Welcome to the “Dawg Bowl.”
When the University of Colorado and Colorado State face off on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, the two schools will be led by Mike Bobo and Mel Tucker, each former Georgia assistant coaches. Hence, the “Dawg Bowl” is born.
According to Brian Howell, the deal between CU and Tucker — a former defensive coordinator at Georgia — is complete:
Deal is done: Sources tell me the #cubuffs finalized a deal with Mel Tucker late Tuesday night. Tucker, Georgia's defensive coordinator the past 3 seasons, will be officially announced as Colorado's new head football coach later today.
— Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33) December 5, 2018
Tucker, 46, has coached both in the NFL as well as in the South Eastern Conference, college football’s top conference by far. He just wrapped up his third year with the Bulldogs as their defensive coordinator, following Kirby Smart to Georgia from Alabama.
Tucker is a fantastic defensive mind. In 2017, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 6 in the nation in both scoring defense (16.4 points per game allowed) and total defense. This year, they weren’t quite as dominant, but still superb at 16th in the nation in scoring (18.5 PPG).
His unit’s great play in 2017 led him to being a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in the country, and he was also a finalist for the Tennessee job last year as well.
Before coming to the college football ranks, Tucker coached for a decade in the NFL. He was with the Cleveland Browns (2005-08), Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12) and Chicago Bears (2013-14). In 2015, Nick Saban hired him at Alabama, where Tucker spent one year before following Smart to Georgia.
Now, Tucker becomes a head coach for the first time. He also spent time with the Ohio State Buckeyes (2001-04), LSU Tigers (2000), Miami (OH) and started with the Michigan State Spartans in 1997.
After firing Mike MacIntyre, the Buffs needed a great hire, and it seems they’ve found their man in Tucker. MacIntyre helped lead “The Rise” in 2016, but his lack of accountability and absence of backing his words up with action led to his demise.
MacIntyre blamed injuries this year for his team’s utter collapse. After starting a perfect 5-0 on the season, CU lost Laviska Shenault and many other starters, then proceeded to lose the last seven straight games and miss a bowl game. MacIntyre also infamously said after the 2017 Rocky Mountain Showdown — a game marred by three offensive pass interference calls on CSU — that coaches should never blame the referees. But MacIntyre proceeded to yell, scream and throw tantrums on the sideline towards the officials when calls didn’t go his way seemingly every week.
Buffs fans have to hope Tucker will handle himself more professionally on and off the field.