I’ll CU in the College Football Playoffs

by Tyler Fransen

The Buffaloes of the University of Colorado are making college football history. Over the past few years, under head coach Mike MacIntyre, the CU Buffs have been less than stellar, especially in the PAC-12.

From 2013-2015, MacIntyre amassed a win-loss record of 10-27 overall, 2-25 in the PAC-12. This abysmal set of performances from the Buffaloes gave everyone in the media, every reason to count them out for this season.

Lo and behold, the CU Buffs of 2016 have an overall record of 10-2, including a 8-1 record in the PAC-12. Not to mention, they are current PAC-12 South Division Champions, and will play the fourth ranked Washington Huskies in Santa Clara, Cali. for a shot at the PAC-12 conference title. You know what happened the last time a Colorado based football team played for a championship in Santa Clara? The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Just saying.

Regardless, the CU Buffs have had a very good season, and now have a legitimate shot at making the College Football Playoff (CFP). How is this possible?

For starters, it has to come down to CU beating Washington to clinch the PAC-12, which by the way has been one of the best conferences in football this year. The PAC-12 had seven total teams at any given moment, rank in the top-25, including Washington, Colorado, University of Southern California (USC), Stanford, Washington State, Utah and briefly Oregon.

CU played everyone on this list except for Washington, and lost only once, to USC. Not to mention, the only team that fell out of rankings was Oregon, whereas everyone else either started ranked and kept it that way, or were unranked in the beginning and jumped up as the season went on.

If you take into account, every team that was ever ranked at some point in the season, throughout their schedule the Buffs played a total of six games against ranked opponents, winning four of them against Oregon, Stanford, Washington State and Utah. The two ranked opponents they lost to were USC and Michigan.

So this puts CU in good standing, especially when you consider that Washington has only played five ranked opponents, winning four of them. Coincidentally, the one team that Washington lost to was also USC. And, oh by the way, Michigan and CU nearly could have been a CU victory if they stopped the game after the first quarter, but that’s neither here nor there.

The larger point is, the two teams contending for the PAC-12 title have been very good against ranked opponents, so where does that stack up against the competition that currently hangs on the cusp of the CFP?

Oklahoma played a total of five ranked teams throughout the year including Houston, Ohio State, Texas (yes they were ranked at one point in the year, until everything hit the fan), Baylor and West Virginia. They won three of those games, but lost to Houston and Ohio State, and by the time they beat West Virginia, Baylor and Texas, all three of those teams had fallen out of the rankings.

Michigan was pretty much knocked out of the CFP by Ohio State, but for sake of argument, let’s look at their schedule. Much like Oklahoma, Michigan played five ranked opponents, winning three and losing two. The only difference is, Michigan lost to teams that are still ranked in the top-25, with Ohio State and Iowa.

Wisconsin played five ranked opponents, winning three to LSU, Iowa and Nebraska, but losing two to Ohio State and Michigan.

Penn State played four ranked opponents, splitting the difference with wins against Ohio State and Iowa, and losses to Pitt and Michigan.

So essentially, CU has played more ranked opponents and has fared better than most of the teams on this list, and has done so in one of the strongest conferences in the nation. Now comes the challenge ahead, and it’s all thanks to the Big-10 and Big-12’s cluster of confusion.

Essentially what the CFP selection committee is going to have to decide, is whether or not to include the PAC-12 Champion in the playoffs. It wouldn’t be so complicated if you didn’t take into account the absolute chaos of the Big-10, and its title game between Penn State and Wisconsin. Despite Ohio State and Michigan ranking higher and having better records, Penn State and Wisconsin are playing for the Big-10 title, which could create problems for the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Not to mention, we don’t know if the committee values championships in the PAC-12 more than they do in the Big-12, since Oklahoma is right on the cusp. That’s assuming Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State on Saturday to clinch the Big-12, and this is also assuming Clemson beats Virginia Tech to clinch the ACC.

Now if you want to get into a truly nightmare scenario, if Florida beats Alabama, (which they probably won’t because Alabama is just too good), that makes this whole thing a complete and utter mess, raising more and more questions about whether or not conference championships truly matter to the selection committee.

If the CU Buffs are going to have any sort of a chance at the College Football Playoffs, the most important thing they need to do, is win against Washington. At that point, I believe CU has a strong enough case to say that they belong in the playoff.

They have played more ranked opponents than those on the cusp, they won more games against ranked opponents and strong conference opponents, and the games they lost to were games seemingly everybody else lost to.

Not to mention the selection committee, I think, would just gleam at the thought of putting arguably the greatest Cinderella story of the 2016 college football year, into the playoffs.

Now, do I think CU has a chance of making a dent in the CFP? No. Assuming we take the place of Washington in the rankings and jump to the four seed, we would likely play Alabama in either the Peach Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl. Either way, we’d be killed, and it would not be swift either. So for now, we’ll just wait and see if history can continue for these CU Buffs.

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Men’s Basketball Falls in Texas

by Bryce Reedy

The men’s basketball team opened up their regular season this weekend with the Heartland Conference Shootout down in Dallas, Texas. CMU competed in two games against Dallas Baptist University (DBU) and St. Edward’s University, and the Mavericks would fall in both games to start the season off 0-2.

Heading into the set of games, head coach Andy Shantz was looking for one thing in particular over the weekend.

“I hope that we get a little bit of continuity,” Shantz said. “We have been kind of banged up in the fall so we have had different people in and out of practice a little bit. So hopefully we can go down there and start getting into a rhythm in terms of our rotation and our guys starting to get comfortable with one another.”

The first game the team had to gain some continuity was against DBU. And in the first half it was apparent that the team had not played with one another. CMU went into halftime down 46-29. The team committed seven turnovers and shot a mere 35 percent from the field. The Patriots however shot 52 percent from the field.

“The first half we didn’t really play like us,” Hawley said. “So basically in the locker room [Shantz] told us to play like us and kind of calm down and not make so many mental mistakes.”

The Mavs second half was much better than the first, but it was not enough as the Mavericks fell 99-78. CJ Davis, James Sylvester and Eimer Lopez each scored 19 points for CMU.

“It was a rough start,” forward Nate Hawley said. “Obviously not the way that we wanted the [season] to start. But they were a really good team and they jumped on us right from the get go. We didn’t respond very well. But our second half compared to our first half was a lot better so I think it was a learning experience.”

CMU had a chance to go even on the road trip against St. Edwards. Unlike against the Patriots, the Mavericks came out of the gates with more energy than the night before. However, even with the increased energy, CMU was trailing once again heading into the locker room, down 35-31.

“It was kind of interesting, because we didn’t [come out with energy] last night and then tonight we came out tonight almost a little too hyper,” Shantz said. “We weren’t executing the offense as well as we could have.”

The Mavericks were unable to come back in the second half and fell 71-66 to fall to 0-2 to open up the season. Davis led the team with 23 points on the night.

“I thought we improved from [the night before],” Shantz said. “We got some contributions from off the bench. We just have some guys in some different roles so we are trying to figure that out.”

“I think we are going the right way for coming together as a team,” Davis said.

Despite going 0-2 on the road trip, the team learned a lot about themselves and what they have to improve on if they want to compete at a higher level.

“That is why we play these games early,” Shantz said. “We want to play some good people to see where we are at before conference play. We did that and so now we have some things to work on to get better.”

The Mavericks will now travel to Gunnison for two games this upcoming weekend.

Men’s Soccer Falls in NCAA Tournament

by Joe Azar

Entering Sunday’s game, Head Coach Todd Padgett praised his team for the difference in confidence his team had entering the NCAA Tournament this year in contrast to 2015. Coming off the RMAC double, CMU had the expectation to contend nationally, showing no fear in their opening round matchup in the tournament against Midwestern State. This year, players had no doubt in their ability to win.

Unfortunately for the Mavs, faith and confidence don’t always win in the cruel sport of soccer.

Despite having the more chances in the game, Christian Okeke scored a goal with 1:18 to play to break the hearts of CMU players as the Mustangs knocked out the Mavericks in the opening round of the national competition.

“Most heartbreaking loss I’ve taken in all my years of soccer,” tweeted CMU defenseman James McGhee.

The Mavs finished with seven shots on goal as opposed to the Mustangs’ three. Moshe Perez continued his breakout season despite not making the difference on the scoresheet. The Israeli midfielder created multiple chances for his team, having a season-high six shots with three of them on goal. Luis Schraidt finished with two shots on goal.

The best opportunity for the Mavs to score came from Kevin Del Mazo, who took a shot that was on its way to the back of the net, but MSU goalkeeper Noah Fazekas was able to save the shot. Fazekas finished with six saves on the day.

CMU suffers its first loss since a 2-1 defeat on September 11 against St. Edwards. That loss and Sunday’s defeat were the only two times this season that the Mavs were beaten as the finished with an impressive record of 14-2-5 and a clean sweep in RMAC Competitions.

“ Absolutely gutted and heartbroken after today,” goalkeeper Briley Guarneri tweeted. “But overall a great season and something to remain prideful of.”