It's not over ... but it's over.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Colorado Buffaloes let a winnable game slip away on their home turf.
The latest blow came courtesy of Texas Tech, a come-from-behind 27-24 winner at Folsom Field on Saturday. A week prior, Baylor rallied for a 31-25 win in Boulder.
Thus, what could have been a 5-2 record and some momentum heading into next week's game at Oklahoma is now a 3-4 ledger, three straight losses and a team whose confidence has been battered.
Over? While the Buffs still have a chance -- granted, an outside chance -- at becoming bowl eligible, there is almost no chance that Dan Hawkins survives to usher the Buffs into the Pac-12. Any realistic chance he had was doomed by back-to-back losses in back-to-back must-win situations.
The irony of Saturday's loss won't be lost on those who have followed the Hawkins era closely.
The combination that stirred more ire than perhaps any other in CU history -- Dan Hawkins on the sideline and Cody Hawkins behind center -- finished the game.
The Buffs missed a crucial field goal -- again.
A chance for a win came up painstakingly short.
And just past the halfway mark of the season, the Buffs find themselves looking up at even a .500 record. Only twice in Hawkins' five years have the Buffs had a winning record after seven games.
It hasn't happened in either of the last two.
There are more parallels. During his tenure in Boulder, Hawkins has steadfastly insisted that the Buffs were only a few plays away from a victory.
That's never been more true than the last couple of weeks -- and in a program's fifth year, it's a refrain that should not be played. Against Baylor, a goal-line fumble made the difference. Saturday against the Red Raiders, it was a missed field goal that would have likely at least produced overtime.
That is obviously not where the Buffs expected to be when the season began. When the Buffs kicked off 2010, they believed they were ready to make those plays.
Instead, they're bemoaning their fate. Again.
"Nobody sits in the film room or weight room over the summer and says how great it would be to be 3-4," Cody Hawkins said.
Now, this team with three straight losses and a confidence level barely moving the needle must head out on the road to play one of the nation's best teams. That's not good news for a team that hasn't won on the road since 2007.
"We'll just keep hanging in there," Dan Hawkins said in his post-game press conference. "Just go back to the grindstone."
But while Hawkins won't quit, he seemed almost resigned to the fact that his time as CU's head coach is now numbered by weeks and days. The steadfast resolve he has always displayed seems to be replaced by a grim reality.
There are no miracle finishes in CU's 2010 season. Two weeks in a row, the opportunity arose -- and two weeks in a row, reality reared its head.
Meanwhile, a faction of CU fans will demand an immediate change. The guess here is that CU's administration will see the fallacy of such a move and not move until they are ready.
Contrary to popular theory, a new coach at midseason would not help recruiting. An interim coach will scare away recruits; not attract them.
And, for those who insist that Colorado could make the permanent change now, CU officials would be unwise not to explore every option before making a move.
Six weeks will not make a measurable difference in the recruiting wars.
What must happen now is an increased sense of urgency from the powers that be.
It's likely that CU officials have identified possible candidates. Next, they must make sure their list is complete and that no qualified individual is passed over before gauging interest and moving forward.
Haste is never the answer in times of distress. Rather, a well-thought and well-executed plan -- one that offers long-term rewards, not short-term gratification -- is the solution CU officials must pursue.