We are almost a week away from the kick off of the 2012 season! This also means I will continue to recap the recent scrimmages that pretty much every college football team had this recent weekend.
Coach Embree liked what he saw from CU's scrimmage last weekend but some fans from BuffBackers and other CU forums such as AllBuffs are saying that they will wait until September 1st to believe Embree. I said the same thing and I blame it on the overly positive coach speak that former coach Dan Hawkins spouted out over the course of five years about how close the Buffs were to turning the corner or the need to "cinch" up some things. No scrimmage stats were released and the race for the backup QB position didn't yield any answers and Wood & Hirschman will continue to battle it out for the backup spot. Perhaps they understand that CU hasn't had a starting QB play the full season since 2007 which was Cody Hawkins' first season as the starting QB. Hawkins would lose his starting job at times to Tyler Hansen who finally had the job to himself but got hurt and Hirschman made one start last season because of that. Having some depth at QB is a welcome change from years past. Anyone remember John Hessler taking over for Koy Detmer back in 1995 for the Buffs?
Meanwhile, in Ft. Collins, Coach McElwain held some players out of the first scrimmage (just like Embree in Boulder) and the backups stepped up. This was a great opportunity for the Rams to see what the backups could do. My concern for the Rams would be that Grayson threw two interceptions along with M.J. McPeek who also threw two interceptions. Grayson threw interceptions in the games that he started when he was feeling the pressure and if he was feeling the pressure, that would be from a defensive line that lost an All-MWC player in Capi when he was booted from the team in the spring along with Orkapo and one other player.
Both coaches would understandbly be under quite some pressure but for different reasons. McElwain is earning nearly twice as much as Embree and CSU could be counting on McElwain to field a sucessful team so CSU alumni and fans will be more willing to support a new on-campus football stadium for the Rams. Losing to the Buffs wouldn't be the end of the world for McElwain but it would allow the Rams to continue to imrove as a football team for the remainder of the season. Embree is currently the lowest paid Pac-12 coach at about $700k and the money that the Buffs will be making from the new media contracts and Pac-12 Network will enable CU to pay off any remaining balance they own to Gary Barnett and Dan Hawkins. If the Buffs falter against the Rams, CU fans could quickly give up on the season and look forward to the men's basketball program which is coming off consecutive 20+ win seasons under Tad Boyle. The buyout money with the Pac-12 money might make buying Embree out easier than expected. I believe Embree has the most pressure in this case but he doesn't appear to be showing it at this point.
The rational fan would probably say CU wins this one because the Buffs are in year two of Embree's system despite its youth and the Rams are starting over with McElwain. As someone who has watched the RMS for years, it has been difficult to get not only the regional media but the national media to determine a surefire winner in this case and I don't think it will be any different. The RMS is one of those must see games regardless of how both teams have done over the years.