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.”

Women’s Soccer Reaches RMAC Playoffs

by Bryce Reedy

Heading into the weekend the women’s soccer team ranked fourth in the conference and were on pace to get a home playoff game for the RMAC playoffs in the coming weeks. That meant two huge games against CSU-Pueblo and New Mexico Highlands. When everything was said and done the Mavs finished the weekend going 1-1.

Going into the weekend the Mavs were riding two wins against Fort Lewis and Adams State the previous weekend. During those games the Mavericks were able to score four total goals, which was their highest goal total for back to back games all year. This was thanks to an increased emphasis on finishing in practice.

“We have been working on it in training,” head coach Jason Clare said. “Trying to just recreate situations that come up in a game. Where there is pressure and they have to have the composure to finish and things like that.”

The weekend was also a success for defenseman Mackenzie King, who scored two goals on the weekend, including the game winner against Adams State in overtime.

“I think just keep sending in those balls,” King said regarding her success the previous weekend. “[Just keep] getting those opportunities and taking advantage of those opportunities. All of us. All of us need to keep shooting and making sure it gets in the back of the net.”

Heading into this weekend though was going to be a tough task for the team as they had to go on the road to CSU-Pueblo, who was the second ranked team in the RMAC.

“It’ll be a big game,” King said. “We need to get focused and keep working hard. Play how we can play.”

The game turned into a tough offensive game for the Mavericks as they were held to a mere three shots on the night. Meanwhile, the Thunderwolves were able to put up 11 shots, with five of them being on goal.

Both CMU and CSU-Pueblo were held scoreless through the first 20 minutes before the Thunderwolves broke the tie. Thanks to a pass from Rianna Lockhart, Danelle Dondelinger was able to get her first goal of the year in the 23 minute of the match.

Four minutes later the Thunderwolves were able to score again, this time it was Laikyn Koss who scored her seventh goal of the season. That made it 2-0 CSU-Pueblo, and they would not look back in this one as that would be the final score.

Following the loss, the Mavericks had to drive 16 hours down to New Mexico Highlands to take on the 3-10-1 Cowboys. This game would prove to be crucial for CMU because if they were able to come away with a win then they would clinch a spot in the RMAC playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Unlike the previous game, the Mavericks were the aggressor offensively in the first half. CMU outshot NMHU 6-1 in the half, including the first goal of the match from midfielder Ryanne Parker. The goal was assisted by Lauryn Lee in the 35 minute to give the Mavs the 1-0 lead heading into the half.

In the second half the Cowboys were able to fight back and tie the game up at 1-1 in the 75 minute. No one would score for the remainder of regulation, thus forcing the Mavs to go to overtime once again.

CMU however was not going to let this one slip away from them. Two minutes into the first overtime period midfielder Halie Bergeron fired one past the Cowboy defense for her second goal on the year and the game winner for the Mavericks.

With the win the Mavericks moved to 8-6-2 and clinched a spot in the RMAC tournament. Currently the Mavericks sit at fifth in the conference, half a game behind Metro State for the final spot that gets to host a home game in the tournament.

CMU’s final regular season game, and senior night, will be Oct. 30 at 1:30 p.m. against Black Hills State University (0-10).

Men’s Soccer rallies to remain unbeaten in RMAC

by Joe Azar

Entering this weekend, CMU’s run in the RMAC propelled them to a national ranking and the top spot in the conference. The last time the Mavs dropped points was over a month ago in a scoreless draw on the road against Metro State.

This past Friday both teams faced off at Walker Field, with the Mavs showing the progress they have made during their winning streak in a 3-0 CMU victory en route to another weekend sweep.

Unlike the game back in September, the Mavs were not held scoreless for long. Five minutes into the game, Moshe Perez took a corner kick that ended up for grabs inside the box. It ended up at the feet of defenseman Slater Elkind, who took a shot that rocketed into the upper corner of the net to give the team a 1-0 lead over the Roadrunners. It was the third consecutive game CMU scored in the opening five minutes of the match.

“If you look back at the season, one of the issues we were having early were slow starts,” head coach Todd Padgett said. “And it seems as though that is something that we have corrected.”

“When you score quick it takes a lot of pressure and frustration off of you,” striker Roy Abergil said. “Sometimes when you don’t score you start to get frustrated and more nervous because you know you’re the better team, and it’s absolutely a game changer when you score so early in the game. “

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Malik Mennana dribbles past Metro State players. Joe Azar | Criterion

Despite the early goal, the Roadrunners continued to get pressure and get on the nerves of CMU players. As the halftime whistle blew, Abergil and midfielder Moshe Perez confronted some of the Metro players after members of the Metro State team made some anti-semitic remarks towards the two Israeli players.

“It’s always a great game against Metro and it’s always an emotional game,” Padgett said. “So the conversation we had at halftime wasn’t about ‘X’s’ and ‘O’s’ it was about the task at hand. The task at hand was getting the three points and maintaining our position in the conference.”

Moshe and Abergil got their revenge against the Metro players and secured three points on the night with two late goals. After a defensive clearance, Perez had plenty of time to find Abergil on a long ball across the field. The goalie attempted to grab the ball, but whiffed it on the slide, leaving an open net for Abergil to get another goal on the season.

On the third goal, it was Perez to Abergil once again, this time on a pass inside the box to an open net after the Metro goalkeeper could not catch up to the two players after attempting to score on a corner on the other side of the field. There would be no shutout this time as CMU once again took down an RMAC opponent and extended their win streak to double-digits.

On Sunday afternoon against UCCS, the Mavs were faced with a more challenging situation to keep their undefeated streak in the conference alive. CMU started the game forcing passes along the wings, which the Mountain Lions read and defended well in the opening half. The visitors would get rewarded for their strong play 28 minutes in when Alex Vonholle took a shot from 12 yards out that beat goalkeeper Briley Guarneri and put CMU down 1-0.

“We came out flat, we came out uninspired and we came out lethargic,” Padgett said. “And that hasn’t been an issue when we’ve been on this run.”

“I think we came out a little too confident and a little too sleepy,” Abergil said. “And at halftime, we had a talk that we have to pick it up and pick up the energy for the team, and I think from the opening whistle in the second half you could see that.”

In the second half, CMU began to breakthrough UCCS’ defense. In the 60 minute, Kevin Del Mazo crossed the ball into the box that Luis Schraidt shot into the left corner of the goal for the equalizer.

“I just happened to be in the right position,” Schraidt said. “I was just happy to score.”

The game would remain tied for only eight minutes. Perez delivered a ball over eight defenders for Roy Abergil to get a one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper. Like many others before him, the UCCS goalkeeper lost that battle to the Israeli striker, who netted his 48th career goal that proved to be the game-winner. That was the seventh time this season Perez assisted Abergil and the midfielder now has five assists in the last four games.

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Luis Schraidt celebrates his goal on Sunday. Joe Azar | Criterion

“We have a good connection,” Abergil said. “We just look into each other’s eyes and we know what’s going on. I know what Moshe’s going to do and he knows what I’m gonna do and that’s exactly how that goal happened.”

With the 2-1 win, CMU is now one win away from clinching the RMAC regular season championship and the right to host the RMAC tournament in two weeks. Regardless of the results this upcoming weekend, CMU made Walker field their fortress once again this year, going undefeated at home with only one draw out of 12 home games.

Next weekend they look to become RMAC champions against No.14 Regis on Friday and on Sunday they take on South Dakota School of Mines, who are the second worst team in the conference.

Men’s Soccer continues run in RMAC

by Joe Azar

    It has been over a month since CMU has tied or lost a game, and this weekend they laid waste to their RMAC rivals once again, taking down Westminster 3-0 before finishing their week with an emphatic 4-0 away win against CSU-Pueblo.

    On an uncommon Wednesday night game, it only took the No. 24 ranked Mavs five minutes to get on the scoreboard against the Griffins. Kevin Del Mazo provided a cross to Malik Mennana who chipped the ball over the goalkeeper for the early score. That was Mennana’s third goal of the season, as the junior forward has now scored two goals in the last three games.

    Speaking of goals, Roy Abergil is not one to normally miss out on chances to put one in the back of the net. Wednesday night he beat the goalkeeper after a Moshe Perez assist to put CMU up 2-0 at the half.

    In the second 45 minutes of play, Abergil scored a penalty kick goal for the third score of the night. The Mavericks outshot the Griffins 21-9, with 14 of those coming on goal. CMU has made Walker Field a fortress once again this season, winning every game minus their opening night tie at home.

    Friday night the Mavs traveled to Pueblo to face the Thunderwolves. In the only regular season encounter between the two conference foes, the Mavericks were able to score two goals in the opening six minutes.

    Abergil once again took advantage of fellow Israeli Perez’s assist in the fourth minute to put CSU-Pueblo down early. Two minutes later, CMU’s No.10 Luis Schraidt got on the scoresheet. In the 29 minute, Perez added to the Thunderwolves misery with a goal of his own to put the Mavericks up 3-0 at the half.

    Abergil would get yet another brace after slotting home a rebound in the 60 minute to seal the win. CMU’s captain has scored 19 goals in 13 games, second most in the entire nation for Division II soccer.

    The entire team is on an offensive roll as well. In the last month the Mavericks have scored three or more goals in six of their last nine games and have outscored their opponents 25-5.

    Briley Guarneri now has 10 wins on the season, eight of those being a clean sheet. The sophomore Goalkeeper has a minuscule 0.61 goals against average.

    The Mavericks will be home this upcoming weekend for a tough matchup on Friday against Metro State. The Roadrunners were the last team to hold CMU to a scoreless draw back in the RMAC opener for CMU, Sept. 16.. The Mavs will also face UCCS on Sunday at home.

Tyler’s Tyrades: I was probably drinking when I wrote this

by Tyler Fransen

   If you know me, you know two things about me; I like beer and I can’t have too much of it.

   Coincidentally enough, as of writing this sentence I am currently sitting on my laptop at the bar with an ice-cold-name-brand-beer making countless spelling errors (thank god for spell check).

   My problem with beer is that I simply can’t enjoy it like some other people I know. In fact, one beer in and I’m more giggly than a stereotypical school girl. Two beers and I’m slurring my words, and after three beers I pose a danger to myself and humanity.

   Now I want to make it clear, I never drive drunk, I never call or text people when I’m drunk (or at least not that I remember) and I always keep my clothes on in public. That last one is just a personal choice.

   But the question is why am I such a lightweight when it comes to booze? I have the perfect beer belly, I love bar food and I like talking to the bartender. The bartender I’m sitting across from right now has a flannel shirt, a 1920’s mustache and gauges in his ear so you know he’s actually listening since he’s got extra holes in his ears.

   I love the experience of drinking; sitting at the bar after a long day of work and classes, talking with companions and singing the songs of Billy Joel and Journey in unison.

   Okay, so maybe I’m romanticizing my idea of the perfect night out, but you get the point. As lovely as it would be though to sing songs as a chorus of drunks, the reality of my alcohol consumption looks a lot more like this:

   First, I make sure there’s a reason why I’m drinking. It doesn’t have to be special, but there does need to be a reason. Family reunions, job promotion, stressful day at work, the game’s on, getting that girl’s number or not getting that girl’s number are all perfectly valid reasons for me to enjoy a beer (emphasis on ‘a’ beer).

   Secondly, when I’m drinking I’m either with friends or by myself, but usually with friends. It makes the experience better, sure, but it also gives my friends incentive to ask me for favors. They do this by saying, “Hey, remember that time you were drunk off two beers and we had to stop you from saying something stupid to the waitress?” That’s happened more than I’d like to admit.

   Next, I always make sure that if I’m drinking I either have water to go with it or food, usually both. My favorite bar food of all time is wings, but after a couple of beers my favorite bar food is yours.

    And lastly, when I’m drinking I make sure that I have ceased all communication for the evening. The last thing I need is a call from my mother saying, “How much did you drink last night? I got this weird text from you that just said ‘I loooooooooooove Jahn Elwaaaaay’ and I got concerned.”

   Now, by following these rules, does it make me the perfect drunk? No. On two completely separate occasions, when I consumed way way more than my three beer limit, I asked my sober friend, “Am I drunk?” That’s right, I had to verify if I was drunk, and my friend simply said “Yes, yes you are.”

   But so what if I can’t consume beer like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, it saves me money by not having to buy as much, and I can actually enjoy a buzz without going crazy.

   My fellow lightweights, let this be a message of hope to you. We may not be able to play drinking games on debate night, we may not be the poster child for a wild night out and we’re certainly not breaking any Guinness records any time soon (ha, Guinness, get it?); but we do have one thing that we always fall back on that our more liquor tolerant friends do not have.

   We have more money for beer later. Carry on my light as a feather drunkards, and remember, don’t drink and drive and always drink responsibly.