By Dakin Andone, for CNN • Updated 26th July 2015
Like the Iowa State Hawkeyes, the University of Colorado Buffaloes experienced a bit of an up-and-down season in 2015.
But while Iowa is gearing up for the College Football Playoff, CU is preparing for first year coach Mike MacIntyre.
The Buffaloes finished 8-5 this season after a wild comeback and missed out on bowl eligibility.
This was the Buffaloes second losing season in four years under coach Mike MacIntyre, who was hired in December 2014 to replace Mike MacIntyre.
The program was plagued by off-field issues, including the death of a football player from alcohol poisoning, an illegal handoff from a walk-on quarterback to a high school player, and an arrest of a former assistant coach for sex assault.
Check out a gallery of 12 Buffaloes football players who represent diversity.
But if there was ever a season that needed some stability, this was it.
Through it all, former coach Mike MacIntyre said his family’s connection to Colorado helped keep him positive, both on and off the field.
University of Colorado fans have also shown their love for the team since learning about Steve Broussard’s status with the school following an allegation of racial discrimination.
And it seems their loyalty has extended beyond football for the season opener.
Tailgating fanatics have lined up down U.S. 36 from Durango, just outside of Colorado Springs, many of them bleary-eyed, and chanting their support for the state’s biggest draw: The Buffaloes.
Once the game started, fans were more than happy to show their allegiance, as usual.
The Buffaloes led in the second quarter for the first time since the first game of the season.
And they appeared to put the game away with a quick touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter.
But then they let the Utes back in the game and pulled even again.
On a play in which CU wide receiver Travon McMillian fumbled, he was punched in the head by Utah safety Chase Hansen.
Fortunately for CU, no penalty was called.
McMillian was forced to sit out the rest of the game and you can guess who was cheering him on in the stands.
And don’t worry, McMillian wasn’t dragged out and beaten in the shower.
After the game, fans reminisced about one of CU’s most memorable moments of the season, and seemingly at least, the fourth quarter, at the Dome.
When a fumble in the end zone appeared to be ruled incomplete, the University of Colorado got excited.
The decision was reversed and Brian Jenkins was awarded the game-winning touchdown against USC in last year’s Independence Bowl after a game review showed Jenkins hadn’t lost the ball out of bounds.
Colorado Buffaloes will return for the 2016 season to prepare for conference play.