Barnett: Buffs want to keep going


Tuesday, September 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



Colorado coach Gary Barnett can't get a break in his schedule, even with a week off.

After three heartbreaking losses, Barnett and the Buffaloes have to wait until the end of the month before they play again. And when they do, it's against No. 4 Kansas State.

``I'd just as soon keep going,'' Barnett said Monday. ``I don't like the bye weeks, whether you win or you lose. I want to keep that momentum going.''

The Buffaloes (0-3) have lost their first three games by a total of 10 points. The latest was on Saturday, when No. 9 Washington held off Colorado 17-14.

Colorado, which lost to No. 10 Southern California 17-14 two weeks ago, is off until Sept. 30, when the Wildcats (3-0) visit Boulder.

``It's not a lot of fun losing then sitting there for two weeks waiting to play again,'' Barnett said. ``The kids, even though we haven't won, feel good about their play and feel good about where we're going, but it's really frustrating.''

Kansas State has kind of the opposite non-conference schedule of Colorado. A 76-0 winner over Ball State on Saturday, the Wildcats are at home again this week against North Texas, which was shut out by UNLV 38-0.

Barnett's colleagues sympathize

``You have to look at the kind of schedule Colorado is playing. To play a USC, which is ranked, then Washington when it's ranked. Those scores easily could have gone the other way,'' Oklahoma State coach Bob Simmons said. ``You have to take a good look at those two opponents and give the Big 12 some credence.''

The Buffs are the only winless team in the Big 12, while six members are unbeaten, including Oklahoma State (2-0) and Iowa State (3-0).

The Cowboys will try to improve on the Big 12's 1-6 record against ranked teams _ No. 1 Nebraska's overtime win against then-No. 23 Notre Dame on Sept. 9 is the league's only victory _ on Saturday when No. 22 Southern Mississippi visits Stillwater.

``Southern Mississippi is probably one of the best teams that we will play this year,'' Simmons said.

The Cyclones, a 24-14 winner over Iowa on Saturday, won their first three games a year ago but finished 4-7.

``We sure didn't go on to have the kind of success we had hoped for in the Big 12 Conference,'' Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. ``I wanted to be 3-0. That part's great. But we've got all kinds of things to improve.''

The league's other unbeatens are Nebraska (2-0), home Saturday against Iowa; No. 17 Oklahoma (2-0), hosting Rice this week, and Texas Tech (4-0), which gets a week off after shutting out Louisiana-Lafayette last week.

``No matter where we end up there's more work to do. I always sort of view it like that,'' first year Tech coach Mike Leach said.

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Quote of the week: ``He's been a low-key, down-home kind of guy since the first day he got here. He has the kind of personality that if you don't like him, then you've got some problem,'' Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum on how well 25-year-old quarterback Mark Farris, who joined the Aggies last year after five seasons in minor-league baseball, is blending in with his much younger teammates.

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Extra points: Don't expect Baylor coach Kevin Steele to reveal much about his game plan for Saturday's game against South Florida. Steele, who has to find a starting quarterback to replace Greg Cicero, is closing practice this week to ward off any distractions. Mike Odum and Guy Tomcheck filled in during a 34-9 loss to Minnesota on Saturday when Cicero broke his collar bone, knocking him out for the season. ``We will name a starting quarterback when we play the first play,'' Steele said. ``I'm not trying to be cute or create a scene. I just want to protect these players.'' ... Missouri coach Larry Smith is not backing down from his decision to punt on fourth-and-2 from the Missouri 32 in the closing minutes of a 13-10 loss to No. 23 Michigan State on Saturday. The Tigers had two timeouts left and Smith felt the defense had a chance at getting the ball back to give the offense a chance to win it. That didn't happen, and the Tigers heard about it coming off their home field. ``I think that there was handful of people who elected to boo at the end of the game, which I think is wrong particularly when the team has played well,'' Smith said. ``If they want to boo me, they ought to do it on the side because our team construes that as them being booed.'' ... Kansas will be working on punts this week in preparation for Saturday's game against Southern Illinois, coach Terry Allen said. The Jayhawks botched a snap Saturday and Alabama-Birmingham returned it 42-yards for a touchdown in Kansas' 23-20 win. ``I haven't slept when I think about the punter,'' Allen said. ``We have to get a little more consistent with our snapper. Our punter, when he's gotten it off, he's done a pretty good job. He's just lacking a bit of confidence.''