Mac wants to ride on with CU
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.