COLORADO (1-11, 1-8)
MVP: As voted by the Colorado players and coaches, defensive end Will Pericak quietly put together a very consistent season and ended his career having started all 49 games. He set the school record for most career starts despite being a Type I diabetic. He posted 62 tackles, eight stops on third down with a pair of sacks, and four tackles for a loss. He was also tied for second in the conference with four forced fumbles.
What went right: Colorado's three-touchdown outburst and come-from-behind win at Washington State back in September was certainly a bright spot in a season lacking them. There was no lack of effort, and that kept them from an 'F.' Nick Kasa emerged as one of the more steady tight ends in the conference, and running backs Christian Powell and Donta Abron combined for 947 rushing yards and nine touchdowns -- giving the Buffs a good-looking, young tandem to keep an eye on as the team transitions into the pistol. It's worth noting, too, that they cut the total number of penalties from 103 to 73 -- which was fifth in the league. And as far as we know, Ralphie didn't break a leg or sprain a hoof.
What went wrong: Besides the 11 losses? It started early when they couldn't hold double-digit leads against Colorado State and FCS Sacramento State, and it snowballed. If you want, you could really go back even earlier with the loss of wide receiver Paul Richardson in the preseason with a knee injury. Colorado ranked 100th or lower in 19 major statistical NCAA categories. The Buffaloes turned the ball over 34 times, which teams turned into 22 touchdowns and 160 total points. There was inconsistency at quarterback, which led to the worst third-down percentage in the league (29.9 percent). There's no need to pile on all of the things that went wrong statistically for the Buffs (which led to the firing of Jon Embree). It was a bad season. Plain and simple.
Outlook for 2013: With a new head coach comes the promise of optimism. And Mike MacIntyre certainly has the resume needed for rebuilding a program. He turned San Jose State into a 10-win program. In 2012, Colorado's true freshmen combined to start more games than any other team in the nation (57). No one has transferred or left the program (except David Bakhtiari, who declared early for the NFL draft) so there is continuity across the board, and some youth that gained a lot of experience -- albeit the hard way. The bulk of Colorado's new staff has worked together for three seasons, so there is continuity and familiarity there as well. Don't expect six wins and a bowl game in 2013, but hoping for three or four wins shouldn't be too much to ask for.