Boulder, Colo. - My first trip west of the Mississippi came when I was a teenager, to a place called Boulder. Bill McCartney was the coach of the Colorado football team, which was a few years off a national championship.
I returned to Boulder on Friday, this time for business, along with a lot of other Georgia residents. Not much around here seems to have changed: The people are still friendly, and the vista is still beautiful – and while McCartney has long since been retired as the Buffaloes coach, plenty of people here are clamoring for him to return.
More on that later, along with some local talk on the status of the coach at Georgia.
But first, those mountains. You forget that the Rockies aren’t just some mountain range off in the distance. When you’re in Boulder, they’re right there on top of you. They overlook the town. Overtake it, even.
Speaking of overtaking Boulder …
There were a ton of Georgia fans in the downtown area on Friday night. The red shirts and hats, and G logos, were hard to miss along Pearl Street, about a mile-long stretch of restaurants, bars and street performers. (Among the curiosities spotted: A man using cardboard boxes for art, and a man painting himself bronze and acting like a statue.)
But the amount of Georgia fans who have made the trip here is what stands out. I’m sure a lot of Boulder residents are saying, ‘These many people are traveling for a 1-3 team?’
Well, when you make non-refundable plane reservations back when you think the team will be 4-0, or at worse 3-1, you sort of have to be a loyal fan.
(And hey, given the current postseason prospects, this may have to be treated as the bowl trip.)
But you have to be impressed with the Georgia fan base, regardless of record. This is two time zones away, and not a cheap trip, and yet they have descended on Boulder in strong force. The Colorado fans are used to seeing this from some of their more rabid Big 12 fan bases – Texas, Oklahoma, etc. – but to see a team from the East Coast travel like this should remind them of how serious people in SEC territory take their football.
They like their football here in Colorado too – but mostly the pro kind. (Even the third-string quarterback for the Denver Broncos has his jersey sold in the airport! Some guy named Tebow. Not sure where he went to school.)
Still, the locals knew there was a college football game going on this weekend – as witnessed by the “Go Dawgs” greeting a few Bulldog fans were given at the car rental agency.
The game – and Mark Richt’s job status - was a topic on local sports talk radio on Friday night. The host weighed in by stating that while Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is also on the hot seat, that Richt's seat is “way hotter,” perhaps even “scalding.”
Well, that seemed a bit laughable. Hawkins might have been fired after last season if Colorado didn’t have money problems. (And believe it or not, some people want McCartney back. And he will be Saturday night, as part of festivities honoring the 1990 national title-winning team. I’m sure that’ll make Hawkins feel great.)
Luckily the host had the Colorado beat guy for the Boulder Daily Camera on a short time later, and the writer, Kyle Ringo, corrected him on just whose job is in more jeopardy.
The talk radio host when on to adjust his statement to mean that Richt’s seat was hot because of the fan base. The fact that a coach with 91 wins over 10 seasons, who has won two SEC titles, would be on the hot seat was a sign of what the host called “insanity” in the SEC fan base.
Ringo couldn’t disagree with that assessment. Nor could all the natives on Pearl Street, watching the see of red and black in their town. (Boulder is pictured below, if you can make it out, from a scenic outlook about five miles away.)
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Posted by Seth Emerson at 11:10 AM