One of the biggest reasons the University of Colorado wanted to join the Pac-10 Conference two years ago was to play more frequently in front of large numbers of alumni in California.
But since announcing their new conference affiliation, the Buffs' first four trips into the state have been disasters.
The Buffs have been outscored in California by 180 points (214-34) in four games at California, Stanford, UCLA and Fresno State since the start of the 2010 season.
Those figures are likely to be even a little uglier Saturday evening when the final seconds tick off the clock at the Los Angeles Coliseum where CU will take on Southern Cal in front of a sellout crowd of 93,607. The Buffs are 40-point underdogs.
Colorado attracted more than 9,000 fans to the Sept. 11 game in Berkeley, Calif., against the Bears two years ago, but the numbers of fans clad in black and gold have dwindled in more recent games in California. CU reported selling approximately 1,500 tickets in its allotment for the trip to Fresno State last month. Fresno is just a two-hour drive from Berkeley.
For Saturday’s game at USC, CU sold 2,100 of its 2,500 allotted tickets and returned the remaining 400.
We all know fans will come out en mass again when the Buffs become more competitive at some future date on the gridiron, but the school and the athletic department aren't able to reap all the benefits of playing in the Golden State right now because the football program is struggling to badly.
In N Out anyone?
Oregon State coach Mike Riley has taken a page out of the Colorado basketball play book by taking his team to In N Out for hamburgers after wins at UCLA and BYU this season.
CU athletic director Mike Bohn took the entire traveling party, including 50 students, to In N Out in Los Angeles last March after Tad Boyle's men's basketball team won the conference tournament championship.
If the Buffs do pull off a very unlikely upset Saturday over the Trojans, I'm betting CU drops another $6,000 on burgers. They would be well-deserved.
Buffs fans have to feel good for senior tight end Nick Kasa who was named to the midseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the best tight end in college football.
Kasa switched to tight end from defensive line at about this time last season and has obviously come a long way in just one year under the coaching of J.D. Brookhart and Jon Embree. Kasa is one of only 26 tight ends on the list, which speaks to how much improvement he has made.
At the midway point of the season, Kasa has 11 catches for 239 yards and three touchdowns. He has done most of that damage in the past three games. He also saved the day with a key fumble recovery on the game-winning drive at Washington State.
He's playing like he should have been a tight end all along. If he continues to improve, count on him getting a chance to play professionally because he has size coveted at the next level (6-foot-6, 260).
Semifinalists for the award will be named Nov. 12.
Heading for 30,000s?
A few folks sent me questions on Twitter after the Buffs' two most recent home games wondering if the three November home games might be some of the least attended in recent history because of the way the season is going.
Colorado hasn't had a crowd of less than 40,000 since it attracted just 32,617 for a win over Kansas State on Nov. 19, 1988. The closest CU has come to dipping into the the 30,000s for a game came in the 2001 Big 12 Conference championship season when only 40,338 showed up for a Sept. 8 home game against San Jose State.
CU has done remarkably well in terms of attendance in recent years if you consider the team hasn't been to a bowl game since 2007 and hasn't had a winning season since 2005. The lowest attendance for any game in the past six years was 41,147 on Senior Day in 2010.
Colorado's Oct. 27 game at Oregon will kickoff at 1 p.m. (MDT) and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
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WEST COAST BLUES
Here is a look at how CU football has fared in games played in California since the school announced it was joining the Pac-12 Conference
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 11, 2010 at California L 52-7
Oct. 8, 2011 at Stanford L 48-7
Nov. 19, 2011 at UCLA L 45-6
Sept. 15, 2012 at Fresno StateL 69-14