We've done our bowl primers, but now we take a quick look at teams that are sitting at home this holiday season.
COLORADO (1-11, 1-8)
What went wrong this season? You can start in the preseason when Colorado's top offensive threat, wide receiver Paul Richardson, was lost for the year with a knee injury. That's just one of several thousand things that went wrong. Inefficient quarterback play (combined with a healthy dose of rotating quarterbacks), combined with a bunch of young starters, combined with an inability to run the ball, combined with the inability to stop anyone on defense all led to the firing of head coach Jon Embree after just two seasons at the helm. But hey, Will Oliver was 28-of-28 on PATs. Other than that (and punting) the Buffs were near or at the bottom of virtually every statistical category in the league.
Low point: When there are so many to choose from, that's not a good thing. It started badly with a loss to Colorado State, then snowballed in a loss to FCS Sacramento State. There were embarrasing losses to Fresno State, Oregon, USC and Stanford. In fact, while the Buffs struggled, other teams flourished. Robert Woods and Matt Barkley both set records in their game against the Buffs. Ka'Deem Carey had a record-setting 366 yards against Colorado. De'Anthony Thomas decided it was better to run backwards 20 yards before returning a punt 72 yards. Need a helmet sticker? Play Colorado. Take your pick on low points, you can't go wrong.
How can it get fixed? For starters, all of those true and redshirt freshmen who were making their debuts are a year older, wiser and they'll be stronger. That's a good start. We saw with Oregon State that a youthful squad one year can be a nine-win team the next. Not saying that will happen with Colorado (and don't get your hopes up, because it won't) but the experience will certainly pay off. Hiring Mike MacIntyre, who has a history of rebuilding and strong roots as a defensive-minded coach, is also a good start. The administration appears to be making a financial commitment to MacIntyre and the program -- something they didn't do with Embree.
Bowling in 2013? Very unlikely. They miss Stanford, but they also miss Washington State -- the only team they beat in 2012. They trade Central Arkansas for Sacramento State, but are on the road at ASU, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington and are home to Arizona, Cal, Oregon and USC. They may beat Colorado State next year and Central Arkansas and maybe even Fresno State -- but finding three more wins in the conference doesn't seem likely. MacIntyre needed a couple of years to get a 1-11 San Jose State into a bowl game. Expect similar growing pains in Boulder.