EUGENE, Ore. -- Here we are at another lost Saturday for the Colorado football program.

It's another fall day in which fans of black and gold know well ahead of time it's pointless to turn on the television hoping for a victory. Instead, those who do bother to tune in (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network) hope not to be too embarrassed. They hope for signs of progress, some glimpse that tells them things can and will get better for some distant Saturday off in the future, likely still years away.

The Buffs are up against the No. 2 Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium -- The House of Loud -- and perhaps the most dynamic offense in the college game. Oregon is scoring 51 points a game and that is with coach Chip Kelly generally taking his foot off the pedal after halftime.

Since CU fans are hungry for hope and there is little doubt what the outcome will be with the Buffs being 46-point underdogs, it seems like the right time to examine one of the biggest mistakes of the brief Jon Embree era in Boulder and a possible new way forward.

When Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy were hired two years ago from assistant coaching jobs with the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, respectively, they decided to design their offense in Boulder borrowing largely from the offenses being used at the time by those two NFL franchises.


The coaches had known success before at both the college and pro level using West Coast style offenses relying on strong running games to open up things for a play-action passing attack. It's the same kind of offense that helped them win a Big 12 Conference championship in Boulder in 2001 as assistants under former coach Gary Barnett.

Colorado enters today's game ranked last in the Pac-12 Conference in scoring at 19 points a game and 110th in that category nationally. The Buffs are 106th in rushing, 111th in passing efficiency and 102nd in total offense.

Returning to the West Coast style of offense appears to have been a mistake. The only teams in the Pac-12 Conference running pro-style offenses with sustained success have been USC and Stanford, and Stanford only began having success doing so in recent seasons under former coach Jim Harbaugh with former quarterback Andrew Luck.

Embree and Bieniemy failed to recognize how much the college game has changed in the past decade and that in rebuilding the CU program, the quickest and easiest way to do it would be using an offense which they weren't necessarily accustomed to.

Former coach Bill McCartney had the right idea in the fall of 2010, as he made it clear he wanted to be considered for the CU job. He laid out his plan to recruit a dynamic play-maker who can run and pass at the quarterback position and base his offense around that set of skills. It's the same formula working well for numerous top-25 programs around the nation today, including the Ducks. The Buffs' old rivals Kansas State and Nebraska, too.

Embree has said in recent weeks that the biggest problem with his program -- the one consuming his thoughts -- is how to get better on offense. He has held meetings with his offensive assistants and has indicated everything will be on the table in the offseason in a search for answers.

There have already been signs in recent games that Embree likes the idea McCartney proposed two years ago. Quarterback Jordan Webb has been using the read option with some success in recent games and it has added another element to the CU arsenal that defenses are now having to consider.

CU actually moved the ball well at times last week in a 50-6 loss at USC, but the Buffs committed six turnovers and failed to get a single touchdown in five trips into the redzone.

Colorado's defense has struggled mightily this season against almost every opponent, but particularly against the more innovative and creative offenses it has seen. It has been burned over and over again by quarterbacks making plays on the run.

Colorado defenders said prior to last week's game that they preferred facing the USC pro style offense as opposed to the spread systems because it was easier to prepare. Obviously, USC's talent still turned the score into an ugly one.

But if your own defenders and defensive coordinator are baffled by those spread systems and at a loss for stopping them, the question must be asked. Why not switch to that style, too?

Tons of kids play in those systems at the high school level these days and can more easily adapt when they arrive on campus. Embree even recently said that freshman quarterback Shane Dillon has shown remarkable ability to operate that style of offense while running scout team this fall, mimicking the opponent's plays.

Dillon, after all, appears to be the future of the quarterback position in Boulder.

Colorado might get back to respectability if Embree and Bieniemy decide to dig their heels in with the pro style offense in the offseason. But there is little evidence to suggest that they can make it work without a commitment from the school to keep them employed for years to come.

Just something to mull over Saturday as Buffs fans hit the slopes, go for a hike, ride a bike, play with their kids, see a movie, and, yes, even for those who just can't pull themselves away from the frustration of another lost Saturday on the gridiron.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleRingo