler Goucher (’01), who qualified for the U.S. Olympic marathon team in Houston on January 15 by finishing third in the final qualifier. She blazed the course in 2:26.06 to earn the third and final spot. However, there was some heartbreak for another former Buffalo, Dathan Ritzenhein (’04), who ran the fastest marathon of his life in 2:09.55 but finished fourth, eight seconds back of the last spot. But congrats to him for his personal best and for representing the Buffs with class in his defeat.
- Congrats to Sara (Gorton) Slattery (’05) for winning the 2012 PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon on January 15. She covered the 13.1 mile course in a swift 1:16.24, winning by over two minutes and claiming a nice $1,000 for her efforts.
- Congrats to former Buff Cory Higgins (’11), who made the roster of the Charlotte Bobcats. Along with Alec Burks (’11) on the Utah Jazz and of course Chauncey Billups (’97) on the Los Angeles Clippers, that’s three Buffaloes on regular season NBA rosters for the first time since the 1992-93 season (Matt Bullard, Jay Humphries, Alex Stivrins).
- And while I am on hoops, a shout out to our student section—they are coming out in force that we haven’t seen for a long time—and they are one of 80 student sections vying for The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award. Let’s all try and reward them: by visiting www.facebook.com/ILoveCollegeHoops, Colorado fans can vote for the C-Unit as the top student section in college basketball.
- Congrats to former Buff linebacker Brad Jones (’08); he recently became a Youtube sensation for tackling a fan who ran out onto the field in the Green Bay Packers home finale on January 1. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CgQOHrMSmM (and there are several other angles if you type in “Brad Jones tackles fan”).
- Congrats to former Buff placekicker Mason Crosby (’06); he’s racked up 649 points in his first five seasons with the Green Bay Packers, a league record for the most points by a player in their first five years in the NFL. In that same season finale where Brad Jones tackled a fan, Mason also had a tackle and a fumble recovery to “pad his stats.”
- Congrats to Nate Solder (’10), who was named to Pro Football Weekly’s NFL All-Rookie team.
- And if you didn’t see it locally in the news, congrats to Matt Russell (’96), the former CU All-American linebacker and Butkus Award winner who was recently promoted by the Denver Broncos to their director of player personnel.
This Tudes’ Number: 11,056
That was the attendance for the CU-Arizona men’s basketball game on January 21; it was the first sellout of the season at the Coors Events Center and the sixth in the short tenure of head coach Tad Boyle; that’s the number for the previous six years before his arrival. Greg Hansen, (Tucson) Arizona Daily Star sports columnist, wrote this after CU’s 64-63 win over Arizona: “I’ll say this about CU’s Coors Events Center: It’s a miniature version of The Pit at New Mexico (with a much better fight song)...”
Runner-up: Congrats to Linda Lappe’s women’s basketball team which started off with the second best start in school history at 12-0; granted, the schedule wasn’t the toughest, but considering the team needed a lot of games to form some chemistry after the graduation of all-time leading scorer Brittany Spears, it’s exactly what had to happen. The CU women allowed just 51.7 points in their 11 non-conference games, limiting the opponent to just 33.2 percent shooting overall (34.6 percent on two-point attempts and 29.7 from three-point range). The opponent was held under 50 points 11 times in Linda Lappe’s first 45 games as head coach for the Buffs.
CU—One of the announcers in Rocky, Rocky II and Rocky III was Stu Nahan (who also was in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, interviewing Spicoli after his surfing win; see him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKrpl-KBTzQ; couldn’t find one from the Rocky movies). In 1979, Continental Airlines flew Nahan to Colorado every week to film the Chuck Fairbanks Show (Fairbanks’ first season; there were no clips). Nahan died in 2006 at the age of 81.
Who Am I?—Ryan Sutter. He is CU’s all-time leader in special teams points, led the team in tackles in 1997, and forced a fumble in CU’s first Big 12 Conference game on the opening kickoff that led to a 28 touchdown run on a reverse by Rae Carruth to help CU on its way to a 24-10 win. Years later, of course, he was selected by Trista on “The Bachelorette” and the couple has gone on to be happily married with a family in the Vail area.
Music—Kent Lavoie was the real name of the performer known as “Lobo.” His most familiar song was likely Me and You and a Dog Named Boo, but he had a run of hits in the early 1970s.
Name That Tune—A true classic from 1972, Taxi, by Harry Chapin. It was the No. 24 song for the year, which Chapin debuted on the Tonight Show. The song was so popular that Johnny Carson invited him back the very next night to perform an encore of it, the only time the same musical guest appeared on back-to-back Tonight shows. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qYU9b5OF8M&feature=related).
“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.