It’s Friday, so it’ s time for the Friday Fearless Forecasts. The Forecasts are not exactly predictions for which you can find odds in Las Vegas (but, if you could, you would clean up). Last week: The Fearless Forecasts went three-for-three, so let’s see what predictions you can take to the bank this weekend …
1) Two Buffs will join the 2,000-yard club. Quarterback Tyler Hansen, with 192 yards passing against Colorado State, now has 1,912 passing yards for his career. This Saturday, Hansen will become the 19th quarterback in Colorado history to pass for more than 2,000 yards. Up next on the list for Hansen is the No. 18 all-time quarterback, Jeff Knapple, who passed for 2,107 yards in his career at Colorado (1976-77).
The other Buff joining the 2,000-yard club against Cal should be wide receiver Scotty McKnight. Already in possession of several Colorado receiving records, McKnight, who had 78 yards receiving against the Rams, is now just 22 yards shy of 2,000 yards receiving for his career. Upon gaining those 22 yards, McKnight will become just the 7th Buff to eclipse that barrier, with No. 6 on the list, Javon Green, (2,031 yards; 1997-2000), and No. 5, Derek McCoy (2,038 yards; 2000-03), well within reach this weekend.
2) Colorado and California will run more plays that did Colorado and Colorado State. Last weekend, the Buffs ran off 60 plays total, two more than did the Rams. The 118 combined plays was the 3rd lowest total for Colorado in 45 years. On only two other occasions has Colorado and an opponent run fewer combined plays during that time span than what was witnessed in the Buffs’ 24-3 opening game victory. Oddly enough, both of those quickly played contests also involved Colorado State, with the 2006 game going for 105 combined plays; the 1997 contest generating 114.
As Colorado has not had a game with fewer than 118 plays against any team not named Colorado State since the Lyndon Johnson Administration, it would be a safe bet that the Buffs and the Bears will give the paying customers at Memorial Stadium a few more plays to watch this Saturday.
3) The Colorado/California game will be the most watched in the history the series. The two future Pac-12 rivals have played one another four times in their histories. The two teams have split their games, with California winning the only game played at Berkeley, a 10-0 victory in 1968. The Buffs won two of the three games played in Boulder, with Colorado winning in 1972 (20-10) and 1975 (34-27), before falling in Bill McCartney’s debut as head coach, 31-17, in 1982.
Only one game of the first four was televised, with ABC providing regional coverage of the 1968 game. The highest attendance came in 1972, when Colorado, then ranked 2nd in the nation, won 20-10 before 50,751 at Folsom Field. Cal’s Memorial Stadium, which is undergoing renovations (Cal will actually play its home games at San Francisco’s AT & T Park in 2011), presently has a capacity of 71,799. Last weekend, the Bears played before 58,040 in taking on 1-AA Cal-Davis. It is safe to say, with a minimum of 7,000 Colorado fans buying tickets, and with an increased interest in the game amongst Bear fans due to the upgrade in opponent, that the 50,751 high-attendance mark from 1972 will fall this weekend (the 1968 game at Berkeley, by the way, was played before an estimated crowd of 27,500).
Some interesting items of note for Saturday’s matchup between Colorado and California …
Senior defensive end Marquez Herrod, who started every game in 2009, not only did not start against Colorado State, he was in for only 16 plays. Herrod was replaced in the starting lineup by junior Josh Hartigan, who made his first career start.
Overall, Colorado played 68 players in the opener, the highest number of participants in a game for the Buffs since 2001 (68 in a 51-15 rout of San Jose State).
Colorado’s three interceptions were the most in an opener since 2005 (also against Colorado State), and the most in any game since concluding the 2007 regular season with three interceptions against Nebraska.
Under Jeff Tedford, California has gone undefeated at home in the even years of 2004, 2006, and 2008. Of course, Cal is undefeated at home so far in 2010.
Cal led Cal-Davis 35-0 at halftime last Saturday, marking the first time that the Bears had shut out an opponent in the first half of a game since 2005; Colorado led Colorado State 17-0 at halftime last Saturday, marking the first time that the Buffs had shut out an opponent in the first half of a game since leading Wyoming by a similar 17-0 score in Game three of the 2009 season.
The Bears are 38-4 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents under Tedford; 14-22 when the opponent has the advantage. The Buffs are 12-18 when the turnover margin is plus or even; 5-15 when the opponents hold the advantage.
Cal is 15-20-1 against teams in the current Big 12, including a 2-2 record against Colorado. The Bears have never played Oklahoma State, and have never beaten Kansas State (0-1), Nebraska (0-3), Texas (0-4), or Texas Tech (0-1). Colorado is 38-34-1 all time against current members of the Pac-10, and is winless only against Arizona State (0-2) and USC (0-5).
In the four game series between Colorado and California, the team which has scored first has won every game. In fact, the team which has scored first in the 2-2 series has never trailed in any of the four games.
The Big 12 went 11-1 in the opening weekend of the 2010 season, the best record ever for the conference in an opening weekend. The lone loss was a 6-3 setback for Kansas. The Jayhawks fell at home, 6-3, to 1-AA North Dakota State. The Jayhawks are starting the season with a new head coach, Turner Gill. Kansas ousted head coach Mark Mangino, despite on field success, due to off-field issues. The Jayhawks were looking to open their season with their fresh new coach, Gill, who came to Lawrence as a hot prospect from a mid-major, Buffalo. Jayhawk fans looked to open the season comfortably with a game against a 1-AA school, but were shocked with the opening game embarassment …. stop me when this starts to sound familiar …
Iowa State, Colorado, and Texas Tech are the only three teams from the Big 12 on the road this weekend. Last weekend, nine teams were on the road, while three played “neutral site” games (Colorado v. Colorado State; Texas v. Rice in Houston; Missouri v. Illinois in St. Louis). Thus Colorado, after this weekend, will be the only team in the Big 12 yet to play a home game. The September 17th game against Hawaii will be the latest for a home game since 2007 (September 15th v. Florida State). You have to go back to 1980 to find a later home opener, when Colorado played its first home game against Indiana on September 27th (the week that the Sports Illustrated article about Chuck Fairbanks’ desk came out – see the Archives if you don’t remember that one! … http://www.cuatthegame.com/1980/colorado-v-indiana/).
The Colorado/California series is being renewed for the first time since playing on the same date, September 11th, in 1982. That game, a 31-17 Cal victory played in the rain in Boulder, marked the first game for new Buff head coach Bill McCartney. Normally, this game would have been the Archive Game of the Week, but, as we are working our way through the 1990 championship season with the headline game, the Colorado/Stanford game is featured on the front page of the website. Still, the Colorado/California game, in which both teams were opening the season with new head coaches (Joe Kapp, who was the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, was the Cal head coach), was memorable. If you are not used to finding your way around the Archives, here is a link to the story of that game … http://www.cuatthegame.com/1982/sep-11-california/
Eight walk-ons on the roster
Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins acknowledged eight walk-ons have been added to the fall roster.
One of the best known of the eight is running back Josh Ford, formerly of Mullen High in Denver. Ford went to Kansas State as a preferred walk-on after helping Mullen to the 5A state championship in 2008. Ford gained 1,321 yards and scored 17 touchdowns as an upperclassman.
While in Manhattan last summer, Ford broke his wrist during seven-on-seven drills. Rather than stay in Manhattan, Ford opted to come home, and received his acceptance to CU this summer. “They want me to start on the scout team and see what I can do, see what I can produce,” said Ford this summer. “I told them I just want to come in and help the team.”
Oooh, so close …
Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green was declared ineligible for three more games by the NCAA for violations stemming from Green’s acceptance of benefits from an agent. Green, a preseason All-SEC selection, had 53 catches for 808 yards and six touchdowns in 2009. He was ranked as the No. 4 prospect overall for the 2011 NFL draft by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr.
The suspension begins this weekend, as the 22nd- ranked Bulldogs take on No. 24 South Carolina, and will also be in effect for Georgia’s games against No. 14 Arkansas (Sept. 18th) and Mississippi State (Sept. 25th).
Green’s first game of the 2010 season?
You guessed it … October 2nd, against Colorado in Boulder …
In addition to the long-term entries on the injury report (defensive back Vince Ewing out for the season; wide receiver Dusty Ebner out 3-5 weeks; offensive lineman Jack Harris out 3-5 weeks), there were two more additions this week:
Defensive back Parker Orms was lost for the season with a torn ACL after being in for three plays on defense. He was hurt without contact while covering a Colorado punt. Orms was replaced by Travis Sandersfeld, who has been a star on special teams, and had an interception against Colorado State; and
Defensive line Dakota Poole, who suffered a fractured hand in practice. Poole will be ready to play in a few weeks, but was already a red-shirt candidate.
In addition to those injuries listed, it is being reported that junior center Shawn Daniels was wearing a boot on Tuesday, and his status for Saturday is unclear. Against Colorado State, senior Keenan Stevens was in for 48 snaps; Daniels in for 12.
While not on the injury list, defensive tackle Nate Bonsu has been ticketed for a red-shirt this fall. Bonsu played in all 12 games in 2009 as a true freshman, and was in on 184 snaps overall. Bonsu has been recovering from off-season knee surgery, and it has been decided that he will not be fully ready to play this season, so it would be better to utilize his available red-shirt season in 2010. Another possible red-shirt is junior offensive lineman Eric Richter. A junior college transfer, Richter has three seasons to play two, and will still have two seasons to play in Boulder.
Fun with Numbers – NCAA
After the first weekend of college football, the numbers are always skewed. Of course, this makes them all the more interesting …
Hawaii, which lost to USC, 49-36, in the opener, leads the nation with a total of 459 yards passing (the 588 total yards offense is almost double what Colorado put up on Colorado State). That number should come down this week, as the Warriors travel across the continent to face Army, which just happens to be second in the nation (after week one, anyway) in pass defense (having surrendered only 31 yards passing in a 31-27 win over Eastern Michigan). We’ll check in on the Buffs’ third opponent again in a week or so …
The Buffs’ opponent this weekend, Cal, leads the nation in total defense, having given up only 31 yards of offense to Cal-Davis. The Golden Bears are 3rd in rushing defense, and 6th in pass defense, but it was just the Cal-Davis Aggies, after all. Cal also is tied for the nation’s lead in sacks allowed, having given up zero to the Aggies in the 52-3 thumping.
Other national leaders of note …
Oregon leads the nation in total offense (720 yards) and scoring (72 points) after routing New Mexico, 72-0;
Kent State from the MAC is No. 1 in rushing defense, giving up a negative 65 yards rushing to Murray State. It didn’t hurt that the Golden Flashes sacked the Racers’ starting quarterback five times in the 41-10 rout; and
Another team from the MAC, Ohio, leads the nation in pass defense, having given up exactly zero yards to Wofford in the Bobcats 33-10 win over the Terriers. Wofford attempted all of four passes on the afternoon (though the Terriers did scurry along for 220 yards on the ground).
Colorado, you ask? Okay, I’ll give you a few numbers, but you’ll have to wait until Wednesday for this week’s “T.I.P.S.”, when we really get into the statistics …
The Buffs are first in the Big 12 in scoring defense, and tied for 11th nationally, after giving up only a field goal to Colorado State;
Colorado is also tied for the Big 12 lead in sacks, with three (good enough for a tie for 16th nationally); and
The Buffs are 2nd in the conference in rush defense (49 yards surrendered), behind only Texas A&M (31 yards). (At the end of the third quarter, the Buffs had given up only 20 yards of rushing to the Rams) …
Fun with Numbers – Offensive Line
There are a number of Colorado fans who are questioning the logic of Buff offensive line coach Denver Johnson – myself included.
Johnson did not find a starting five in spring ball, and he couldn’t find a starting five after fall practice. Instead, Johnson indicated that he would be shuttling in players, hoping to find the right combinations.
Against Colorado State, two offensive linemen were in for every snap, left tackle Nate Solder and right guard Ryan Miller. Otherwise, the other three positions each had a pair of players see action.
At center, senior Keenan Stevens was in for 48 plays; junior Shawn Daniels 12;
At right tackle, red-shirt freshman David Bakhtiari saw action on 47 snaps; sophomore Bryce Givens 13; and
At left guard, junior Mike Iltis, with 35 plays, was in for slightly more plays than fellow junior, Ethan Adkins (25).
The offensive line was successful for the most part, paving the way for 115 rushing yards and allowing only two sacks. The line did not have a holding penalty, but there were four penalties called on the line overall (one each on Adkins, Bakhtiari, Solder, and Stevens).
Nate Solder graded out at 96%, posting 18 finishes/knockdown blocks. How good was the effort? The other seven linemen had 23 such plays … combined.
Parker Orms lost for all of 2010
Red-shirt freshman nickel back Parker Orms, one of the stars of spring ball and fall camp, was expected to be one of the best players in the Buffs’ defensive backfield in 2010.
He now will have to wait until 2011.
Orms tore his ACL in the first quarter of the game against Colorado State, and will be lost for the year. As Orms only played one quarter of one game, he will be eligible to apply for a medical red-shirt, and play four full years at Colorado. “It’s pretty disappointing,” said Orms of his injury. “It went from the best day of my career to the worst in one second. It hurts, but we got the win, and I still have a big career ahead of me.”
Orms was on punt coverage when his injury occurred. “I played the first series, and we had to punt so I was on the punt team,” said Orms, “so I ran down and I thought I was going to make the tackle, and my knee went one way and my leg went the other.” Orms was replaced for the most part by Travis Sandersfeld, who had an interception against the Rams. “That is what I said from the start of the year,” said Sandersfeld of his ability to step up and replace Orms. “At every position, we feel like we have depth. Even on special teams, I usually play all of them, and we felt comfortable getting (me) off and putting someone else on there.”
The Colorado secondary, considered a strength of the team, is getting short on bodies, however. Orms joins safety Vince Ewing on the lost-for-the-season list. On the depth chart, red-shirt and true freshman are listed as the primary backups. And there are still 11 – perhaps 12 – games left to the 2010 season …
Buff fans looking to “Black Out” Berkeley
Somewhere, Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn is smiling.
One of the reasons given for Colorado changing conferences was that the Buffs might actually travel better to locations in Pac-12 country. Colorado alumni are far more numerous in California, Arizona, and the Pacific Northwest than in any Big 12 state. As a result, the logic went, the move would bring more Buff fans to road games.
Colorado announced that the Buffs are expecting a minimum of 7,000 fans to attend Saturday’s game against California. For most Big 12 games, the Buffs are hard pressed to fill their 3,000 – 5,000 ticket allotment. “It’s going to definitely boost our morale just because we have so many people behind us,” said defensive lineman Josh Hartigan. “It’s going to help us want to come out a lot faster and a lot harder, just because all those fans came and traveled that way for us.”
So as to make sure that the Golden Bears are aware that the Buff Nation has made its way to Memorial Stadium, a “Black out” is being organized by some of the fans going to the game.
It certainly sounds as if the Buffs, regardless of how play transpires on the field, are going to make an impression upon a new rival in the Big 12. Colorado, which has always had a poor reputation when it comes to traveling, might start to reverse that trend.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the destination for Buff fans is the San Francisco area, not the Stillwater area …