Colorado Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre’s TV special is turning into a Halloween nightmare.
You remember last year’s installment? It started as a marketing campaign and became a full-on movement known as “The Rise.” With excellent play throughout the year, CU fans were again excited about this team. The Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South and made their first bowl game appearance in almost a decade.
If that was the Hollywood movie with the sports ending, let’s check on this year’s sequel.
On a dark and stormy October night, things went from bad to worse for Colorado. The Buffs lost to the Washington State Cougars 28-0. It was the first shutout in the MacIntyre era. They managed seven passing yards in the first half and replaced quarterback Steven Montez with equally ineffective Sam Noyer. They fell to 1-4 in the Pac-12.
And then there was MacIntyre.
The Buffs’ coach threw an all-out temper tantrum on the sideline. A missed penalty call began MacIntyre’s tirade toward a referee. And then it kept going — long after the next play began.
MacIntyre’s antics became exasperating to watch. He threw his body around like a toddler as the Buffs continued to lose. The coach’s temper seemed to be directed equally at the referees and his team’s inability to execute. It was as if MacIntyre was fighting himself.
It was nothing like last year.
Of course, last year’s story had a fabricated ending. To believe “The Rise” you have to stop the tape before the Buffs were blown out in the Pac-12 Championship game. You have to be okay with the lopsided bowl game loss.
Watching MacIntyre last Saturday night, I wondered how much he bought into “The Rise.” Ideally, you want your coach to treat every season the same. Instead, did MacIntyre believe that the Buffs had turned a corner and would just keep going?
There was no way the Buffs could match their 2016 campaign. They lost too many players to the NFL. The architect of their defense, coordinator Jim Leavitt, left for Oregon. Quarterback Sefo Liufau graduated. The Buffs were going to have growing pains with a younger team.
The results have been worse than anticipated and MacIntyre’s program no longer looks like it’s on the upswing. With a 1-4 Pac-12 record, they look like the same old Buffs.
MacIntyre did not steady the ship against Washington State. Even when his emotions were clearly out of control, MacIntyre denied that fact in a press conference on Tuesday.
Are he and his coaching staff at least shouldering the appropriate blame for this season?
“We had the chance for four interceptions the other night and didn’t catch any of them. So the coaches put them in the right places, they’ve got to make the catches,” MacIntyre said this week in a press conference. He went on to say that he thought the players would make the plays.
The coaches put the Buffs in the right positions in a game they lost 28-0?
The biggest party of the year is currently underway in Boulder. (And it’s not homecoming weekend, where the Buffs welcome a Cal team that beat those same Washington State Cougars with a resounding 37-3 performance two weeks ago.) Halloween is a multi-week event of costume parties, alcohol and bad decisions. All those ideas you have about crazy college towns converge around Halloween at CU.
The biggest ghosts in Boulder appear to be on the offensive side of the Buffs football team. The CU coach’s behavior is reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It would be a trick to consider the Buffs getting a bowl game treat.
The sequel to “The Rise” is currently a “Tower of Terror” fall.