Midseason review: Colorado


Record: 1-5, 0-3

The transitions of 2011 -- to the Pac-12, to a new coaching staff -- haven't proved easy for Colorado.

The Buffaloes wanted to immediately break in the Jon Embree era by ending their road losing streak with the opener at Hawaii, but they fell behind 17-0 at the half and a late comeback wasn't enough. With their loss at Stanford on Saturday, the losing streak outside of Boulder is now at 21 games.

Colorado played much better in Game 2 against California, which didn't count in the Pac-12 standings as it was a previously scheduled nonconference game. The back-and-forth affair wasn't decided until overtime, but Cal prevailed, despite a record-setting day from quarterback Tyler Hansen (474 yards passing) and wideout Paul Richardson (284 yards receiving).

The Buffs played well on both sides of the ball in a win over Colorado State, but the road woes continued in a blowout loss to Ohio State. Back at home, Colorado appeared on its way to its first conference win over Washington State, leading by 10 in the fourth quarter. But the Cougars rallied, and a 63-yard touchdown pass with 1:10 remaining stunned the Buffs and their fans. After the game, Embree expressed frustration, "So when is it enough? When are they going to get tired of losing? When are they going to get tired of finding a way to lose?"

Then, before the Stanford visit, Embree suspended five players for undisclosed reasons. Four of those five were members of an already perilously thin secondary.

The schedule only gets more demanding. The Buffs are at Washington on Saturday, one of four more road dates. They also play host to Oregon on Oct. 22.

Bowl hopes appear remote in Year 1 of the Embree, Pac-12 eras in Boulder.

Offensive MVP: RB Rodney Stewart. While a case could be made for Paul Richardson, Stewart has comparable receiving numbers -- 24 receptions for 338 yards compared to 29 catches for 474 -- while also leading the Buffaloes in rushing with 410 yards, or 82 yards per game.

Defensive MVP: LB Douglas Rippy. Rippy is tied for the team lead with 40 tackles and he also has three sacks. He's been a consistent presence for the Buffs' defense.