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Colorado Football and the Spirit of CU

With the beginning of a new football season underway, it’s hard not to notice the change in disposition among CU students and the city of Boulder. You can feel it on campus, on the Hill, downtown, and in living rooms across the city; finally, we’ve got a football team worth talking about (instead of sighing about). Students, their families, alumni and Boulderites everywhere are unraveling their dusty CU flags and waving them with pride, adorning themselves with Colorado T-Shirts and other CU paraphernalia before stepping out the door to greet their neighbors with, “How ’bout those Buffs?”

It all started just last Sunday at the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field in Denver. In front of an energized crowd of about 60,000 the Buffs played their first game of the season and earned a 47-27 victory over rivals Colorado State. Buff fans couldn’t have been more ecstatic. After the victory last Sunday it felt as though the whole city was out to celebrate, partying straight through Labor Day. I wouldn’t even doubt it if there were a couple fans out there who STILL haven’t sobered up yet.

The football played in Sunday’s game marked a stark contrast to the dismal program seen last year in which we finished with an embarrassing 1-11 record. That was a dark time for CU football. Last year, when seeing football players out on campus or in class, one avoided eye contact with them out of fear of getting jinxed. The cheerleaders were on the verge of hanging up their pompoms to get work at Nitro Gentleman’s Club. Even the marching band considered quitting and just hiring a DJ. With a new season and a new coach, however, it looks as though there may finally be a ray of hope on the horizon.

I asked Brendan A, a CU student, what he thought about our revamped football program and he had this to say: “Coming into the season, I for sure thought that I would only go to like one game, but now I plan on going to all of them.” He then added, “It’s all about Mike MacIntyre.”

Brendan certainly has a point there. MacIntyre, in just one game, seems to have improved our program tremendously. Undoubtedly, though, he received a great deal of help on Sunday from some of our star players, including quarterback Connor Wood, who threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns and wide receiver Paul Richardson who made 10 catches for 208 yards and scored two touchdowns.

With MacIntyre, it looks like the Buffaloes may finally have found a coach that fits. Previous coach Dan Hawkins could never quite figure out how to recruit winning athletes and Jon Embree, despite his NFL experience with the Washington Redskins, couldn’t seem to get his NFL ideas to work in the college game. MacIntyre, however, has already proven himself a keeper. He apparently has a knack for rebuilding troubled teams. Before taking a position with Colorado, he coached at San Jose State and was able to take them from a one-win season in 2010 to a 10-2 season in 2012. Like Mr. Miyagi, Yoda, or Patches O’Houlihan before him, it looks as though Coach MacIntyre might just have what it takes to turn our ragtag team of underdogs into something special (or hopefully at least into a team with a winning record).

“It’s just one game,” said MacIntyre, according to the Denver Post, “It was great, but we have to keep doing it.” With the city of Boulder behind them, I think that MacIntyre and the Buffs have the momentum they need to do exactly that. Get ready for the Buffalo stampede.

Tomorrow we face the Central Arkansas Bears for the first home game of the season. There’s no doubt that Folsom Field will be overflowing with an impassioned crowd of Buff fans, cheering on our players and singing the Colorado fight song with sweaty gusto. You hear that, boys? The spirit of our school and the city of Boulder is resting on your heavily padded shoulders. No pressure though.

Let’s go Buffs!

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