Last week, Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre said it was important for his team to get a win against Arizona so that the Buffaloes could make November matter again in Boulder.
The final month of the season isn't officially meaningless -- in terms of bowl game implications -- but it certainly looks less important after Saturday's 44-20 loss to Arizona at Folsom Field.
At 3-4 (0-4 Pac-12), the Buffaloes need to win three of their final five games to reach bowl eligibility. Facing back-to-back road games at No. 17 UCLA (5-2, 2-2) and Washington (5-3, 2-3) in the next two weeks, CU has its back against the wall.
Including dates with Southern Cal (5-3, 2-2) and Utah (4-4, 1-4), CU might have four bowl teams to face in last five games. The Buffs also play California (1-7, 0-5).
"This game hurt us, so we definitely are going to remember this feeling," linebacker Derrick Webb said Saturday after the loss to the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2).
On Sunday, the Buffs took an unexpected day off. CU generally holds a short practice the night after a game, but made a late announcement that, for the first time this year, Sunday's practice was cancelled.
CU provided no reason for the practice being cancelled. It was clear following Saturday's game, however, that the Buffs felt the sting of this loss more than any other this season.
"It hurts because they're definitely a team we thought we could beat, so it hurts from that point," senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe said.
MacIntyre seemed to take the loss particularly hard. For the first time this year, MacIntyre was short with the media during his post-game press conference and made it clear that he had no desire to be at the podium.
He spent all of 14 seconds answering the first three questions thrown at him -- and interrupted two of those three to give a quick answer.
To MacIntyre's credit, he did stick around longer than he said he would. He initially said he would answer just three questions, but actually fielded 24. Still, it was unusual behavior for MacIntyre, who perhaps knew how costly the loss was in CU's quest to get to a bowl game
"We shoulda won the game," he said.
Because they didn't, the Buffs now face an Everest-like climb to get to bowl eligibility, and the schedule doesn't get any easier.