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December 29, 2020



Jarek Broussard was back in his home state and had 82 yards on 27 in the Alamodome. (Alamo Bowl)    


Take the season.


Forget the Alamo ... Bowl.


On Karl Dorrell's Zoom call last week, I asked the Colorado coach if he was curious or concerned about the Buffaloes playing four fewer games than Texas heading into the Tuesday night matchiup in the Alamodome. 


That's four more opportunities to sharpen and to improve in a bizarre season. And this would be the first time all season that disparity would come into play, since CU's only game outside the short season Pac-12 was a hastily arranged matchup against San Diego State of the similarly short-season Mountain West.     


As you could read in my commentary from last week, Dorrell said no, not really.

That's understandable, but it was obvious during the Buffs' 55-23 loss to the Longhorns that the difference in the number of games was a major issue.


That's before you even get to the issue of whether the Pac-12 would have been considered inferior to the underachieving, three-loss Longhorns' Big 12 if the schedules all had been of conventional length.


CU was overmatched, even after Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger didn't play in the second half after suffering a shoulder injury. The Buffs blew a handful of opportunities that could have helped keep it closer -- dropped potential pick-sixes and dropped passes -- but no way was this flukish. Also, while Dorrell declined to go into details, or pounce on it as an excuse, he acknowledged CU was significantly short-handed because of COVID-19 issues.   


In general, he was one unhappy camper.  


"We did not play well," he said. "No sugarcoating it at all. . . I was expecting us to play better than that. I was expecting us to be more competitive. I was expecting a lot of it to be better than what it looked like. It just shows me I have a tremendous amount of work to do." 


I asked him if it was more important to remember the start -- with the Buffs going 4-0 -- or the final two-game collapse to move the program forward.


"I think it's the latter," Dorrell said. "This game tells me how much farther we have to go, for sure. It wasn't anything indicative of what I think most of the season was this year ... Tackling was poor. Inefficiency on offense. We didn't take care of the football. It was things that really happened in the last couple of games versus Utah and this, these are the things we've just been preaching and talking about. We didn't improve in those areas and it's unfortunate. We have a lot of work to go."         


At least the Buffs got to play and weren't part of the kind of scenario that unfolded when the TCU-Arkansas Texas Bowl, scheduled for Thursday, was canceled Tuesday because of COVID-19 problems at TCU.


Brian Howell of the Boulder Daily Camera/Buffzone, who was at the Alamodome, noted he counted only 49 available scholarship players before asking Dorrell about it, with the coach specifically saying he wouldn't use that as an excuse.


Later, I asked Dorrell whether there was a point when it seemed CU might end up pulling out. 


"Um ... I don't make that decision," Dorrell said. "That's the medical people. Our doctors. The AD (Rick George), all that stuff. I just try to do the best I can with what I have."     


The season's finish doesn't diminish what the Buffs accomplished under trying especially trying circumstances in 2020.


Many of the challenges were universal in the college game, but the timing of both Mel Tucker's departure and Dorrell's hiring, the initial uncertainty at quarterback, and being one of the programs that didn't have any spring practices at all were problematic.


And given all that, the Buffs pulled off a remarkable season.


True freshman Brendon Lewis came on for the struggling Sam Noyer and was 6-for-10 for 95 yards. He also rushed for 73 yards on 9 carries. (Alamo Bowl.)    


 Bevo had a good time. (Alamo Bowl.)


The Longhorns considered the Alamo Bowl victory worth celebrating. (Alamo Bowl.)  




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