Colorado deja vu: No. 1, waiting for Notre Dame

November 20, 1990|By Craig Harper | Craig Harper,Knight-Ridder

BOULDER, Colo. -- For two years running, the University of Colorado's football team will finish the regular season as the nation's No. 1 team.

The Associated Press poll made it official yesterday by moving the Buffaloes up from second to first in the wake of previously No. 1 Notre Dame's loss to Penn State. Colorado, which ended its regular season with a 10-1-1 record, was voted No. 1 in the United Press International poll on Sunday.

"It's the second year in a row we've enjoyed the luxury and privilege of being voted the No. 1 team at the end of the regular season," Colorado coach Bill McCartney said yesterday. "I can't think of any honor that would be greater, other than to go on and finish it in a bowl game."

Colorado wasn't able to accomplish that in 1989. The Buffaloes moved from No. 2 to No. 1 last year on Nov. 27 after top-ranked Notre Dame lost to Miami. The Irish then beat Colorado 21-6 in the Orange Bowl, dropping Colorado to fourth in the final polls. The two teams will meet in a Jan. 1 rematch in Miami.

Although Colorado was a clear No. 1 in both the AP and UPI polls, its elevation wasn't nearly as unanimous as it was last year. Colorado received 45 of the 60 first-place votes in this week's AP poll, compared with 53 of the 56 a year ago.

"That's because we were the only undefeated, untied team," McCartney said of his 1989 club. "This year, we're solid. To me, [the first-place vote totals] is evidence of how the overwhelming majority feels."

There is still some anti-Colorado sentiment among voters for the fifth-down controversy in Colorado's win over Missouri on Oct. 6. But most of them seem to be taking a what-have-you-done-lately approach. Colorado has won six straight since the Missouri game and nine in a row overall in climbing from as low as No. 20 after its Sept. 15 loss to Illinois for a 1-1-1 record.

Meanwhile, numerous other teams at No. 1 or threatening to be No. 1 lost, proving that it's not so much that you lose but when you lose.

"We are [an example of that theory] because of all of the things that have happened to other teams," McCartney said. "We've won nine games in a row. Has anyone else won nine in a row? I don't think so. So, it's not just been November [four wins, including Oklahoma and Nebraska], it's nine in a row."

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