Denver Sports Omelette: Why Colorado should keep Coach Mac no matter what happens the next three weeks

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All of Denver set its collective sights on Vance Joseph’s particularly hot seat Monday afternoon, only for the Broncos head coach to receive a stay of execution. But in this, the fall of Colorado football fans’ discontent, the Broncos head coach is far from the only one feeling the heat in the Centennial State.

Between Mike Bobo in Fort Collins, Mike MacIntyre in Boulder and Joseph right here in the Mile High City, all three of Colorado’s most prominent football coaches find themselves sitting uncomfortably as fans begin stacking up kindling around them.

You get the feeling that at least one of them isn’t going to survive the season. And maybe even two.

We already know Joseph is safe (for now). And as our own Matt Stephens pointed out a few weeks back, there’s little chance Bobo is denied at least one more season at Colorado State.

That leaves us with Coach Mac, who is just two weeks removed from one of the worst losses in school history and desperately in need of a win in one of the Buffs’ last three games to avoid a fifth losing season in six years.

We here at the Omelette of Champions are confident MacIntyre will not suffer that fate, if only because one of those opponents lost its starting quarterback for the rest of the season last week.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend CU does lose all three of those games. Should CU actually sack Coach Mac? I’d argue no.

Why? Well, just consider these three things:

What was the state of the program when Coach Mac took over, and what’s its condition now? Only someone hellbent on moving on from Coach Mac would be unable to admit the Buffs program is well ahead of where it was when he replaced Jon Embree. The Buffs hadn’t won more than three games in the four seasons prior to Coach Mac’s arrival and hadn’t been ranked since 2005. Even if MacIntyre were to finish 5-7 this fall, he’d still have more wins (30) in his six seasons than his two predecessors had combined (25) in the seven before that. And those guys didn’t inherit the same ground-level rebuild job Mac did back in 2013.

What are realistic expectation for the CU program? We all know Colorado played for and won a national championship during the Bill McCartney era and fielded teams that were consistently ranked among the top 25 when Rick Neuheisel was running the show in the 90s. Since then, however, the Buffs have submitted just six winning seasons in 19 years and finished in the AP top 25 only three times. While the latter can’t be considered acceptable, is it sensible to expect a return to annual top-25 finishes and national title aspirations? Given CU’s recruiting base and recent history — current recruits were 4 years old the last time the Buffs had back-to-back winning seasons — the answer is clearly no.

If Colorado were to fire MacIntyre, who would they replace him with? Buffs fans might not want to hear this, but the CU job isn’t exactly a magnet for big-name coaches anymore. It’s been almost two decades since the school lured Gary Barnett from the Big Ten. Since then, administrators have hired an up-and-comer from a WAC program (Dan Hawkins), a first-time head coach with previous ties to the university (Embree) and another WAC rising star (MacIntyre). If Mac were to get the ax, you can bet the next guy will be someone with a similar profile, which means another roll of the dice and another rebuild. With Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault set to come back next fall, would it really be best to turn the program over to someone new? Or wouldn’t you rather take one more shot with Coach Mac and see if he can catch lightning in a bottle once again?

— Matt Schubert, The Denver Post


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Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at dboniface@denverpost.com or tweet me @danielboniface.

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