If moral victories mattered at this point (which they don't), CU's 31-28 loss to Oklahoma State last night would definitely qualify.
Yes, I know: OSU was without starting quarterback (and Chatfield High School alum) Zac Robinson, and the squad's been mildly overrated all season long, making its ranking as the twelfth best team in the country a bit suspect. But given its season to date, CU still shouldn't have been able to stick with the Cowboys, particularly with practically no rushing game. Somehow, though, the Buffs managed to go into halftime with a lead, and at one point actually held an eleven-point advantage before slowly succumbing to the inevitable.
After the game, QB Tyler Hansen, who suffered a bruised thumb that resulted in another unwanted Cody Hawkins sighting, acted as if Dan Hawkins career as CU coach didn't end for all intents and purposes several weeks ago: "We always get told that Coach Hawkins is solid right now. His job is pretty certain. He's going to be here," he said.
Doubt that in a huge way -- but some of the players Hawkins'll leave behind, including Hansen and receiver Markques Simas, have some significant upside. That probably won't be enough to convince a big-name coach that this mess can be cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time -- certainly not Mike Shanahan. But a coach who stresses offensive line play, overall discipline and other fundamentals could right this ship more quickly than CU's 3-8 mark implies.
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That's what passes for optimism regarding CU football these days...