BOULDER — Mike MacIntyre, I just have to ask, why do you do this to us?
Is it that you’re trying to get fired? Or is life on the hot seat such a thrill that you can’t help but add fuel to this inferno?
Athletic director Rick George might not have burned you yet, but these loyal fans in black and gold — more than 45,000 strong that showed up Saturday to cheer on the Pac-12’s biggest disappointment — are catching on to the fact that something is amiss. Even a stubborn dummy like me who graduated from that school up north is starting to question why I thought you were the perfect man for rebuilding Jon Embree’s mess.
As nice as a nearly $10 million parting gift might be if you can’t get this turned around, that’s not what anyone is cheering for. We want to watch good football, and it might as well be you giving us that show, but since that 5-0 start to the season, it’s been hard to tolerate this constant displeasure.
Is there any other explanation? No coach making $2.875 million a year should mismanage a game so greatly twice in one month. The debacle of a 28-point collapse against Oregon State should have been a lesson learned. Instead, MacIntyre’s late-game decisions Saturday again left the Buffs spurned.
Fourth-and-11 at the Washington State 36 with less than 2:30 remaining in the third quarter of a 10-point game. Colorado’s offense, which hadn’t moved the ball more than 32 yards in a possession since its lone touchdown drive in the first quarter, finally had momentum. The Buffs’ secondary, arguably the team’s weakest unit throughout what’s now a five-game losing streak, had just made its second fourth-down stop of the game 55 yards the other direction.
A field goal wasn’t an option; starting kicker James Stefanou is sidelined for the remainder of the year. But when you’re playing well enough to upset the No. 8 team in the country on your own field, you should try to take advantage.
The Buffs were finally rolling. Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault Jr. found a rhythm. But as soon as the drive saw its first bit of adversity — a dropped pass on third down — Mac punted.
And, oh, did Folsom Field boo as Montez and company were called off the field, booing their way to the concourse and out into that famed Boulder nightlife to try to forget the last five weeks. The third quarter hadn’t even struck 0:00, and fans had seen enough.
“If it had been 24-7, I think it would have been a little bit different story. But fourth-and-11, (the score at) 17-7, 12 or 10 minutes left to go in the third quarter,” MacIntyre said, before I interrupted to point out there were only two minutes left. “OK, but I still think there’s a lot of time left in the game and you’re only down 10 points and you want to try to pin them back and hope you can hold them.”
Second-guessing is easy, I’ll admit that, and conventional wisdom will support MacIntyre’s explanation, adding that if Montez were to get sacked (this offensive line has been atrocious), Washington State takes over close to midfield, and percentages to convert on fourth-and-11 are less than great. But conventional wisdom should also consider Colorado’s usually potent offense that averages 433 yards per game had barely 200 at that point with only one other drive of more than 50 yards. And this defense, as much as it had bailed this team out all day, was bound to eventually break — and it did.
Most important? The Buffs only ran seven plays in plus-territory all day.
Most painful? MacIntyre said if he could do it all again, he wouldn’t change a thing.
Shoot your shot, coach. There wasn’t going to be another one like it. And after a punt that pinned Washington State at its own 12, the Cougars swiftly marched 88 yards to put this game away.
I’m trying to not be too negative here. I just watched Montez go out of his way to talk to grade-school kids after the game who were calling his name after one of his worst collegiate performances, and, boy, was it a shot of dopamine after a depressing afternoon of football. But I can’t shake this feeling.
Even if CU finds a way to win one of its final two games to become bowl eligible (Utah next week before heading to Cal to wrap up the schedule) — and that is absolutely possible — tell me, does that really make take MacIntyre off the hot seat?
Perhaps problematic, he’s not even sure he’s on it. He said Saturday night that he has felt no pressure from his superiors. “Nothing but support,” he said.
In that case, perhaps George might want a heart-to-heart with his sixth-year coach, because this is not CU football. This is not the championship standard that was set by Bill McCartney and continued by Gary Barnett.
This is bordering on Dan Hawkins intramurals, and no one wants to see that.
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.