From the Dept. of Misery Loves Company, we provide this public service to Colorado Buffalo fans this morning:

Check out the Big 12 standings. You are not alone.

The three teams considered favorites to win the North this year? All three are keeping the Buffs company in the basement, with just two league wins between them. Guaranteed, fans of Missouri (0-3 in conference play), Nebraska (1-2) and Kansas (1-2) aren`t feeling any better than Buff fans this morning, and they all have something in common:

They all want to know how in the name of Bill Snyder the Kansas State Wildcats have climbed to the top of the division.

But one team not asking any questions today is Iowa State. ISU may not be leading the division, but the giddy meter is still off the charts in Ames. The Cyclones are enjoying the view from second place, thanks to a rare win at Nebraska, where they forced an incredible eight -- yep, eight -- Husker turnovers. (Anybody want to trade places today with Nebraska O-coordinator Shawn Watson? Didn`t think so.)

But back to the Buffs, a team that clearly isn`t comfortable with the mere hint of prosperity. On a day when they could have laid claim to being a legitimate contender in the North, theyinstead laid an egg. Plop. Right there on KSU`s artificial turf for the whole world to see.

Fumbles, interceptions, penalties -- pick your favorite mistake and the Buffs committed it. If the "shot themselves in foot" cliché were a reality, the Buffs wouldn`t have a toe to stand on today.


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Even more frustrating for CU followers is that the defense again played well enough to win. Half of Kansas State`s points came on the heels of Buff turnovers, and it could have been much, much worse had CU`s defense not held up its end.

The defense gave the Buffs a chance. The offense and special teams threw it away.

Folks, it`s inexplicable and inexcusable that a team with so much to gain would play so poorly. Blame it on coaching, blame it on execution, blame it on the game plan -- you just about can`t go wrong.

Normally, that would be enough drama for any team. The act of tossing away a chance at the division lead is usually ample to fill the turmoil department.

But not for the Buffs. Nope. CU coach Dan Hawkins managed to add some melo to the drama by resurrecting what we all had hoped was a dead quarterback controversy.

Bad move.

Hawk should know better.

"I`ve told you before. We`re going to do what it takes to try to win football games," Hawkins told reporters after the game. "How that all plays out, we`ll see."

But thing is, everybody has seen. They saw Tyler Hansen do things against Kansas a week ago that Cody Hawkins will never be able to do.

And they saw Cody do just enough on Saturday to remind us what he can and can`t do.

He can get hot and complete a string of passes, which he did by taking the Buffs deep into Kansas State territory.

But he can also throw interceptions, which he did, twice. While Buff tight end Riar Geer took the blame for the interception that sealed the Buffs` fate, fact is KSU very nearly picked Hawkins off at least twice earlier in the drive.

Understand that quarterback problems were by no means the only worries for the Buffs on Saturday. Special teams, lack of a running game, CU`s inability to get its best athletes on the field on offense -- all those things played a role.

But the QB issue is a microcosm of the problems.

Honestly? This was not a game Hansen was going to win down the stretch. His inexperience showed as he struggled for most of the afternoon.

But the only way for him to get experience is to play. The more he sees of those situations, the better he`ll be. Meanwhile, Hawkins` argument that the Buffs will do "what it takes to try to win football games" loses steam when the alternative produces no better results.

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Hansen deserves the chance to play out the season, to get the same opportunity that Cody Hawkins received.

But it`s more than that. Hawkins owes it to every one of his players to give Hansen that same chance.

The public perception is that the issue is about Dan Hawkins` son. It`s not.

Rather, it`s about Dan Hawkins` stubborn insistence on proving he is right, and doing so at the expense of his team. It`s a stubborn streak that is pervasive throughout the offense. It`s an insistence upon trying to force players into a system rather than adapting a system to the players. It`s an insistence upon not putting the best athletes on the field while apparently trying to make a point by using less-talented players -- and we`re not talking about only the quarterback.

That`s the problem that needs to be corrected. If Hawkins truly cares about the program -- and not simply about proving himself right -- he will do what all good leaders do.

He will adjust and make the right call.

One week ago, Kansas coach Mark Mangino was effusive with his praise of Hansen.

"The quarterback for Colorado was the difference maker today," Mangino said. " I think they found their quarterback, that`s for sure."

What was clear to Mangino also seems to be clear the vast majority of folks who follow Colorado football.

But what isn`t clear today is whether Dan Hawkins will shed his stubborn streak and do what is best for his team.