Colorado football - An in depth look at games one through six

Stuart WhitehairAnalyst IJuly 29, 2008


Fall camp is almost here.  Below is a look at the Buffs’ first six opponents in 2008:  What is there for Buff fans to get excited about; what there is for Buff fans to lose sleep over - and what the Buffs' record will be at the season's midway point.

v. Colorado State - August 31st - (Denver)

Fast facts- The Rams are coming off a 3-9 season, although they are also riding a two game winning streak after defeating Georgia Southern and Wyoming to close out the 2007 campaign. Gone is 15-year head coach Sonny Lubick, replaced by former offensive coordinator and CSU alumnus Steve Fairchild. Fairchild’s most recent employment was with the Buffalo Bills, where he was offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007. Fairchild had a successful run as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at CSU from 1997-2000, a period during which the Rams went 37-12 and set a school record for points in a season.

Why Buff fans should look forward to this game with optimism:

1) The Rams were 3-9 last season, and, at times, were not particularly competitive. Colorado State lost 45-21 to Air Force, 27-3 to Utah, and 35-16 to BYU.

2) There is a new coaching staff, and, while it is true that Steve Fairchild is familiar with Ft. Collins and what it takes to win there, few are expecting an immediate turnaround.

3) Matchups. Matchups. Matchups. What is the worst aspect of the CU defense? The passing game. What does CSU lack? A passing game. There will be a new quarterback under center at Mile High for the Rams. Senior Billy Farris is the most likely successor to Caleb Hanie, but Farris’ statistics for all of 2007 read as follows: 9-20, 91 yards in mop-up duty during the two blowout losses to Air Force and Utah. Look for stories about a quarterback battle coming out of Ft. Collins during fall practice. On the other side of the ball, Colorado is looking to be more productive on offense, and Colorado State is looking to replace both of their cornerbacks as well three defensive line starters. A good start for the Buffs’ offense seems likely against a defense looking for a new identity and fielding a squad a few quality players short of a MWC contender.

Why there is reason to lose sleep the night before the game:

1) It’s CSU. It’s a rivalry game at a neutral site (though there should be significantly more Buff fans there than Ram fans at Mile High this year). The Rams have always been a tough out for the Buffs. Dan Hawkins is 1-1 v. CSU - a loss in 2006 and an overtime win in 2007. Not bad? Consider that Kevin Eberhart had to connect on a field goal to send the 2007 game into overtime - after the Buffs trailed through much of the contest. This against a CSU team was in the middle of a 13-game losing streak, and which did, from the middle of the 2006 season to the middle of the 2007 season, put together a stretch of games where they went 1-16. And the Buffs almost lost to this team! That’s what a rivalries are all about - records mean nothing come kickoff.

2) The unknown. Teams with new coaches are unknowns. Teams with new coaches who have never been head coaches before are complete unknowns. For better or worse, Steve Fairchild has never been a head coach at any level. The Buffs need to steel themselves for new formations and trick plays. The Rams will have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by throwing the kitchen sink at the Buffs.

3) Kory Sperry. Sperry had eight catches and three touchdowns against the Buffs in 2007. Sperry was a senior, so we should have been done with him. Sperry, though, tore his ACL in the second game of last season, and was granted a medical redshirt. Think Sperry is looking forward to playing the Buffs again?

4) It’s the season opener. Which CU team will show up? The one which laid an egg in the second half against Iowa State, blowing a 21-0 lead, the one which also fell behind Nebraska and fell waaay behind Alabama? Or will it be the team which dominated the first half against Iowa State, and which dominated the second half of play against both Nebraska and Alabama? If 2008 is truly to be the Buffs’ season to break through, the season opener will speak volumes about what we can expect.

CSU games before the CU/CSU game to keep an eye on:

Okay, so there will be no games which CSU will play before playing the Buffs. So we will have to be attentive to the news coming out of Ft. Collins during fall practice, trying to get past the coach-speak and the fluff stories. Who is winning the quarterback battle? Are there any injuries? Any dissension in the ranks seeping through with the new staff?

My thoughts: As brutal as the Buffs’ schedule is in 2008, there is little room for hedging: this is a must win.

v. Eastern Washington - September 6th

Fast Facts - The Eagles, like the Rams, are starting with a new coaching staff. Former EWU head coach Paul Wulff parlayed his success in Cheney, Washington, into a head coaching job just down the highway at Pullman, where he takes on the rebuilding job at Washington State. Replacing Wulff is Beau Baldwin, who coached one season as head coach at Central Washington (going 10-3). Like Fairchild at CSU, Baldwin is returning to the school where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, serving in that post from 2003-2006. The Eagles went 9-3 in 2007, reaching the quarterfinals of the 1-AA playoffs. Eastern Washington mauled undefeated and #2 seed McNeese State, 44-15, in the first round before falling on the road to eventual national champion Appalachian State, 38-35. The Eagles are a consensus top ten pick in all of the FCS preseason polls, and are picked to finish either first or second in the Big Sky Conference this fall.

Why Buff fans should look forward to this game with optimism:

1) Eastern Washington is a Division 1-AA/FCS team. Granted, they are a very good Division 1-AA team, but 1-AA nonetheless. There will be a very clear discrepancy in overall speed, experience, and talent at Folsom Field September 6th.

2) The Eagles will have already played a game. Eastern Washington opens at Texas Tech. The Eagles have a new head coach, but one who is familiar with the players and the system, so there should not be a dramatic shift in EWU’s style of play. By the time Eastern Washington takes the field against Colorado, there will also be game film for the Buffs’ coaches and players to watch. There should not be anything new from the Eagles’ playbook used against Colorado.

3) There is noooo way the Buffs are going to lose to another Big Sky Conference team. The 2006 game against Montana State was the first game ever for the Colorado program against a 1-AA team, and the Buffs lost, 19-10 in Dan Hawkins’ first game as head coach at Colorado. Do not think for a moment that the coaches will not spend every minute that week reminding the players not to take the Eagles for granted.

Why there is reason to lose sleep before the game:

1) The Eagles are a good team. They knocked off the #2 ranked 1-AA team in the playoffs in 2007, and almost upset #1 Appalachian State on the Mountaineers’ home field. Their quarterback, Matt Nichols, has 23 career starts, and was the Big Sky Conference Offensive player of the Year in 2007, throwing a school record 34 touchdowns.

2) The Eagles will not be intimidated. Eastern Washington opens with Texas Tech, which figures to be ranked in the top fifteen teams in the nation. After playing the Buffs, the Eagles open at home against Western Washington, a Division II school, after a bye week. They will have nothing to lose coming to Boulder, and probably look at Folsom Field as their best bet to pull an early season upset.

3) Montana State. Montana State. Montana State. The specter of the Bobcats looms over Dan Hawkins and the Buffs. Until CU produces a winning season and rejoins the elite of the college football world, the stench of that 19-10 loss will hang over the program. Just as removing Gary Barnett finally allowed the program to move past the sex party scandals, so too must there be a decisive win over the Eagles to remove the hex placed upon Folsom by the Bobcats.

Eastern Washington games to keep an eye on before the CU/EWU game:

Obviously, it is the Texas Tech game, the only other game for the Eagles before they travel to Boulder. The game will be on Saturday night, August 30th, so the Buffs and their fans will know before ever taking the field against the CSU Rams how that game played out. Will Eastern Washington be able to stay with Texas Tech? Will the Eagles come out against Colorado defeated and depleted, or encouraged and energized?

My thoughts: This needs to be a 42-0 game like Miami (Ohio) last season. An early deficit could prove fatal to the Buffs’ collective psyche, but I don’t see that happening. If there is one game to pencil in as a win in 2008, this is the one. The Buffs score early and often, and set the stage for their game against highly ranked West Virginia.

v. West Virginia - September 18th

Fast Facts - The West Virginia game will represent the third straight game the Buffs will face a team with a new head coach. Just think - if you were offered odds a year ago on the chances that the Buffs would face three new head coaches in their 2008 non-conference games, you would have taken the bet. If you were told that this was a guarantee, and you had to pick which coach would still be on the sidelines between Sonny Lubick of CSU, Paul Wulff of Eastern Washington, Paul Rodriguez of West Virginia, and Bobby Bowden of Florida State, would you have chosen Bobby Bowden? How many of you - besides me - would have chosen Bobby Bowden as being the least likely of the four to be back with the same team in 2008? Such is the crazy world of college football.

Bill Stewart, fresh off of his big win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, is the new head coach. While there are many who question the long term effects of this hire, the cupboard is far from bare. Heisman trophy candidate Patrick White is the catalyst for an offense. While White’s rushing makes the highlights, he is also an accomplished passer, finishing 29thin the nation in pass efficiency in 2007. The running game will be without Steve Slaton, who opted for the NFL, but will be ably manned by sophomore Noel Devine and an offensive line which is rated by almost everyone (The Sporting News has them ranked #1) as one of the best in the nation. All Devine did last season was rush for 627 yards and six touchdowns - on 73 carries (I’ll let you do the math).

The Mountaineer defense in 2007 allowed only 18 points and 300 yards per game. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was retained, which is a plus, but Casteel must replace some good players on the defensive line, and secondary depth is an issue.

Why Buff fans should look forward to this game with optimism:

1) Atmosphere. The game will be played on a Thursday night, before a national television audience. While Folsom Field does not have the capacity or the reputation of many other stadia in the country, when the time is right and the fans are energized, the Buffs can be tough. Plus, it will be a first-ever trip for West Virginia to Mile High country, so if Colorado can hang in early against the Mountaineers, who knows?

2) Preparation. If the Buffs can get past Colorado State in the opener, and not take Eastern Washington too lightly, there should be plenty of preparation time for West Virginia. Assuming that the Buffs can keep things fairly vanilla against the EWU Eagles, there will be almost three weeks (counting the bye week) for CU and its coaching staff to try and figure out how to handle Patrick White and his cohorts, and to put in some new wrinkles the Mountaineers have yet to see.

3) Oklahoma. The Sooners were #3 in the nation coming into Folsom Field last season, averaging over 60 points a game. They left with 24 points and a loss. The 2008 Buffs are better than the 2007 Buffs - at least on paper. So anything can happen ....

Why there is reason to lose sleep before the game:

1) Are you kidding me? Pick a statistic, and then take an aspirin and go lay down. Patrick White averaged almost seven yards per carry last season, and needs only 724 yards rushing this season to become the top rushing quarterback in NCAA history. The Mountaineers were #3 in the nation in rushing last season and #9 in scoring, and all of the top linemen return. I could go on, but this is supposed to be a CU website.

2) Not yet ready for prime time. CU has come agonizingly close to being a good team. The upsets of Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the dominating second half against Nebraska and the rally against Alabama - all speak to the potential of this team. And yet, the Buffs are not there yet. When given the chance to take a step up in quality of play - think Missouri, Kansas, Arizona State and Florida State in 2007 - the Buffs fell flat. West Virginia is too good for the Buffs to play only one half of good football.

3) 33-5. West Virginia’s record over the past three seasons. Only USC, at 34-5, has a better record during that span. That mark will likely be 35-5 when the Mountaineers take the field against Colorado on September 18th. This team knows what it takes to win.

West Virginia game to keep an eye on before the CU/WVU game:

West Virginia at East Carolina (September 6th). After a warmup game against Villanova, the Mountaineers go on the road to face the East Carolina. The Pirates are a good team, but not great team. East Carolina finished 2007 with an 8-5 record, including a 41-38 Hawaii Bowl win over Boise State. An upset? No - West Virginia humbled East Carolina in Morgantown last season, 48-7. But the competitiveness of that game could go a long way in demonstrating how well West Virginia is making the transition into the Bill Stewart era.

My thoughts: I was glad when they moved this game to a nationally televised Thursday night game. With the bye week to prepare, and a loud home crowd in attendance, I certainly give Colorado a puncher’s chance at winning this game. As with Oklahoma in 2007, though, everything will have to fall the Buffs way for there to be an upset.

v. Florida State - September 27th (Jacksonville)

Fast facts - The Buffs will not face a new head coach for the first time in 2008. In fact, they will face one of the oldest. Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden will be patrolling the sidelines for Florida State for his 33rdyear (of course you already knew he came to Tallahassee from Morgantown). Still, despite Bowden’s 373 career wins (Joe Paterno has 372 career wins heading into the 2008 season), the bloom is definitely off of the rose in Tallahassee, with the Seminoles registering records of 8-5, 7-6, and 7-6 the past three seasons. There are lingering effects from academic suspensions handed out at the end of last season, but most will be mitigated as Florida State has "revised" its 2008 schedule so that the Seminoles will open with Western Carolina and Chattanooga. FSU will play Wake Forest the week before facing the Buffs, but by the time Colorado lands in Jacksonville for the "neutral site" game, all of the suspensions for the Seminoles’ players will have been served.

There will be plenty of talent on the field for Florida State on September 27th. Senior quarterback Drew Weatherford sat out spring practice with an injury, but is expected to start this fall. Preston Parker is the Seminoles’ premier receiver. He will serve a two game suspension (big surprise) for a multitude of indiscretions and criminal charges (charges which would have brought about a season long suspension in Boulder). If Parker isn’t up to speed by the Buffs’ game, newcomer Corey Surrency (from El Camino junior college - for Buff recruit afficionados, you will remember that Surrency was heavily recruited by the Buffs) is expected to have an immediate impact. While not as dominant a force as it was in the 1990's, the Florida State defense is strong and deep, especially in the secondary.

Why Buff fans should look forward to this game with optimism:

1) Florida State is not Florida State. Yes, the talent is there, as Bobby Bowden remains one of the premier recruiters in the nation. However, the aura for the Seminoles is gone. Florida State is a good team, but not one without its weaknesses.

2) Extra prep time. After the Buffs play West Virginia on Thursday the 18th, they can sit back and watch Florida State play its first real game of 2008. On September 20th, the Seminoles square off against Wake Forest, a team which has beaten Florida State the past two seasons. No looking ahead for the Seminoles.

3) A low scoring game likely. The 16-6 score of last year’s Florida State/Colorado game was not a fluke. The Seminoles scored more than 30 points only once last season (and that was against UAB). If the Buffs can hang in there for two or three quarters, and not be shell shocked by the uniforms or the stadium, there is a good chance to pull out a win.

Why there is reason to lose sleep the night before the game:

1) CU doesn’t do the state of Florida. The Buffs are 4-8 all-time in games played in the state of Florida, with the last win coming at the 1991 Orange Bowl. Included in those losses were lopsided defeats at the hands of Florida State (47-7 in 2003) and Miami (23-3 in 2005). Yuck.

2) Staying with the receivers. Florida State does have talent and speed at the wideout position. Assuming Preston Parker can stay out of trouble, he will be looking for the CU game to be his breakout game of 2008. The Buffs’ shaky secondary will need to be ready.

3) Sandwich game. The Buffs will be coming off of an emotional home game against West Virginia, and looking forward to an emotional home conference opener the following week against Texas. While this game will have just as much of an impact on Colorado’s bowl chances as any other, it does not, at least as we look at it in August, the panache of the other two games.

Florida State game to keep an eye on before the CU/FSU game:

Florida State v. Wake Forest, September 20th. This game is the pick not just because the first two games on the Seminole calendar, Western Carolina and Chattanooga, are criminally easy. [The message the FSU administration is sending to its athletes in this instance is: "It’s okay that you cheated. We’ve got your backs. We’ll change the schedule so that you won’t miss any games of significance."] The Wake Forest game, though, is for real. The Demon Deacons have defeated the Seminoles the last two seasons, including a 30-0 whitewash two years ago - in Tallahassee. If Florida State is planning to re-emerge as a power in the ACC in 2008, it starts for the Seminoles in game three. A loss to Wake Forest may result in a dispirited squad taking the field in Jacksonville.

My thoughts: I spent much of the 2007-08 off-season wondering what sort of Florida State team Colorado would be playing this fall. The game was originally slated to be contested on September 13th, which would have meant some of the multitude of suspensions Florida State players are facing would still be in play. Then Preston Parker got arrested (again), and it looked like the Seminoles’ star receiver would not be on the field against the Buffs. Then starting offensive tackle Daron Rose, the only upperclassman starter on the FSU offensive line, was declared academically ineligible for the season. Now it appears as if, out of all of the above, only Rose will not be in uniform against the Buffs. There are too many intangibles in this game. Until after Colorado plays West Virginia, and until after Florida State squares off against Wake Forest, it is too early to tell how our game will play out.

v. Texas - October 4th

Fast facts - Texas went 10-3 in 2007. A ten win season is nothing new to Longhorn fans. In his ten seasons in Austin, Mack Brown has won 103 games, or just over ten wins a season on average. So why is there discontent in Longhorn land? Two letters: O and U. Texas has defeated Oklahoma in two of the last three "Red River Shootouts" in Dallas, yet the perception is that the Sooners and Bob Stoops are getting the better of their counterparts to the South. Oklahoma has won six Big 12 South titles (including the last two); Texas has won four. The Sooners have won five Big 12 Championships (including the last two); Texas has won two. So, even though Texas won ten games in 2007 and ten games in 2006 after winning the national championship in 2005 -folks in Austin are still not happy.


Fact is, Texas is not lacking for talent. Junior Colt McCoy is all you can ask for in a quarterback. In 2007, McCoy completed 65% of his passes on his way to 3,303 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. The offense, though, will be missing the star power of wide receiver Limas Sweed and Jamaal Charles. As a result, the Longhorns may have to score the old-fashioned way: jamming it down opponents’ throats.

On defense, the line has the most quality, with the biggest question marks coming in the secondary. Redshirt freshmen may be starting at both safety positions by the time the Longhorns make it to Folsom in early October. The Longhorns do have a new defensive coordinator in Will Muschamp, imported from Auburn. Texas will have to rely on speed and talent to cover deficiencies in experience.

Why Buff fans should look forward to this game with optimism:

1) 30 points. Texas gave up over 30 points a game in each of its last four games in 2007, and six times overall. There is talent there on defense, but there is a reason why Muschamp was lured away from Auburn - there was the perception that the defense needed to be fixed. A revved up CU offense playing before a loud Folsom Field crowd may just put up enough points to stay with the Longhorns’ offense.

2) The Red River Shootout factor. Last season, Oklahoma was undefeated and ranked 3rd in the nation the weekend before facing Texas. Texas was undefeated and ranked 7ththe weekend before facing Oklahoma. We know what happened to Oklahoma, but do you remember what happened to Texas? The Longhorns were mauled, at home, by unranked Kansas State, 41-21. This season, the CU/Texas game is the week before the Texas/Oklahoma game. Anyone up for a little bit of history repeating itself?

3) Jet lag. Texas does not leave its home state to play a game until the October 4thmatchup against the Buffs. September includes three home games and a road trop to El Paso to face UTEP (think there might be some Longhorn fans there for that game?). Okay, so a two-hour plane ride to Colorado is not likely to dull the senses of the Texas players. But maybe, just maybe, playing on the road in a hostile environment for the first time since last November could give the Buffs a small advantage.

Why there is reason to lose sleep the night before the game:

1) Bye week. While the Buffs are trying to figure out how to handle Florida State in Jacksonville, the Texas players will be spending an extra week trying to figure out new ways to attack the Buffs. A game against the Rice Owls (3-9 in 2007) in Austin on September 20th in the last hurdle Texas must overcome before taking on Colorado two weeks later. The Longhorns will be rested and ready.

2) 70-3. It seems like forever ago, but the last time Colorado played Texas was in the 2005 Big 12 championship game. It what turned out to be Gary Barnett’s last game as head coach in Boulder, the Longhorns, on their way to a 13-0 record and the national championship, buried the Buffs in Houston. Older Buffs will grow weary the week of the game answering questions about how they feel about the 2005 blowout. It may affect the Buffs’ overall confidence at kickoff.

3) Darrell Scott. This could go either way. Scott, the #1 running back recruit in the nation, was recruited by virtually every team in the nation. His decision came down to Colorado and Texas, with the Buffs winning out in the battle for his services. Longhorn fans were so distraught that Scott chose Colorado over Texas that there were internet accusations that Colorado had promised Scott’s mother a job if Darrell signed on with CU. Rest assured, if Darrell Scott is the featured CU back by early October, the Texas defensive line will be geared up to stop him. Of course, Darrell Scott may be pumped to show the Texas players a thing or two about what he can do on a football field.

Texas game to keep an eye on before the CU/Texas game:

Texas v. Arkansas - September 13th. The other three Texas non-conference opponents, Florida Atlantic, UTEP, and Rice, were all amongst the leaders in passing in 2007. This should give the Longhorns’ suspect secondary a workout, but the overall talent discrepancies don’t afford those teams much chance at victory. Arkansas, under new head coach Bobby Petrino, makes for the most interesting matchup. The Razorbacks were an underachieving 8-5 last season, including a lackluster performance against Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. While Arkansas does not have the horses to stay with Texas for sixty minutes, it will be interesting to see what Petrino can come up with to attack the vulnerable Texas secondary. At least CU will have some good game film to work with in preparing for October 4th.

My thoughts: Of the brutal four game stretch between games three and six (West Virginia, at Florida State, Texas, at Kansas), I actually see this game as the most winnable. This is not a knock on the talented team from Austin - it’s just how I see the Buffs’ stars aligning. West Virginia is at home, on national television, and under the lights, but the West Virginia offense just looks too good. Florida State is vulnerable, but playing in its own backyard. The Texas game, though, seems like the Oklahoma game of a year ago. Texas should be undefeated and ranked in the top ten. CU will (likely) be coming off a 2-2 non-conference slate. It was the same scenario last season with the Sooners. Call it fate - I see the Buffs winning this one.

at Kansas - October 11th

Fast facts - It has been a long time coming. Kansas in 2007 went 12-1, 7-1 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks went to the Orange Bowl and capped off a magical season with a 24-21 upset win over Virginia Tech. The win over the Hokies in the final game got KU head coach Mark Magino on the black side of the ledger, giving him a 37-36 overall record in his six seasons in Lawrence.

On offense, last season was one for the books at Kansas. Junior quarterback Todd Reesing returns to set new records after completing 62% of his passes in 2007 for over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns (offset by only seven interceptions). The offense set school records for scoring (42.8 ppg) and total offense (479.8 ypg). Will the same hold true in 2008? The Achilles heel seems to be at tackle, where a three year starter on one side and an All-American on the other must be replaced.


The defense also has a significant amount of talent returning, particularly at linebacker. The interior defensive line took some losses, with Big 12 defensive line player of the year James McClinton no longer there to disrupt play. Still, this is a defensive which has ranked among the top 30 in the nation in rush defense over the past four seasons, so opponents cannot count on too much of a drop off.

Why Buff fans should look forward to the game with optimism:

1) History. Kansas has not played in a bowl game in consecutive seasons - ever. While that is likely to change this season, the schedule does not play out as well for the Jayhawks. South Florida is lying in wait in the non-conference schedule, while Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech from the Big 12 South get their turn at the Jayhawks in 2008. No one will be taking Kansas for granted, and Oklahoma in Norman is the next game up for Kansas after Colorado. If the Jayhawks are doing well by early October, they may be looking past the Buffs.

2) History. Part II. Colorado leads the all-time series against Kansas 41-23-3, including a 17-14-3 advantage for the Buffs in Lawrence. The last time Kansas beat Colorado in consecutive seasons? 1980-81. History favors Colorado.

3) History. Part III. Kansas could do no wrong in 2007. Players had career years. The Jayhawks were an incredible plus-21 in turnover ratio (gaining 35 turnovers, giving up only 14). The schedule aligned with four easy non-conference games (okay, that was nothing new), and the bottom half of the Big 12 South on the schedule. And yet, with all of that, Kansas snuck by an average Colorado team by the dominating score of ..... 19-14. The Buffs will not be intimidated by the Jayhawks.

Why there is reason to lose sleep the night before the game:

1) Todd Reesing is that good. Patrick White of West Virginia and Chase Daniel of Missouri are getting more Heisman-hype, but Reesing takes a back seat to no one. Thirty three touchdowns and only seven interceptions? Are you kidding? Reesing can take a look at the Colorado secondary depth chart and start drooling.

2) Kansas will still be a marquee team come October 11th. Yes, Kansas plays South Florida in September. If the Jayhawks can get past the Bulls, they will likely be undefeated (and a top ten team) coming into the CU game. The other three non-conference games (Florida International, Louisiana Tech, and Sam Houston State) are typical non-conference fare for the Jayhawks, and their conference opener is against Iowa State. Yes, Kansas has a tougher schedule in 2008, but road games against Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Missouri, along with home games against Texas, Texas Tech and in-state rival Kansas State, are all in the second half of the season. Colorado cannot count on someone else exposing Kansas as pretenders, it will be up to the Buffs to do it themselves.

3) These Buffs are not yet road warriors. Even if Kansas loses to South Florida, Kansas will likely be ranked when Colorado hits Lawrence. The Buffs have lost eight straight road games against ranked opponents, dating back to a 31-17 win over UCLA in 2002.

Kansas game to keep an eye on before the Colorado/Kansas game:

Kansas at South Florida - September 12th. This is one of the most important games for Colorado in 2008 in which the Buffs are not participants. As noted, if the Jayhawks beat the Bulls, they will be undefeated and a top ten team playing at home against the Buffs. A loss to South Florida, with a brutal 2nd half schedule still before them, makes Kansas a good, but beatable team. The Bulls were 9-4 in 2007, and have plenty of talent returning. Plenty of eyes will be watching this game to see which of these two teams are the real deal in 2008.

My thoughts: If the Buffs are 2-3 coming into this game, they will likely leave Lawrence 2-4. Going into a hostile environment, against a potentially undefeated top ten team, on the heels of a three game losing streak - it doesn’t add up for Colorado. However, if the Buffs pull of an upset against West Virginia, Florida State, or Texas, and give the Jayhawks an "L" against South Florida, and this turns into a very interesting game.

Bottom Line: The first half of the 2008 season doesn’t offer Colorado many easy outs. Colorado State is a rivalry game. West Virginia, Texas, and Kansas may all be top ten teams when they square off with the Buffs. A 3-3 record will be an achievement, but not an impossible one.

The remainder of the schedule to be posted August 11th. For more on Colorado football, check out

Go Buffs!


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