Mac wants to ride on with CU

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - MARK KISZLA Den­ver Post Columnist

Af­ter work­ing four long years to re­build the Colorado foot­ball pro­gram, coach Mike MacIn­tyre would be crazy to leave the Buf­faloes now for all the money in Texas.

It was late on a bad Fri­day night for the Buf­faloes, and MacIn­tyre did not see much sense in fur­ther ex­am­in­ing the wreck­age of CU’s 41-10 loss to Wash­ing­ton in the Pa­cific-12 cham­pi­onship game. Ready to move on, he hopped on a golf cart deep in­side Levi’s Sta­dium, turned to me and said: “Want a ride?”

What’s next? It seems clear that MacIn­tyre would like to ride on down the road with the Buf­faloes, with an ex­ten­sion to a con­tract that cur­rently runs through the 2018 sea­son and pays him slightly more than $2 mil­lion per year, plus in­cen­tives.

“I don’t talk about my con­tract sit­u­a­tion,” MacIn­tyre told me, be­fore re­veal­ing that he and CU ath­letic direc­tor Rick Ge­orge will get down to busi­ness soon. “I know we’ll be meet­ing on that some­time this com­ing week.”

MacIn­tyre could get rich quick, if he so de­sired. The scan­dal-rid­den pro­gram at Bay­lor could dou­ble his salary in a heart­beat. But rather than look­ing for lever­age in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ge­orge, the CU coach in­sisted: “I’m not go­ing to Bay­lor.”

And he got Twit­ter-pated af­ter be­com­ing the vic­tim of what MacIn­tyre re­garded as fake news on so­cial me­dia. Con­trary to what you might have seen on your cell­phone, he is not in­ter­view­ing for the Bears’ va­cancy.

“Get that mess out of there,” said MacIn­tyre, work­ing hard to throt­tle back his anger and de­scribe the ru­mor with a four-let­ter word fit for print in your Sun­day news­pa­per. “Peo­ple were call­ing me, ask­ing me about Bay­lor. And I had no idea why. None.”

OK. For­get Bay­lor. I pressed on and asked: Is there any foot­ball job that could make him wa­ver from his con­trac­tual com­mit­ment to coach the Buf­faloes in 2017?

“Not that I know of. No,” MacIn­tyre said. “I have not talked to any­body about any­thing.”

What the lop­sided loss to Wash­ing­ton in the Pac-12 cham­pi­onship game showed is that the Buf­faloes have come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go. Af­ter hang­ing within a touch­down of the Huskies dur­ing the first half, mo­men­tum swung hard against Colorado af­ter quar­ter­back Sefo Li­u­fau threw two costly in­ter­cep­tions early in the third quar­ter.

“I think the team you play in a

big game is bet­ter. So when mo­men­tum swings, that team has the tal­ent to cap­i­tal­ize,” MacIn­tyre said. “And it’s harder to jump back in against a cham­pi­onship-qual­ity team.”

Yes, the rise is real. The climb, how­ever, only gets steeper for Colorado from here.

Af­ter a vic­tory late in the sea­son al­lowed Colorado to el­bow its way into the top 10 of the col­lege foot­ball rank­ings, run­ning back Phillip Lind- say told me: “Bring on Alabama,” and didn’t blink.

You’ve got to ad­mire the spunk. You’ve also got to ad­mit this ros­ter needs to add more top-shelf tal­ent be­fore CU is a le­git­i­mate na­tional ti­tle con­tender.

With his job on the line af­ter los­ing 27-of-37 games dur­ing three sea­sons in Boul­der, MacIn­tyre did not blink. He did not stop dream­ing. And now it’s more than a dream.

Colorado did not win the league ti­tle. But, one vic­tory at a time, the Buf­faloes earned back their rep­u­ta­tion as a re­spected na­tional brand. Dur­ing my trip to the league cham­pi­onship game, the pas­sen­gers on the plane spon­ta­neously erupted to sing the CU fight song upon land­ing in California. The pro­gram now has some­thing tan­gi­ble to sell, whether MacIn­tyre is re­cruit­ing Jake Moretti from Pomona High School or sit­ting in the kitchen of a five-star prospect from Texas.

Bay­lor? Ore­gon? The fall of the Bears and Ducks leaves more open­ings for the Buf­faloes in the top 25. Un­less a big pay­day is his pri­mary mo­ti­va­tion, why would MacIn­tyre want to go to Waco?

He al­ready has a bet­ter job in Colorado.

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