Colorado is 6-22 since joining the Pac-12, with a 3-16 conference record. And despite a 2-1 start, that record doesn't look to get any better after scoring only 17 points on Oregon State's defense, which is like losing at solitaire when no one is watching. Combine the Buffs' ineptitude with Utah's mediocrity, and you've got a number of fans wondering why the Pac-10 even expanded to include these two teams in the first place. But make no mistake: Colorado, should Mike MacIntyre bring them back to relevance, is an important piece of the Pac-12 puzzle, and everyone should be rooting for the Buffaloes to improve and enter the top half of the conference. No, really.
Think about national championships for a second. Think about all of USC's titles (and then immediately think about Lane Kiffin standing on the tarmac at LAX while this song plays). Think about UCLA's back in 1954, Stanford's in 1926, or Cal's five pre-WWII championships (we should probably uncork that 1920 championship before it turns to vinegar). Think about Washington's title, if you're into that Rule 34 shit. But please leave time to remember that Colorado has a national championship to their name, too, and more recently than anyone but USC or the Huskies. Colorado also ranks third behind USC and Washington in all-time wins among Pac-12 teams. And while historical success isn't an end-all, be-all in college football (see Boise State, Kansas State, or even Oregon), it's definitely an attention-getter when a team with some pedigree is playing well. A Colorado rebirth might not have the same media effect as Notre Dame's undefeated run last season, but it'd definitely garner some national attention, in a way that improvement from a team like Vanderbilt or Maryland wouldn't necessarily get. Somebody at ESPN is in charge of pulling up Rashaan Salaam highlights when CFB Live talks about Colorado, and he's been soooooo bored the last decade. Also, that somebody is actually Rashaan Salaam, because don't smoke weed kids.
Tickets for the Cal-Colorado game on November 6th in Boulder, featuring perhaps two of the worst teams in the Pac-12, are selling for as low as $17 on Tiqiq.com. Tickets for this Saturday's Washington-Stanford game, two of the best teams in the Pac-12, start at $14. Other than the obvious reason - Stanford football fans are the god damn worst - why would a most-likely crappy game in November be worth more than one of the best Pac-12 games of the year? Because Boulder is, by all accounts, awesome. Folsom Field is amazing, Boulder has been named one of the best college towns in the country by numerous publications, and they stampede a damn bison across the field before every game. All we need is some quality football, and that's a must-attend road trip on every Pac-12 fan's schedule.
(Also, Stanford-Washington tickets for $14? I know what I'm doing Saturday night.)
Oregon is, most likely, going to beat the hell out of Colorado on Saturday afternoon. Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre has a ways to go in one of the bigger rebuilding jobs in FBS. And a return to a place of perennial bowl contendership is a few years away at least. But even baby steps are a good thing for the Pac-12. The SEC has shown year in and year out that perceived depth is more important than actual depth when it comes to national rankings, and the Pac-12 is just starting to get on board. For instance, at this time last year, Mississippi State was comfortably amidst the top 25. Now, Mississippi State was not a very good football team at that point, nor are they a good team now. But because of a 7-0 start, where their toughest game was @ Kentucky, they spent multiple weeks as a ranked team. The fact that they lost five of their last six, and are off to a 2-2 start this year is irrelevant because in Week 1 this year, Oklahoma State beat MSU 21-3. That looked like a pretty good win, right? Wrong. That's the perceived depth of the SEC fooling you. The Pac-12's gotta get some of that inflated ego, and it happens by teams like Colorado, Washington State, and Utah showing signs of life. That's already happening this year with the Cougs, who were a trendy pick to make a game of it vs. Stanford last week - they didn't, but their perceived non-suckitude made that win look better for Stanford. And Utah's starting to come around behind exciting QB play from Tyler Wilson and wins over Utah State and BYU. So a better Colorado team would be the final piece in a well-rounded conference. And isn't that a cause we can all get behind?