Once again, coach Dan Hawkins faced the music after yet another road defeat, a 43-10 thumping at Oklahoma on Saturday.
It is becoming clear the fifth-year coach will not be retained, especially when the Buffaloes are strapped with a 14-game road losing streak after falling for the 11th straight time on the road in Big 12 play.
The loss dropped Colorado to 3-5 overall, while the 0-4 record in the Big 12 is the program's worst conference start since 1983. Seven straight Big 12 defeats marks its worst conference skid since a stretch bridging the 1978 and '79 seasons.
Yet Hawkins either isn't concerned about his fate, or perhaps is resigned to the fact the end is approaching.
"It's the nature of the business," he said. "So you show up every day and you do your job. All the chatter that goes on outside there, whether it's good or bad, I don't think has got to be a part of your constitution. So you just show up and get after it every day."
Bowl eligibility remains a possibility, especially since Colorado faces its easiest road game of the season on Saturday against another team off to a winless Big 12 start, Kansas. That game is followed by home dates against two North Division opponents -- Iowa State and Kansas State.
But questions exist as to whether Colorado has cashed it in already. It is down to its backup quarterback, Cody Hawkins, who as the son of the coach has been a lightning rod for any criticism directed at his father. The Buffs generated just 263 yards total offense in Cody Hawkins' first start of the season as he completed just 17 of 44 passes.
That was just part of the reason for the mismatch against Oklahoma, which won its 35th consecutive game at home as quarterback Landry Jones threw for 453 yards against a Colorado defense shredded by injuries.
"This team doesn't quit," vowed defensive end Will Pericak. "We play hard no matter what."
--Colorado coach Dan Hawkins acknowledged that he had a conversation with athletic director Mike Bohn on the flight to Oklahoma for Saturday's loss to the Sooners. No real details were revealed about the discussion, with speculation mounting that this will be the last season for the fifth-year coach. "I feel very good about what we teach these guys in all situations," Hawkins said. "I think they've got their feet squarely on the ground." Hawkins is 19-38 at Colorado.
--The Oklahoma game resulted in a 43-10 defeat and included more than 600 total yards for the Sooners. The late start meant the game did not end until shortly before midnight.
--A 15-yard pass by Oklahoma in the third quarter marked the first time this season a Colorado opponent had converted a third down of more than 10 yards. Opponents were previously 0-for-10 facing such long yardage.
GAME BALL GOES TO: WR Scotty McKnight -- He scored the Buffs' lone touchdown on a third-quarter reception and became the first player in Colorado history to grab more than 200 career catches. He also extended his school-record streak of consecutive games with a reception to 45, the longest such streak in the nation. McKnight has caught at least one pass in every career game.
KEEP AN EYE ON: S Terrel Smith -- He was put through a tough initiation by Oklahoma after cracking the starting lineup because of injuries. The freshman was out of position on a second-quarter touchdown pass to Ryan Broyles, then was beaten in coverage for another touchdown by tight end James Hanna. A key block took Smith out of a third-quarter play in which Broyles scored on a 64-yard catch-and-run.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They got some big plays and got us in a couple mismatches. Big plays. Our defense did a decent job holding them to a couple of field goals early on, then we got kind of gashed a little bit." -- Colorado coach Dan Hawkins.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Colorado defense remains a scrappy unit. Although the Buffaloes eventually permitted more than 600 yards against Oklahoma, the defense didn't break until the second quarter, on the Sooners' third possession. With six starters who have suffered injuries to keep them out of games, and some out the rest of the season, the thin Buffs deserve credit for showing some early fight on the road. The backbreaker was a 48-yard touchdown drive by Oklahoma in the final 61 seconds of the first half. The Sooners eventually shredded the secondary and in particular, freshman S Terrel Smith. The 488 yards passing were the second-most allowed in Colorado history.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Against explosive teams such as Oklahoma, the Buffs figure to simply be outmatched. While the Sooners were rolling to huge totals, largely because of the big plays provided by All-Big 12 receiver Ryan Broyles, the Buffs wilted. Colorado managed just 263 yards and 12 first downs and couldn't even play keep-away, holding the ball almost six fewer minutes than Oklahoma. Some of the struggles can be attributed to using a new quarterback. Cody Hawkins drew his first start in place of injured Tyler Hansen and completed just 17 of 44 attempts, though he did raise his string of passes without an interception to 102. The Buffs are better off when they can milk clock with RB Rodney Stewart in the run game and not have to play catch-up.