EZ Mortgages

Post-Season – 2007 Review by position and by the numbers

// Dec 31 - 2007

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2007 in Review – By Position

In the Preseason, every position was broken down, with a grade of “glass half full” or “glass half empty” assigned. Below is a look back at those projections, with a grade given to each position based upon the results of 2007, and a first look at the 2008 depth chart…..

Read The Entire Review!…

2007 in Review – CU By the Numbers

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” …. It seemed that taking the Buffs’ 2007 numbers and comparing them to the numbers posted by the 2-10 2006 CU team wasn’t a fair enough test, so we also took a look at how 2007’s numbers stack up against CU’s 2001 Big 12 champions. The numbers will surprise you ….

Read The Entire Review!…

2007 in Review – National – Predictions and Outcomes

2007 was one of the strangest, wildest, and most exciting in NCAA history. Take a look back at what was expected, and compare it to the results (one favorite – four teams who were considered top ten teams at midseason finished the season unranked!) …..

Read The Entire Review!…

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2007 in Review – By Position

That Colorado was a better football program in 2007 than in 2006 can be seen in the win column as well as the stat’s sheets. The following is a breakdown, by position, as to how the ‘07 Buffs fared. First, though, there is a recap of the preseason predictions (each position was rated as either being a glass half full, or a glass half empty – for the full report, click on Preseason on the right hand column of the site). Then we will take a first look at how each position shapes up for 2008.

(Note: All statistics are for regular season only. CU does not include bowl statistics with the regular season statistics).

Offense

Quarterback

Preseason Analysis – Glass half empty. The Buffs entered the 2007 with only one quarterback with Division 1-A game experience, and that quarterback, Bernard Jackson, was not even on the depth chart at quarterback. With either Cody Hawkins or Nick Nelson, the quarterback position would be a question mark.

2007 Results – B-minus. Cody Hawkins set numerous freshman passing records, and posted the third highest season passing total in CU history (2,693 yards). If Hawkins starts all of his four years in Boulder, he will own virtually every Buff passing record. So why not a higher grade? Inconsistency. Hawkins was excellent at times, and his coolness and leadership under pressure belied his freshman status. Still, Hawkins threw 15 interceptions, just one off that ignoble record (John Hessler, 1997). At times, Hawkins made what can only be described as “freshman mistakes”. While inconsistency can be forgiven for a rebuilding team, they won’t work for a team hoping to compete for titles.

First Look – 2008. Glass half full. Hawkins will head into spring practice as the perceived front-runner, but as his father the head coach is often quoted as saying, every position is up for grabs. The wild card here could be redshirt-freshman to be Matt Ballenger. Ballenger, from Idaho, has reportedly wowed players and coaches with his talent and production on the scout team. His 6’4? frame is also more consistent with the perceived notion of today’s college quarterback (Hawkins is listed at 5’11?, and that is even said to be generous). The competition could make for an interesting spring. Nick Nelson will return for his senior season, and the Buffs have a verbal commitment from Tyler Hansen of California, a three star prospect. This looks to be a stable position for the Buffs for the next several seasons.

Running Backs

Preseason Analysis – Glass half full. Despite the overall 2-10 record in 2006, the Buffs ranked 22nd in the nation in rushing. Leading rusher Hugh Charles returned, to be joined by a slew of new and exciting backs.

2007 Results – C+. The Colorado rushing game dropped from 173 yards/game in 2006 to 150 yards/game in ‘07, slipping from 22nd in the nation to 63rd. Much of this was due to a young and inexperienced offensive line; some due to a better passing attack; and some due to Hugh Charles sitting out much of the first four games with injury. Still, the Buffs’ inability to consistently move the ball on the ground in 2007 contributed to CU’s mediocre record. It would have been good to send out senior Charles with a 1,000 yard season, but Charles finished just short, with 989 yards.

First look – 2008. Glass much too murky to tell. Hugh Charles and fellow senior Byron Ellis will be gone. There were some flashes of brilliance from the backs who will be returning, but not enough to garner great confidence in the future. Freshman Demetrius Sumler ably subbed for Charles early on, gaining 85 yards against Colorado State and 97 yards against Miami (Ohio). The last half of the season, though, Sumler carried the ball only 18 times for 36 yards. Brian Lockridge has great speed, but only had 38 touches all season. The great unknown: Who will be in camp this fall who did not play in 2007? Much of the CU recruiting news currently centers on California running back Darrell Scott, rated as the top running back prospect in the country. Nephew of CU wide receiver Josh Smith, Scott has been reported as being almost a sure thing for Colorado on signing day (February 6th), but Scott has not yet committed, speaking highly of Texas, while still planning on trips to Florida and LSU. Somewhat lost in this mix is a recruit who has verbally committed to the Buffs, Ray Polk of Arizona, and a four star recruit from last season, Patrick “P.T.” Gates, who is still trying to academically qualify for Boulder. Depending on how the situations with Scott and Gates turn out, the Buffs could either be loaded at running back …. or paper thin.

Wide Receivers

Preseason Analysis – Glass half empty. The Buffs’ leading receiver in 2006 was a tight end, Riar Geer, and Geer had only 24 catches for 261 yards. Colorado had some incoming speed at wide receiver, but not much in the way of immediate production was expected from the new group.

2007 Results – C+. Yes, there was marked improvement in this area in 2007. Both Scotty McKnight (488 yards) and Josh Smith (451 yards) broke the 25-year old freshman mark of 337 receiving yards (Chris McClemore, 1982). Smith averaged almost 20 yards per catch, stretching opposing defenses, while senior tight end Tyson DeVree led the team with six touchdowns. In all, five receivers bested the 261 yards posted by Riar Geer in 2006. Again, however, production was spotty. For every circus catch made, there was a dropped ball on third down and short. 2007’s passing game was definitely an improvement over 2006, but then again, the ‘06 model was one of the worst in modern CU history.

First look – 2008. Glass half empty. From a production standpoint, only wide receiver Dusty Sprague and tight end Tyson DeVree are lost. McKnight, Smith, and fellow speedster Kendrick Celestine will be back for their sophomore years, and Riar Geer will be a junior. The Buffs have redshirt freshman to be Markques Simas waiting in the wings, and have commitments from at least one three star wide receiver (Chase Blackmon of Texas), and one three star tight end (Ryan Deehan from California), so the Buffs appear to be in a position to return the receiving corps to a position of strength. Still, this corps is probably in the bottom third of the conference overall.

Offensive Line

Preseason Analysis – Glass half empty. When your spring game is limited at times to seven-on-seven drills due to lack of depth in your offensive line, you know you have problems. Eight recruits were on the way, including highly touted offensive tackle Ryan Miller. Of all the positions on a college football team, though, probably the least likely to play as a true freshman (other than perhaps quarterback) is an offensive lineman, so the incoming eight players were not expected to immediately be available to help.

2007 Results – B. This position gets the highest grade amongst the offensive units as the O-line did the most with the least in 2007, helping Colorado’s offensive output to increase over 1,000 yards over the production of the 2006 team (4,524 yards, up from 3,497 in 2006). Two of the eight freshmen recruits played significant roles. A freshman lineman was starting in the line by the Oklahoma game, but it wasn’t Ryan Miller. Guard Kai Maiava, the last recruit of the 2007 class (who was only offered a scholarship late when another OL recruit dumped Colorado for Arizona State), started eight games. Ryan Miller started two games later (finishing with six starts), becoming the first true freshman to ever start at tackle for Colorado. Two seniors, guard Edwin Harrison and tackle Tyler Polumbus (who played every offensive down for CU in both 2006 and 2007), anchored the line, with junior center Daniel Sanders starting every game in the middle.

First look – 2008. Glass half full. Starters Sanders, Miller, and Maiava return, as will junior to be Devin Head. Head, it should be remembered, started the first six games of the season at guard. When Miller was ready to start at tackle, Edwin Harrison moved into the guard spot, and Head moved into a backup role (Head did receive playing time in every subsequent game). Head has seven starts overall to his credit. This leaves only one starting spot to be filled, but six of the eight freshmen from the ‘07 recruiting class red-shirted, and still have four years of eligibility remaining. The recruiting class of ‘08 includes three offensive linemen, most notably four star lineman Bryce Givens of Mullen High in Denver, who had committed to Nebraska before the coaching change in Lincoln. The first sign of improvement in ‘08 over ‘07? The spring game will actually be able to be a full scrimmage!

Overall – Offense

Preseason Analysis – Glass half empty. The Buffs in 2006 were last in the Big 12 conference in passing offense, scoring offense, and total offense (and ranked in the 100’s nationwide). With a new quarterback, a makeshift line, and a passing game which scared absolutely no one, there was little reason to hope for an overnight transformation.

2007 Results – B- . There were 20 teams in Division 1-A in 2007 which improved their offensive output over 1,000 yards from 2006, and Colorado was one of those teams. Grading on a curve, it was a good year. Grading on a comparative scale, however, and the numbers are not as rosy. The Buffs were 63rd in rushing offense, 56th in passing offense, 72nd in total offense, and 63rd in scoring. Not exactly the stuff of legend. Colorado put up 65 on Nebraska, but only 10 against Missouri. A number of young players saw action, with a freshmen quarterback setting passing records with the assistance of two record-setting freshmen wide receivers. By mid-season, two of the starters on the offensive line were freshmen. The Buffs did well with what they had, but 6-6 was about right for this amount of offensive production.

First look – 2008. Glass half full. If the Buffs can get their running game sorted out (i.e., get either Scott or Gates in the backfield); if Cody Hawkins’ 2007 performance was a work in progress, and not the best it will get; if CU can find another wideout or two to stretch the opposition’s defense; and if the Buff offensive line can continue to grow in experience and depth, Colorado could be in line for yet another 1,000 yard improvement in total offense.

Defense

Defensive line

Preseason Analysis – Glass half full. Despite the departure to the NFL by sack specialist Abraham Wright, the Buff defensive line was seen as a strength. The Buffs ranked 30th in the nation in rush defense in 2006, and, with defensive tackles Brandon Nicholas and George Hypolite returning, this positive trend was expected to continue.

2007 Results – B- . The overall rushing defense numbers slipped only slightly, with Colorado falling to 32nd in the nation in yards allowed. George Hypolite received first team All-Big 12 honors from several selectors, and Brandon Nicholas plugged up the middle. Still, the Buffs only produced 19 sacks total for the year (93rd in the nation – Wright had 11 ½ on his own in 2006). Defensive end play from junior Maurice Lucas and senior Alonzo Barrett was consistent, if not spectacular.

First look – 2008. Glass half full. George Hypolite has put his name in for review of his NFL draft status, but all indications are that he will return for his senior season. Hypolite will likely be a preseason All-Big 12 selection in most of the ‘08 preseason magazines. Nicholas and Lucas will also return. As for the second defensive end spot, and for depth on the line overall, CU head coach Dan Hawkins has already stated that he is excited to see what redshirt freshmen to be Eugene Goree, Conrad Obi, and Lagrone Shields, all ‘07 recruits, will add to the mix.

Linebackers

Preseason Analysis – Glass half full. Even with the suspension of Michael Sipili for the ‘07 season, the linebacking corps was seen as the strongest position on the team. Senior Jordon Dizon was seen as the Buffs’ one true star, with junior Brad Jones and special teams captain R.J. Brown seen as fine compliments to Dizon.

2007 Results – B. Jordon Dizon was all that was advertised. A runner-up for the Butkus Award, Dizon was hurt in the selection process by the Buffs’ overall record, as his numbers were unparalleled in college football. Dizon was fifth in the nation in total tackles; first in the nation in solo tackles. Dizon set school records for third down stops in a season (19; besting the 18 by Chad Brown in ‘92 and Brian Iwuh in ‘05) and a career (48; one better than the 47 by Greg Biekert, ‘89-‘92). One of Dizon’s two interceptions was returned for a touchdown (against Texas Tech), and Dizon had 24 stops for zero or minus yardage. All this when two players who were expected to be major contributors (Sipili, suspension; and Brown, concussion), only played in three games between them. Junior Brad Jones and sophomore Jeff Smart received every start after conference play began.

First look – 2008. Glass half full. Even with the departure of Jordon Dizon to the NFL, the linebacking corps should be the strength of the team. Emphasis is on should. Jones and Smart return, but the excitement is over who else might play. Sipili, who was slated as a starter in August, is set to return for spring ball after serving his semester suspension (don’t get me started on that one). Also exciting is the incoming list of recruits, including five star middle linebacker recruit Lynn Katoa from Utah. Two four star linebackers have also verbally committed to CU – junior college standout Shaun Mohler and Jon Major from Ponderosa High in Colorado. Major is considered the best high school recruit in the state, meaning that for the second year in a row (offensive lineman Ryan Miller was seen as the best Colorado recruit in the ‘07 class), the Buffs have received a commitment from the best high school player in Colorado.

Secondary

Preseason Analysis – Glass half empty. All Big 12 cornerback Terrence Wheatley returned, but the Buffs in 2006 ranked 94th in the nation in pass defense, giving up 228 yards/game through the air. There were numerous players returning with game experience, but, based up the Buffs’ track record, this was not seen necessarily as a good thing.

2007 Results – C- . Despite having an All-Conference performer in Wheatley, the Buffs in 2007 were actually much worse through the air than the 2006 squad. Colorado gave up 262 passing yards/game, ranking CU 101st out of 120 Division 1-A teams. The Buffs were certainly hurt when Wheatley was injured for the last two games of the season, but that is not enough of an excuse for the Buffs giving up that many yards and that many scores. Junior Ben Burney started every game at corner opposite Wheatley, while the juniors Ryan Walters and Daniel Dykes earned most of the starts at safety.

First look – 2008. Glass half empty. There will be three returning starters next season. Burney, Walters, and Dykes will all be seniors. If the Colorado pass defense was seen as a strength, this would be a positive sign. However, when you lose your best player from a poor unit, and the Big 12 has become a passing conference, this weak link could be the most frustrating aspect of the Buff team in ‘08. A ray of hope, though, came in coach Hawkins’ post-season comments. He indicated that he is expecting good things from a trio of sophomores to be, being Anthony Perkins, Lamont Smith, and Anthony Wright. At least one, and maybe all three, of these players will need breakout seasons if the Buff pass defense is to improve in 2008.

Kicking game

Preseason Analysis – Glass half full. Senior kicker Kevin Eberhart had waited patiently in the shadow of Mason Crosby, and 2007 was his season to shine. Sophomore punter Matt DiLallo had his ups and downs as a freshman, but had come through fairly well. More would be expected of DiLallo in his sophomore season. Return duties would be ably manned by senior Stephone Robinson, who already ranked in the top ten in CU annals in terms of punt return and kickoff return yards.

2007 Results – C. Kevin Eberhart had an auspicious start to his senior season, kicking the game-tying and game-winning field goals against CSU. Eberhart then outdid himself with a game-winning 45-yarder to defeat 3rd-ranked Oklahoma as time expired, followed by a record-tying five field goal performance against Baylor. Yet, Eberhart was only 15-23 overall, including a frustrating 3-6 between 30-39 yards. DiLallo averaged a respectable 39.6 yards/punt, but his net average of 35.4 yards was only good enough for sixth in the Big 12 (and 58th overall). These are not exactly numbers usually associated with a CU punter. The return game was taken over Terrence Wheatley, who supplanted Stephone Robinson both in the lineup and in the record books. With his 919 yards in kickoff returns in ‘07, Wheatley finished his career second all-time in kickoff returns, with 1,350 yards, (second only to Ben Kelly’s 1,798 yards in ‘97 -‘98). Robinson finished his career at Colorado seventh overall in kickoff return yards, with 867. (Robinson also finished seventh overall in punt return yards, with 647).

First look – 2008. Glass half empty. For the second year in a row, the Buffs will be looking for a new placekicker. Potential candidate Tyler Cope, a walk-on who handled kickoffs for Colorado in 2007, will not return (Cope was not offered a scholarship, and will be returning to Oregon to play for Oregon State, where he can pay in-state tuition). Kicking duties will fall to either Wyoming transfer Aric Goodman or former Boise State recruit Jameson Davis, while Matt DiLallo will be the likely candidate to punt for the Buffs for the third season in a row. Returning duties, with the departures of Terrence Wheatley, Stephone Robinson, and Hugh Charles (who returned 14 kickoffs during the season), will be an open casting call. CU head coach Dan Hawkins hinted in his post season press conference that defensive back Lamont Smith (not Lamont Warren, as previously reported!) may be the front runner for the position.

Overall – Defense

Preseason Analysis – Glass half full. There were questions in the secondary, but strong play from the linebackers and a good rush defense were expected to carry Colorado until the offense came around. The Buffs had all-league performers in the line (Hypolite), at linebacker (Dizon), and in the secondary (Wheatley).

2007 Results – B- . Any time you hit triple digits in any defensive category, you can’t be pleased. Colorado was 101st in the nation in passing defense, surrendering 261.8 yards/game. Even in the pass happy Big 12, that number is unacceptable. Dizon was a force, and the defensive line was good at stopping the run (32nd), if not getting to the quarterback (93rd in sacks). The losses of two starting linebackers certainly hurt, as did the loss of Terrence Wheatley late in the season. Overall, the Buff defense showed signs, but giving up almost 30 points per game (29.4, 78th in the nation) does not place Colorado back amongst the elite of college football.

First look – 2008. Glass half full. The loss of stars Dizon and Wheatley will definitely hurt. However, as with the offense, there are signs of growing talent and, perhaps even more importantly, quality depth. The big question will continue to be the secondary. In 2007, the Big 12 had eight teams in the top 40 in the nation in passing offense; eight in the top 30 in scoring offense. Unfortunately for the Buffs and their fans, most of these offenses boast players who are returning for 2008. A winning record in Boulder in 2008 will be contingent upon continued success in stopping the run, and new found success in stopping the pass.

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2007 in Review – CU By the Numbers

The Colorado Buffaloes in 2007 finished with a 6-7 record. A losing season, but a significant improvement over the 2006 squad which struggled to a 2-10 record. Comparing the ‘07 Buffs with the ‘06 Buffs may lead to a false sense of improvement (though there are some areas where CU was worse in ‘07 than in ‘06). If the Buffs are to return to national prominence, besting the statistics from last season will not be sufficient. As a result, in reviewing the Buffs’ numbers, the best way to see how far the program has come is to look at the numbers from 2001, when Colorado won the Big 12 title. The ‘01 team was good, but did not post unreachable numbers (remember the opening night loss to Fresno State? The 41-7 thumping by Texas in Austin?). 2006 will tell us how far the Buffs have come; 2001 will tell how far the Buffs still need to go.

Offense

Scoring

2007 – 27 points/game – 8th (Big 12); 78th (nationally)

2006 – 16 points/game – 12th (Big 12); 104th (nationally)

2001 – 33 points/game – 4th (Big 12); 23rd (nationally)

This statistic is where the greatest improvement from last season can be seen, and where the greatest need for improvement for future seasons needs to occur. The Buffs scored over 11 points more per game in ‘07 than in ‘06, and, as the saying goes, “you can’t beat ‘em if you can’t outscore ‘em”. Still, before the Buffs’ fans and players hurt their arms patting themselves on the back, it bears noting that the ‘07 Buffs are still a touchdown per game behind the 2001 Big 12 Champions. If Colorado is to improve in the standings in the Big 12 North, and return to the rankings nationally, this number needs to climb into the 30’s/game.

Passing

2007 – 227 yards/game – 10th (Big 12); 56th (nationally)

2006 – 118 yards/game – 12th (Big 12); 117th (nationally)

2001 – 206 yards/game – 6th (Big 12); 70th (nationally)

This is the area where the Buffs made the greatest strides in 2007. Bernard Jackson, quarterback in 2006, was ill-suited for the task. Freshman quarterback Cody Hawkins was a significant improvement, but there was also a significant upgrade in the talent level at wide receiver. Freshmen Scotty McKnight (488 yards receiving) and Josh Smith (451 yards), both surpassed the freshman receiving record set by Chris McClemore (337 yards) in 1982. The numbers overall, it might surprise some, actually surpassed the numbers from 2001 (which was much more successful running the ball, as outlined below). Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the comparisons is to see how the Big 12 has become a passing league in just the pass six seasons. Passing for 206 yards/game was good enough for 6th in the conference in 2001. Six years later, the Buffs passed for 21 yards/game more than in ‘01, but dropped from 6th to 10th in the conference rankings.

Rushing

2007 – 150 yards/game – 7th (Big 12); 63rd (nationally)

2006 – 173 yards/game – 6th (Big 12); 24th (nationally)

2001 – 228 yards/game – 3rd (Big 12); 8th (nationally)

The Buffs actually made a significant step backward in 2007 in the rushing game. Hugh Charles rushed for 989 yards despite missing most of three games. When Charles was injured early on, Demetrius Sumler stepped in. Sumler, however, disappeared after mid-season, garnering only 18 carries and 36 yards over the final six weeks of the season. Senior Byron Ellis and freshman Brian Lockridge had moments of success, but neither had a break out performance. Much of the drop off can be attributed to having such a lack of experience in the offensive line (Remember spring practice, when the spring game had to allow for seven-on-seven plays because there was not enough healthy linemen on the roster to conduct a full scrimmage?). Since 1972, when freshman eligibility was reinstated, only nine true freshmen have started on the offensive line for Colorado. Two of them, Kai Maiava (eight games) and Ryan Miller (six games), started this year. This trial by fire will pay dividends in future years, but hurt the Buffs rushing attack this season.

Defense

Scoring

2007 – 29 points/game – 8th (Big 12); 78th (nationally)

2006 – 22 points/game – 6th (Big 12); 51st (nationally)

2001 – 23 points/game – 7th (Big 12); 43rd (nationally)

This one was a surprise. The 2-10 team actually gave up fewer points per game than either the 6-7 2007 team, and even the 10-3 2001 team. Yes, both of the other teams scored a great deal more than the 2006 team, but it appears that the 2006 CU defense did not receive as much credit as it deserved for keeping the Buffs in most of their games. With stellar defensive players such as Jordon Dizon and Terrence Wheatley graduating, the 2008 Buff defense will have some work to do in order for the team as a whole to be more successful.

Passing

2007 – 262 yards/game – 8th (Big 12); 101st (nationally)

2006 – 229 yards/game – 8th (Big 12); 92nd (nationally)

2001 – 229 yards/game – 10th (Big 12) 71st (nationally)

Again, it is surprising to see that the 2007 is the worst of the three teams in terms of passing defense. Granted, only once this decade (2002) have the Buffs been in the top half of the nation in pass defense (and ranked 100th or lower four times during that span), but still it is instructive to see that the Buffs have a long way to go before there will be success on a national scale. The Big 12 has become a passing conference (note that the Buffs gave up 33 yards more per game in ‘07 than in ‘01, but moved up two spots in the conference rankings), and until the Buffs get speed and savvy in the defensive backfield, a national ranking will continue to be elusive.

Rushing

2007 – 127 yards/game – 5th (Big 12); 32nd (nationally)

2006 – 112 yards/game – 3rd (Big 12); 24th (nationally)

2001 – 129 yards/game – 6th (Big 12); 36th (nationally)

The flip side of the coin in having a porous passing defense is that the rushing defensive statistics look good. Having Jordon Dizon making a dozen or more tackles each game has been great, but other linebackers will need to step up for the Buffs to have continued success in this department. The return of two run stuffers at defensive tackle, George Hypolite and Brandon Nicolas, will help Colorado in this quest. Hypolite was voted first team All-Big 12 by the Associated Press, while Nicolas was selected by his teammates to receive the Regiment Award, given to the player on the team who makes the greatest contribution with the least recognition.

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2007 in Review – National – Predictions and Outcomes

Heading into the 2007-08 bowl season, no fewer than six teams received votes as the number one team in the nation: Ohio State (50); LSU (11); Oklahoma (1); Georgia (1); Virginia Tech (1); and Hawaii (1). Every team vying for national supremacy had a blemish, either a loss (or two), or, in the case of Hawaii, the lack of a signature win. The final poll before the bowls represented a season which was a free-for-all of upsets and shocking results.

It wasn’t supposed to work out this way.

For the first time in several years, there was consensus in August as to the number one team in the nation. USC was a near unanimous pick at #1, receiving 62 of the 65 first place votes in the preseason AP poll. Lindy’s preseason magazine projected that Pete Carroll’s team was becoming so dominant, “the annual race to the BCS championship game is going to become a yearly chase ‘to see who gets to play SC’ “.

A funny thing, happened, though, on the way to the coronation of the Trojans – the games had to be played. USC rolled through September undefeated, but somehow still lost their number one ranking to LSU. Apparently disheartened by a slip to #2 after a close win over Washington, the Trojans fell to Stanford in one of the more shocking upsets of the season, 24-23.

LSU, the chief benefactor of USC’s loss, was the unanimous #1 – for a week. The Tigers then fell in three overtimes to #17 Kentucky, 43-37, to cede the top spot to Ohio State. At the midway point of the season, the AP top ten looked like this:

1. Ohio State (50)

2. South Florida (1)

3. Boston College (1)

4. Oklahoma (1)

5. LSU (1)

6. South Carolina

7. Oregon

8. Kentucky

9. West Virginia

10. California

Take a look at that list again. By the end of the season, only three of the top ten at the midway point would remain – Ohio State, LSU, and Oklahoma, while four teams – South Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, and California – fell out of the Top 25 completely. It was quite a year.

The third team to hold the number one spot in 2007, Ohio State, held the top spot for four weeks, before a 28-21 loss to unranked Illinois dropped the Buckeyes to seventh and (seemingly) out of the race for the national title. The new number one was an old #1 – LSU. This time the Tigers were able to hold on to the number one spot for two weeks, before a three overtime 50-48 loss to Arkansas vaulted Missouri to the top of the football world for the first time since 1960.

The Tigers of Missouri were not able to handle the success, though, bowing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, 38-17. The Missouri loss handed the #1 label back to Ohio State for a second time. The Buckeyes were able to hold the mantle largely because they did not have to play a game after November 17th, and rose from 7th to 1st because everyone in front of them kept losing.

A season with six number one teams is odd enough, but even that does not tell the whole story. There were three other which would have become number one if they had not fallen at the wrong time. Included in this list was California. The 2nd-ranked Bears played Oregon State on October 13th knowing that #1 LSU had already lost to Kentucky, but Cal lost to the Beavers, 31-28, to lose its chance at #1. Similarly, Kansas had the chance to become #1 when LSU lost its second three overtime game, but could not defeat Missouri that same night. The following weekend, when #1 Missouri was falling to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, #2 West Virginia had its chance to play for the national title, but the Mountaineers fell to unranked Pittsburgh, 13-9, on the last weekend of regular season play.

What a weird season.

Let’s compare the preseason top tens with actual results:

1. USC (same Lindy’s and Athlon’s)

2. LSU (#2 in Lindy’s; #3 in Athlon’s)

3. West Virginia (#4 in Lindy’s; #5 in Athlon’s)

4. Texas (#5 in Lindy’s; #2 in Athlon’s)

5. Michigan (#3 in Lindy’s; #8 in Athlon’s)

6. Florida (#11 in Lindy’s; #6 in Athlon’s)

7. Wisconsin (#6 in Lindy’s; #4 in Athlon’s)

8. Oklahoma (#10 in Lindy’s; #7 in Athlon’s)

9. Virginia Tech (#8 in Lindy’s; #9 in Athlon’s)

10. Louisville (#9 in Lindy’s; #13 in Athlon’s)

Final Top Ten (and preseason AP placement):

1. LSU (#2 Preseason)

2. Georgia (#13)

3. USC (#1)

4. Missouri (unranked – though 26th overall in votes)

5. Ohio State (#11)

6. West Virginia (#3)

7. Kansas (unranked)

8. Oklahoma (#8 – hey, they got one!)

9. Virginia Tech (#9 – wow! Two in a row!)

10t. Texas (#4)

10t. Boston College (unranked)

Colorado – preseason predictions

It’s easy to look back and criticize the preseason prognosticators having the benefit of 20-20 hindsight (Michigan #5? Louisville #10? Really?). In fairness, though, it’s tough to make solid projections in August, and this year proved the rule. But for fun, let’s look back at what was said about Colorado by two noted magazines, Lindy’s and Athlon’s, to see how their views of Colorado played out. To make it fair, I will also look back at what I said in my Preseason overview (yes, it is true I could have gone back and edited my predictions at any time, but you’ll just have to go on faith that what I wrote in August has not been altered).

Lindy’s

Colorado Preseason rank – 74th in the nation; preseason prediction – 5th in the Big 12 North

Off the mark – 1) expecting great things from Bernard Jackson and P.T. Gates, neither of which were able, due to academics, to play a down for the Buffs this season; 2) expecting freshman defensive end Marquez Harrod to push senior Alonzo Barrett for playing time; 3) failing to mention Scotty McKnight amongst the seven receivers noted in the piece. McKnight led the team this fall, setting single season freshman records for receptions (43) and yards (488); and 4) “Colorado should be competitive within the Big 12 North (the Buffs were 1-4) – but the Buffs still have plenty of ground to make up outside of it (the Buffs were 5-2).”

On the mark – “In Year Two under Hawkins, the Buffaloes should be better, and with a difficult schedule, a winning record and bowl appearance would be a significant accomplishment.”

Athlon’s

Colorado Preseason rank – 61st in the nation; preseason prediction – 5th in the Big 12 North

Off the mark – 1) “(Hugh Charles) has not shown the ability to be an every-down back”; and 2) predicting losses to Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Nebraska.

On the mark – “The program is heading in the right direction, but fans will be well-advised to remain patient this fall.”

SRW

Off the mark – 1) predictions for wins over Kansas and Iowa State. Who knew that Kansas would climb to #2 in the country? Or, for that matter, that the Buffs would lose a 21-point lead in Ames?; 2) predictions for losses against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Nebraska. Okay, so no one is griping about that now, but who would have picked this trifecta in August?

On the mark – “The end result? In my estimation, a good season would be six wins and a bowl bid. Six wins (anything beyond that is probably wishful thinking) would show marked progress for the program, and give Buff fans great optimism for 2008 and beyond. Six wins and no bowl bid, or a 5-7 or 4-8 record, would be disappointing, but would still give the CU faithful something to cling to for the future. Anything less than four wins, and the ‘was Hawkins the right choice?’ grumbling begins.”

2 Responses to “Post-Season – 2007 Review by position and by the numbers”

  1. Thanks for the input, Craig. I guess it was just a little wishful thinking that Lamont Warren would be available to return kicks! (CU trivia – Warren was the first Buff (after the ’93 season) to go to the NFL after his junior year. Warren’s departure for the NFL cleared the way for Rashaan Salaam’s 2,055 yard campaign in ’94.

  2. Craig Brown (NCBuff)

    Great work. I think you meant Lamont Smith rather than Lamont Warren as Special Teams Returner. Wish Lamont Warren was available this year. Also, I didn’t see a reference to Simas in the returning WR section. I believe he will add much needed speed and depth.

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