Earlier, I posted a breakdown of the Colorado Buffaloes. Here are three games from their schedule I am ready to see today.
Part of me picks this because it was a close loss last year. The Buffaloes came up just four points short. Part of me picks this because it might be one of Colorado's only chances at a conference win. Then again, with Mike Leach taking over, I don’t really know what to expect from Washington State.
Changing conferences didn’t really help Colorado any at this point. If anything, they went back a little. They were 5-7 in their final year of the Big 12 and only went 3-10 last year. Then again, they not only changed conferences but also had a new head coach.
This year, they are probably more comfortable being in the conference, and their coach is past his rookie season. Washington State, on the other hand, will have a new head man that isn’t exactly a stranger to the Colorado program.
Mike Leach, formerly of Texas Tech, is an old Big 12 foe. They were in opposite divisions though, so Texas Tech and Colorado only met up four times in his years there. Unfortunately for Leach, he only went 1-3 in those games.
Most people pick these teams in the bottom of their divisions. I think Washington State will surprise people and escape the bottom, but I don’t have as much hope for Colorado. Still, I think these two could match up fairly well and have another close one in the end.
Colorado only had two conference wins last season, and this was one of them. Sorry, that’s a bit of an understatement. Colorado took Arizona to the woodshed. The two teams actually had the same conference record, and the win is what gave Colorado the tie break to not be the very bottom team.
Colorado has a good record in Arizona, having never lost in Tucson. However they haven’t played here since 1985.
Like Washington State, Arizona is also breaking in a new coach, Rich Rodriguez. Out of all the new coaches in the conference, I think Rodriguez is set up to have the most success right away. He is no rookie coach, and his past experience and success could have Arizona as a strong turnaround team.
Arizona should be able to escape last year's basement finish. The question is, will they do it at the expense of Colorado or will the Buffaloes have a turnaround season of their own?
The Rumble in the Rockies. This rivalry still feels a bit forced to me. They were the two new teams to the conference, and they are somewhat close together and everyone else already has their rivalry games, so it seemed natural to put them together.
The history is actually there, but that’s pretty much what it is, history. Until last year, the two teams had not played each other since 1962. Colorado leads the series 31-24-3. The seven game difference actually makes it the closest margin out of the major rivalries in the Pac-12.
Because it had been so long since they last played some people wondered if the rivalry would really take off. That is until the end of last years game. Colorado upset Utah and, therefore, killed any hope Utah had of representing the South division for the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. Going into the 2012, I don’t think Utah will have forgotten that when it comes time to play.
Utah looks like they should contend for the South division again. More likely for the second place spot, but if favorite USC slips up, then Utah could slide in and take the division. There could be a lot riding on this game at the end of the season if that were the case. Spoiling your rival's season like that is what helps make a college football rivalry.
While I stand by my statement that right now it feels like a forced rivalry, I think it could shape into a real one down the line.