10-4 Bu≠aloes of 2016 won’t be forgotten
san antonio» The 1977 Denver Broncos will never be forgotten. Same with the 2007 Colorado Rockies. Both teams concluded otherwise remarkable seasons with humbling defeats, but captured the hearts of local sports fans for their accomplishments.
Now throw the 2016 University of Colorado football team into that group.
The Buffaloes finished a 10-4 season by getting blown out 41-10 against Washington in the Pac-12 championship game and by getting routed 38-8 against Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday night. What they did before that, however, secured their special spot in CU history.
Last spring, CU co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini threw out a Twitter tag, #therise, more or less as a catchy phrase for what he hoped the Buffaloes would do after posting 10 consecutive losing seasons.
That hashtag took on a life of its own, and “The Rise” became the slogan for the CU football program and all of Buffs Nation. The athletic department even produced a season-long series titled “The Rise.”
It became the theme of this season, but “The Rise” was never about just one season. All along, “The Rise” has been about the Buffs’ future, and fighting past the ugliness of the past decade.
CU football — a program that has won a national championship, a Heisman Trophy and numerous other major awards — became one of the worst programs in the country over the past decade. The Buffaloes made a steady climb out of the muck in recent years, but this season was about busting through and forcing people to stop laughing at CU football. Mission accomplished. After going only 2-25 in Pac-12 games the previous three years, the Buffs went 8-1 this season en route to playing in the Pac-12 title game. They won the Pac-12 South for the first time. They became just the eighth team in CU history to win 10 games. They reached the top 10 of the national rankings for the first time in 14 years.
“We got a taste of something great, something that Colorado is used to getting back in the day and now it’s back,” said running back Phillip Lindsay.
“They’ve given everything they’ve had when nobody believed in them,” coach Mike MacIntyre said of his players. “Now everybody believes in them . ... It didn’t end like we’d like it to, but wow, what they’ve done, they set a foundation for us to keep improving.”
That is really what “The Rise” was all about. The 2016 team didn’t need to win a championship. It just needed to be different.
“Those young men ... should be remembered for a long, long time for what they’ve done for Colorado football,” MacIntyre said.