Tradition can't hold a candle to defeat.
I know because I have tried for eight years to the day to be the very best Colorado football fan I can be. I have tried tradition, going back twice now to the Oxford Hotel in LoDo, there to prepare for the Rocky Mountain Showdown betwixt CU and CSU at in Denver. I've walked the few blocks from the hotel to the light rail at Union Station, there to decamp with fans both Buff and Ram for Whatchamacallit Field at Mile High.
I've tried to root for both the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Denver Broncos in the No Fun League -- and it's been no fun at all.
It's not just that they lose because losing I can live with. It's the way the Buffs mangled Dan Hawkins, AKA the perfect man for the job, and turned him into a blithering fool; the way they turned to Jon Embree, a man with no head coaching experience at any level, and now expect him to lead them to the promised land simply because he's an alum.
And how about them Broncos! They chuck Mike Shanahan, a Super Bowl coach twice over, and bring in a nasty, mean-spirited kid named Josh McDaniels, who manages to alienate his All-Pro quarterback so quickly that the pouty QB decamps to the Chicago Bears. McDaniels wins his first six straight and then loses and loses and loses, destroying Shanahan's amazing zone running game faster than you can say "bubble screen." The Denver Broncos, now under run-first savant John Fox and savior John Elway, are currently 1-3 in the American Football Conference West, ranking #22 in points, #24 in total yards and pass yards, and #26 in rush yards in a 30-team league.
In 2010 they finished 4-12 last in their division, but they were bested by John Fox in his last year with the Carolina Panthers: he went 2-14. He was the obvious hire for the Donkeys.
The Buffs are just about exactly as bad as them Broncos, with an identical 1-3 record even as they make ready for Oliver Luck and Stanford in Palo Alto this Saturday followed by Washington in Seattle before they get Oregon, a BCS finalist last year, at home in Boulder. Colorado's first year in the Pac 12 is guaranteed to play out as a dark night of the soul for Buff fans everywhere.
Is this normal -- or merely paranormal?
Brian Phillips, an Oklahoma State fan, writes in Grantland.com of a curse he refers to as "Squinky," the paranormal certainty that something inexplicable will go wrong just when everything seems to be going right. Broncos and buffaloes both have hoofs, so maybe we're talking about the curse of Hoofie. Consider Colorado's Saturday meltdown against Washington State, the worst team in the Pac 12 last year. A coach with a 2-20 record outside Pullman whupped the Buffs 31-27 in Boulder on two touchdown passes in the final two-and-a-half minutes. To be that bad you almost have to be good at it.
The very best 15 seconds in college football is when Ralphie the buffalo is hoofin' it across the field to make way for the CU Buffs. The best thing about the Buffs is their buffalo. What else do you need to know about football in Colorado?
I love Colorado. I just can't stand the teams that I love.