The CU Buffs are bad, but it’s stunning how historically bad they are

Sep 17, 2022, 5:50 PM | Updated: 5:59 pm
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)...
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The last time CU started a football season this poorly, the Wright Brothers were still 13 years away from taking off.

The forward pass was nearly 16 years away from becoming legal.

The nation had 42 states.

Grover Cleveland was in between his two non-consecutive terms as President.

And CU’s sports teams weren’t the Buffaloes. That nickname was still 44 years away.

Yes, you have to go all the way back to 1890 for the last time a University of Colorado football team began a season 0-3 and with a point differential worse than the minus-98 anvil they lug into PAC-12 play after their latest debacle, a 49-7 shellacking by Minnesota that arguably wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

That 1890 campaign was the first season in CU football history.

Yes, the Buffs have been 0-3 every now and again since that inaugural season. This is the school’s 14th 0-3 start all-time and its fourth such start in the last 23 seasons.

The Buffs’ most recent 0-3 opening was in 2012, the final season of Jon Embree’s ill-fated tenure. Their third loss a decade ago was a 69-14 thrashing at the paws of Fresno State. But their other losses were more modest — by a combined seven points to Colorado State and Sacramento State. And CU did win its fourth 2012 game, defeating Washington State 35-34. (Of course, eight more losses followed.)

Until now, every 0-3 CU start since 1890 saw a point differential between minus-10 (2000) and minus-90 (1891).

And as for 1890, the school opened its football history with a 20-0 loss to the Denver Athletic Club. Seven days later, the Colorado School of Mines rang up a 103-0 whitewashing of CU. A 44-0 loss to Colorado Springs A.A. followed, putting the team 167 points in arrears before a season-ending rematch with Mines. CU lost, but put up the first points in the school’s gridiron history in a 50-4 defeat.

A gilded age, it was not.

Eventually, it got better for those 19th-century lads. Two years later, the school had its first winning season. Such a modest accomplishment seems far over the horizon for the hapless Buffs of today.



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The CU Buffs are bad, but it’s stunning how historically bad they are