A Bohn to pick | AspenTimes.com

A Bohn to pick

Nate Peterson

From: npeterson@aspentimes.comSubject: Barnett’s due To: mike.bohn@colorado.educc: hank.brown@colorado.eduMike:OK, OK, I know that a $678 bill for a chartered flight from Broomfield to Centennial looks pretty bad right now. That flight – which turned up in an 82-page state audit this week – saved your embattled football coach Gary Barnett a 34-mile drive. It didn’t save your university’s fundraising division any money at more than $19 a mile. Now that’s some expensive gas! Yes, I know that this audit has got everyone around the state shaking their head, yourself included.But I don’t think those are the numbers you should be focusing on right now – at least not when it comes to Barnett. The only numbers you should be thinking about are four and five. Four out of five, actually. That’s how many Big 12 North division titles Barnett will have won in the last five years if the Buffs win one of their next two games. Barnett’s team will most likely sew up the division crown today at Iowa State, which means they’ll head into Nebraska week without any diversions. And that means… well, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here, but people in Lincoln are already losing sleep thinking about this year’s annual rivalry game on the 25th. Some in Husker nation are thinking this year’s game could be as bad if not worse than the 62-36 butt whooping the Buffs dropped on their beloved Huskers in 2001.Speaking of 62 and 36, I’ve got some more numbers for you, Mike.Let’s start with two and three.That’s the national rankings of the only two teams that have beat the Buffs (7-2, 5-1) this season. Barring a huge upset in the Big 12 Championship game (to the Buffs, of course), Texas is most likely going to play for the national title against USC. And Miami jumped ahead of Alabama into third this week in the AP poll after a 27-7 dismantling of previously undefeated Virginia Tech. The Buffs were also previously undefeated when they played the No. 12 Hurricanes back on Sept. 24, but none of the poll voters around the country though much of their 23-3 loss.That CU lost by the same score as Virginia Tech – everybody’s favorite BCS buster before last week’s debacle – only proves that Barnett’s Buffs are a lot better than most people think.There’s also this: CU played at Miami in sweltering heat, while Virginia Tech got the Canes at home. The Buffs were also in the game – something Virginia Tech fans can’t say about their Hokies. CU was only down 16-3 heading in the fourth quarter. Before a late fourth-quarter touchdown, the Hokies were getting blanked, 27-0.I’m sure you know why I’m bringing all this up, Mike. See, you told me when we met in May, a month after you got hired as the athletic director at Colorado, that your department had more pressing issues to deal with at the time than working out a new contract extension with Barnett. I think you were spot-on right in your assessment. After a scandal which implicated Barnett’s program for using sex and alcohol to bait recruits, and a lack of department oversight by your predecessor, Dick Tharp, you promised to clean up CU’s tarnished image. I think you’ve done a great job. Season ticket sales have shot up. Incensed alumni have come back to the fold. Donations have steadily poured in. Your new slogan, CU Buffs: Your Team, has convinced a lot of people around the state that they should still root for their state’s flagship university.And, as evidenced by this fall, all the teams are pretty good ones to root for – not just the football team.The womens soccer team earned its third consecutive NCAA berth recently. The womens volleyball team has been on a tear, winning seven straight matches before a loss to No. 11 Texas on Wednesday. The cross country teams will again be in the hunt for a national title at the NCAA Championships.Your athletes are also getting it done in the classroom. At the end of October it was announced that every team in your department had met or surpassed NCAA standards for the Academic Progress Rate Report. Eight programs received a perfect score of 1,000.So, way to go Mike. Way to answer your school’s critics.Now it’s time to step up and do the one thing people are starting to hound you about: offering Barnett an extension.It should now be priority No. 1. Yes, he’s still got one more year remaining on his current deal which pays him $1.6 million each season, but that’s not enough. Barnett needs a bigger commitment from you and your university. He needs the job security so that he can continue to keep CU on top in the North. It’s impossible to make long-term promises to your players and recruits when your employer isn’t making promises to you.Yeah, yeah, I know Barnett has done some real bonehead things. I still wince at those comments made about former female kicker Katie Hnida. I also shake my head when I hear about things like the $678 chartered flight – a move that shows a lack of intelligent decision making.I’m not saying the guy is Joe Paterno. I’m just saying Barnett has proved to CU fans that he deserves a new extension – especially after all the adversity he has endured. Heck, Notre Dame just gave Charlie Weis 10 years for between $30 and $40 million – and that was after just five wins.Since 2001, Barnett has had only one losing season and one Big 12 Championship. You also have to consider that while the Buffs have stayed at the top of the North, the division’s other perennial powerhouses have fallen on hard times. Nebraska -NEBRASKA! – is on the verge of missing a bowl game for the second straight season. So is Kansas State.Barnett isn’t Bob Stoops – hands-down the class of the Big 12. But then again, he’s a lot better than Nebraska’s Bill Callahan or K-State’s Bill Snyder.That’s why you should do the right thing and show him the money. Otherwise, if Barnett keeps winning the way he has, someone else will.Nate Peterson grew up in Boulder and has delusions of the Buffs beating Texas in the Big 12 Championship game to stampede the BCS. He can be reached for comment at npeterson@aspentimes.com

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