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.
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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What’s on Tap?
- Nuggets: At Memphis Grizzlies, 7 p.m. Wednesday, ALT
- Avalanche: Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. Wednesday, NBCSN
TV/RADIO: Here’s what sports are airing today
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who still keeps in touch with Thomas, had a difficult time separating the business of basketball with the loyalty he felt toward him. Read more…
The Broncos are sticking with head coach Vance Joseph. That’s what general manager John Elway said Monday on the Orange & Blue 760 radio show. Read more…
Memo to the NBA: The Nuggets aren’t going anywhere. And they’re itching for a fight. Read more…
+ Broncos Film Review: Fourth-quarter field position squandered in loss to Houston.
+ WATCH: 5 key plays from the Broncos’ loss against the Texans.
+ Mark Kiszla wonders aloud: What good would it do for the Broncos to fire Vance Joseph now?
+ Broncos rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton showed flashes in his first NFL start Sunday.
+ Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is an NL MVP finalist, while Bud Black is in the running for manager of the year.
+ Will Laviska Shenault be back this week for the CU football team? Fans might have reason to get excited.
+ If not, the Buffs will be counting on Juwann Winfree and Kabion Ento against Washington State.
+ The CSU football team returns from a bye week healthy as a road trip to Nevada looms.
+ Former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is open to head coaching offers… again.
+ Marcus Mariota and the Titans took care of business in Dallas on Monday Night Football.
+ There are four teams, then there’s everybody else at the NFL’s midpoint.
+ The U.S. Olympic Committee took steps Monday to decertify USA Gymnastics as the governing body for the sport at the Olympic level.
+ Broncos Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Ryan O’Halloran here.
+ Avs Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Chambers here.
+ Nuggets Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Singer here.
+ Rockies Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Patrick Saunders here.
By The Numbers
When the Breckenridge, Keystone and Eldora ski areas are opening, two days earlier than planned. Read more…
So what’s the best draft position Denver can dream about, and will it be good enough to get a franchise quarterback? Read more…
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