A Deeper Look: University of Northern Colorado

In what will hopefully become a weekly feature, A Deeper Look will focus on some non-football aspects of each university Kansas takes on. It's kind of a copy of ghtd36's series he did over at Rock M Nation for most of their opponents, but not really. Basically, the goal is to make you learn at least something about the university and football program, not team, that you didn't know before. I tried my hardest to make it funny, but I'm not really a comedy writer. So, there's a decent chance it is stupid. Apologies in advance.

OK, before Kansas scheduled them, raise your hand if you had ever heard of the University of Northern Colorado before? Labba, put your hand down, relatives don't count. Yeah, that's what I thought. Zero. It's basically an unknown institution of higher learning, because it is noteworthy at absolutely nothing. They were really good at football at a D-II level, winning back-to-back National Championships in 1996 and 97 (Labba, I know, we all know), thus the move to D-1. However, their rugby team takes up all of the good athletes, so it really isn't fair anyways*.

EDIT: I forgot to add in this little Pozterisk related to the rugby team, which was supposed to be another point of humor. So, I'll add it in now. On UNoCo's wiki page, there is like a paragraph devoted to all athletics. Seriously. Look at it. But the rugby team, and just the rugby team alone, has an entire Wikipedia article devoted to it. It's like ten times bigger than what is devoted to ALL OTHER ATHLETICS. So, at least in Wikipedia world, rugby reigns supreme in Greeley. By, like, ten times. And it is just a club team -- not even officially a university sport. I'm speechless.

With all of that said, here are the things you need to takeaway from this to make yourself a more knowledgeable human being, especially on all things Northern Colorado.

1) It was just recently granted the distinction of being able to call itself UNC. You see, when it was first created, it was so awesomely titled the Colorado State Normal School. Every parent's dream, right? Once it decided it would become an education-centered facility, it was renamed Colorado State Teacher's College. It does make sense, though, that teachers would want to go there. Those who can't do, teach, right, and if you can't do, then the state's "Normal School" would seem like a mighty fine place for you to land. And hey, it isn't like these folks are going to teach America's youth, is it? For vanity reasons, or something like that, they switched names yet again, in 1935, to the Colorado State College of Education. Hey, they were making progress. They were a college "of" something, now, as opposed to just being a college for teachers. And finally, they made the leap to be a University a join the rest of civilization.

Go University of Northern Colorado! It's a University now!

2) The school's mascot is a Bear. This is entirely unoriginal, unrelated to their region of the world, and just as a whole unnecessary. However, that isn't the half of it. As most schools do, they have an actual mascot at their games -- his name is Klawz. Yes. Klawz. Like, the word "claws", just how a 4-year old would spell it. Or, a 64-year old trying to act young and hip. Either-or.

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"Rawr!" via www.uncbears.com

 

Appropriately, the actual mascot possesses absolutely nothing resembling "claws". So, hey, at least the hideously misspelled word relates to the actual mascot. And #65? What the hell? Did you just pick a random number out of a hat and throw it on your mascot? Is the mascot actually on the team; is this the man behind the clawless mascot? I mean, hey, the dude even looks like a bear -- I'm buying that explanation. Good allocation of resources, non-Teachers' College. Way to think outside the box in these tough times.

3) Obviously unhappy with the national DISRESPECT they've been getting, a UNoCo (it's actually starting to grow on me) professor has developed his own set of rankings. There is no archive, so it's impossible to tell whether these rankings tell you anything or not, but let's assume the best. And of course, they do have this sweet .gif playing (constantly) on the page, so you know it's legit.

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Sagarin has one of these things, right?

Also worth noting is that the professor that came up with this rankings system is named Robert Heiny. Heh. Heiny. Yes, I'm that immature.

4) It actually has quite a few famous alums in the world of football -- from punter Dirk Johnson to Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith to San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson, there are a host of ex-Bears in the NFL. That isn't all, though.

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Ed Werder, ESPN NFL reporter and Jerry Jones' personal stalker is an ex-Bear. So, that's nice, I guess.

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Old Chiefs quarterback, Bill Kenney, graduated from UNoCo. He transferred from Saddleback College, which is like 10 minutes from my house in Orange County, all the way to Greeley. Who the hell knows why. He was Mr. Irrelevant in the 1978 NFL Draft, was the Chiefs' starter for the majority of the 80's, and then moved to Lee's Summit where he established a residential neighborhood of sorts, called Monarch View. For a dastardly year when I was forced to live in Missouri, I called Monarch View home, and I met Bill Kenney and saw him around quite frequently. His hands were approximately the size of my chest, and his fingers were basically super-human. He doesn't have that godawful beard anymore, though, in case any of you were nervous about that. And, that's my life story of the week.

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Islam extremist and writer, Sayyid Qutb, is also an alum of the University of Northern Colorado. Not really sure how to go about this, so I'll just leave it alone. Let's just say that if a person visits your city, graduates from your college, returns to his homeland then wants to destroy the country of said city, it probably means he wasn't a fan of the city. Sorry, Greels. I'm just trying to be honest, here.

5) So, on the official football page of the Bears, then went through all of the position coaches and interviewed them. The best one is easily the interview with the wide receivers coach, Jordan Fenner, who looks like he's 18. Here are some of the interactions:

Q: As a group, what is the biggest strength of the wide receivers?

JF:  Our greatest strength is anytime we can put a good practice together, work hard on the field and get ready for game day. It's a continual effort to prepare themselves for games so it's a continual effort.

Uh, what? First off, let's just start simply -- she didn't ask you your greatest strength, she asked you your biggest strength. More complexly, how the hell is "putting a good practice together" a strength. It isn't like you're complimenting their work ethic, or anything like that -- you are saying that it is a strength when, but only when, they practice well. So your strength is a rare thing. Sweet. Real studs, right there. Wideouts are obviously a weakness. Also, I'm unsure about one thing -- is it a continual effort? I didn't know it was possible to say "continual effort" twice in a sentence that only contains 14 words, but hey, you learn something new everyday. Thank you, Jordan.

Q: What is your favorite memory of camp to date?

JF: My favorite memory is getting interviewed by Heather Kennedy.

Oh, so now you think you're sassy? You are so clever, Jordan. You like deserve a gold star, or something like that. Yeah, this interview turned out so well, I'm glad it was your favorite memory. Of course, when the wide receivers' biggest (or is it greatest? I'm getting confused) strength is when you have a good practice together, I guess you have to appreciate the lighter side of training camp.

Before you leave with that sly grin on your face, though, Jordan, I'd watch your back. The RBs coach, Keith Grable, has a favorite part of camp that is actually a part of camp. You'll never guess what it is:

Q: What is your favorite memory of this camp to date?

KG: My favorite part so far is probably with a different group, with the wide receivers. Those young guys we've got, they're really stepping up and making plays. I kind of gave them the nickname of Playmakers ‘R Us. After every practice we tell them we reload the shelves with plays.

Let me get this straight. The WRs coach is so down on his receivers, he thinks their greatest (biggest?) strength is when they have a good practice together. But the RBs coach thinks they are all studs, Vincent Jackson clones or something, and even gave them a nickname. How terrible the nickname doesn't mean anything, at this point -- I think Grable likes the wideouts more than the wideout coach.

And then, DBs coach Kendrick Shaver got a turn with Fenner's favorite, Heather Kennedy. And what did Shaver have to say about those WRs?

Q: What is the best thing you've overheard one of your players say during camp?

KS: Probably that they were complimenting the receivers. We've got one of the most talented receivers corp I've seen since I've been here and I've heard some guys really complimenting those guys. They're pushing us and making us better.

Wow. I've got nothing. I mean, maybe Fenner was just being hard on his guys, I don't know. But, come on. Say something besides "when we have a good practice together". That isn't even a freaking strength. It'd be a strength, in a hokey coach type of way, if they consistently had good practices. I can see that. But when?

6) And, finally, I saved the best for last. I'm sure everyone remembers when the backup punter at Northern Colorado stabbed UNoCo's starter, leaving the Bears with their third-string punter for awhile. Anyways, the story is ridiculous. You see, Mitch Cozad wanted to be the starter, but he wasn't good enough, so instead of doing it the old American way and transferring to a lesser school, he took matters into his own hands and stabbed the starter, Rafael Mendoza. Hey, if you love Greeley (and who wouldn't?), I guess you don't wanna leave. And no, I am not making any "shank" jokes. I may be immature, but I'm not lame. The best part of the story, though, is Cozad's car had personalized plates. So, like, it was a lot easier to remember if you just saw it driving away. Normal School education paying off, right there!

Cozad was sentenced to 7 years in the slammer for the stabbing incident, meaning he'll never punt again. Obviously.

That's all for this edition. I'm not really sure how it turned out, it's tough to tell what will hit and what will miss, really. I'm guessing the majority misses, but if you just kinda-chuckle once or twice, I've done my duty. Obviously, it won't be a quarter as good as ghtd36's over at Rock M Nation, but that's just because I can't use PhotoShop or MS Paint. At least, that's what I like to tell myself. It has nothing to do with my inability to be humorous.

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