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Preseason Magazines


May 27th

Lindy’s has USC playing in the national championship game … CU fourth in the Pac-12 South

Lindy’s national rankings (and don’t forget to check out Lindy’s 2016 projections, posted below)

2. USC – We have been burned by this bet before, but we’re going all in on USC to run the table and reach the College Football Playoff.

8. Washington – So, Washington couldn’t handle Alabama in the national semi-final. It happens. Another soft schedule eases any growing pains, and sets up nicely for an 8-0 start before November.

18. Stanford – Stanford has spent only one season out of the last seven outside of the final 12 in the AP poll. So, this ranking is low. We understand. We underestimate the Cardinal at our our peril.

25. Utah – Utah’s ceiling? Well, it is the roof. The Utes won’t go zooming into the sky this season, but we like their chances to repeat a 9-4 season.

30. Washington State – Quarterback Luke Falk returns for his senior season; keep the record books handy.

32. Oregon – Senior running back Royce Freeman is a good start; Ducks could be back on offense.

38. UCLA – Quarterback Josh Rosen is star attraction, but Jim Mora hasn’t made the pieces fit.

41. Colorado – After surprising run to South title, Buffs have to fill holes on defense.

62. Oregon State – Some stability at quarterback would help, but Beavers not a bad spoiler pick.

64. Arizona – If backfield stays healthy, Cats have enough offense to sneak into a bowl.

65. Arizona State – If Devils don’t fix pass defense, it’ll be a third straight losing season.

82. California – Justin Wilcox draws first head coaching assignment at 40.

… also …

68. Colorado State – The Rams offense should be special; the defense, not so much.

128. Texas State – Mississippi State grad transfer Damian Williams takes over at quarterback.

Northern Colorado – 9th in Big Sky Conference – After back-to-back 6-5 finishes, Earnest Collins’ Bears will be younger in 2017.

Just for fun … here is Lindy’s 2016 Pac-12 projections (and results)

No. 10 Stanford … 10-3 … ranked No. 12 in final AP poll

No. 17 USC … 10-3 … ranked No. 3

No. 21 Washington … 12-2 … ranked No. 4

No. 23 UCLA … 4-8

No. 24 Oregon … 4-8

No. 26 Washington State … 8-5

No. 32 Utah … 9-4 … ranked No. 23

No. 45 Arizona State … 5-7

No. 47 Arizona … 3-9

No. 64 California … 5-7

No. 71 Colorado … 10-4 … ranked No. 17

No. 75 Oregon State … 4-8


May 26th

Street and Smith’s has Buffs going to Sun Bowl

Street and Smith’s projected finish for the Pac-12:

North Division

1. Washington

2. Stanford

3. Washington State

4. Oregon State

5. Oregon

6. California

South Division 

1. USC

2. Utah

3. Colorado


5. Arizona State

6. Arizona

Street and Smith’s Pac-12 Bowl projections

No. 4 USC … Sugar Bowl (CFP semi-final) v. No. 1 Alabama

No. 8 Washington … Fiesta Bowl v. No. 7 Penn State

No. 17 Stanford … Alamo Bowl v. No. 20 Kansas State

No. 25 Utah … Holiday Bowl v. Northwestern

Washington State … Foster Farms Bowl v. Michigan State

Colorado … Sun Bowl v. Miami

Oregon State … Las Vegas Bowl v. Boise State

… Cactus Bowl … no other Pac-12 teams – Oregon, California, Arizona State, Arizona – projected to get to six wins …


May 25th

Athlon has eight Buffs on preseason Pac-12 teams (which is only eighth-best in the conference)

From CUBuffs.com … Athlon Sports released its preseason All-Pac-12 teams Thursday and eight Colorado Buffaloes donned its lists.

Colorado, the reigning Pac-12 South Champions, ranked eighth in the league for the most players selected to Athlon’s teams, which featured a first-, second-, third- and fourth-team for offense, defense and special teams.

Among Pac-12 South Division schools, Colorado ranked fourth out of six.

Most preseason All-Pac-12 Selections by school (2016 record in parentheses):
14 – Oregon (4-8)
13 – Washington (12-2)
12 – Stanford (10-3)
11 – USC (10-3)
11 – Washington State (8-5)
9 – Arizona State (5-7)
9 – UCLA (4-8)
8 – Colorado (10-4) … Two first team; two second team; two third team; two fourth team
7 – Utah (9-4)
6 – Cal (5-7)
5 – Oregon State (4-8)
3 – Arizona (3-9)

See bios of the eight Buffs selected here

Athlon did the best in 2016 predictions

According to Stassen.com … This page ranks the accuracy of the preseason magazines’ conference predictions for 2016, by comparing them to conference finish.

Lower scores indicate more accurate predictions; the lower the score, the closer the predictions were to the actual results. Magazines are sorted by total score for all conferences, with the best predictions (lowest total scores) at the top.

Preseason magazines … 

Athlon – 137

USA Today – 144

ESPN – 146

The Sporting News – 147

Lindy’s – 148

Phil Steele – 148

Media polls – 149


May 24th 

Pac-12 the most consistently underrated Power Five conference in preseason poll

From Stassen.com … This is a table of under-/over-ratedness of conferences, calculated by summing up all of the overrated/underrated numbers for conference members for a given year.

(This is a comparison of where teams were picked to finish in the AP Top 25, and where they finished in the final poll. All unranked teams are given a ranking of “No. 26”. For example, Colorado was unranked to start the 2016 season, but finished 17th, giving CU – and the Pac-12 – a +9 for 2016).

Totals: 1993-2006

Pac-12 … +37 1/2

Big Ten … +26 1/2

ACC … – 61 1/2

Independents … – 78 1/2 (translation: Notre Dame is almost always over-rated)

SEC … – 154 1/2

Big 12 … – 181


May 22nd

Athlon releases its Top 25 – Four Pac-12 teams included

… including Oregon (4-8 in 2016) and no Colorado (10-4). Buffs still have some convincing to do … 

From Athlon Sports … Here’s Athlon’s projected top 25 teams in college football. This ranking takes into account where we think teams will finish after the national championship in January.

From the Pac-12 … 

21. Oregon

New coach Willie Taggart inherits a promising core of young talent for his first season in Eugene. Although the Ducks are coming off their first losing record since 2004, a quick rebound should be in order. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 1,936 yards and 19 touchdowns as a true freshman last fall and is surrounded by a strong supporting cast that features running back Royce Freeman and receivers Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson. The Ducks also went with a youth movement in the trenches last season and this unit is slated to return four starters from the final two-deep. Additionally, left tackle Tyrell Crosby returns after missing nearly all of 2016 due to injury. Scoring points won’t be a problem for Taggart’s team, but the defense needs to take a step forward if Oregon wants to challenge Stanford or Washington in the Pac-12 North. The good news? Taggart hired standout coordinator Jim Leavitt away from Colorado and has plenty of experience at all three levels of the defense returning for 2017. Sophomore linebacker Troy Dye is one of the Pac-12’s rising stars on defense, and the addition of Clemson graduate transfer Scott Pagano provides a boost up front. The Ducks also catch a break in scheduling by missing USC in crossover play, while Washington State and Utah visit Eugene.

17. Stanford

Stanford has been a model of consistency under coach David Shaw. The Cardinal have won at least 10 games in five out of the last six seasons. Reaching that total in 2017 is within reach, as Stanford is the biggest threat to Washington in the Pac-12 North. Some mystery surrounds the quarterback position. Quarterback Keller Chryst suffered a knee injury in the Sun Bowl win over North Carolina and is on track to return by fall practice. If Chryst suffers any setbacks, Ryan Burns has starting experience, and redshirt freshman K.J. Costello was one of the top quarterbacks in the 2016 signing class. In addition to the quarterback uncertainty, the Cardinal have to replace running back Christian McCaffrey. While McCaffrey’s all-around versatility is unlikely to be matched by one player, the running back duo of Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett should be a capable one-two punch on the ground. Trenton Irwin (37 catches) and JJ Arcega-Whiteside (15.8 ypc) are back to lead the receiving corps, while the offensive line returns four starters, including Nate Herbig and center Jesse Burkett. Solomon Thomas is a big loss for Shaw’s defense, but the secondary should be among the best in the nation with the return of cornerback Quenton Meeks and safety Justin Reid. Road trips to Washington State, Utah and USC are on tap, while Stanford hosts Oregon, UCLA and Washington next season.

5. USC

Thanks to the emergence of quarterback Sam Darnold, USC should be a playoff contender in 2017. Darnold’s play was a big reason why the Trojans showed marked improvement after starting 1-3 last season. As a redshirt freshman last year, he threw for 3,086 yards and 31 scores and added 250 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Darnold is good enough to carry this team to a Pac-12 title on his own, but the supporting cast features a likely All-Pac-12 running back in Ronald Jones, as well as a solid group of receivers. The biggest concern on offense remains up front. Standout tackles Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner expired their eligibility, and guard Damien Mama left early for the next level. Projected starters Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao are recovering from injuries but will return for the start of the season. Coordinator Clancy Pendergast proved to be one of the top assistant hires of last offseason, as USC’s defense limited opponents to 24.2 points per game despite major question marks in the front seven. Pendergast will have a solid core in place for 2017, but tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu must be replaced, and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson decided to leave early for the NFL. This unit features an All-America candidate at linebacker in junior Cameron Smith, along with rising stars Rasheem Green (DL) and Iman Marshall (CB). The schedule features its share of challenges, starting with games against Stanford and Texas in September, along with road trips to Washington State, Notre Dame and Colorado.

4. Washington

Even though Chris Petersen has to replace a few key cogs from last season’s playoff team, Washington is primed for another run at the Pac-12 title and spot among the nation’s top four teams. Quarterback Jake Browning is back after throwing for 3,430 yards and 43 scores last season, but the junior has to find a new go-to target after the departure of receiver John Ross to the NFL. Dante Pettis (53 catches) moves into the No. 1 role, while the Huskies will be counting on bigger contributions from Chico McClatcher, Ty Jones, Aaron Fuller and Quentin Pounds in the receiving corps. The one-two punch of Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman provides plenty of balance and support on offense out of the backfield, while three starters are back on a standout line. The biggest concerns for a repeat trip to the CFB Playoff rest with a defense that loses standout safety Budda Baker, cornerbacks Kevin King and Sidney Jones and lineman Elijah Qualls. However, coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski is one of the best in the nation, and this unit is anchored by standout senior linebacker Azeem Victor. Junior Vita Vea leads the way up front, while the rebuilding effort in the secondary should be minimized thanks to the emergence of cornerbacks Jordan Miller and Byron Murphy in the spring, along with the return of rising star Taylor Rapp at safety. The schedule also sets up for anotherplayoff berth. Washington does not play USC in the regular season and hosts Oregon and Washington State. A trip to Stanford on Nov. 10 is the team’s toughest road test.

Continue reading story here

Jon Wilner takes on the over/under for the Pac-12 … and takes the under on CU

From the San Jose Mercury News … The first, faint whiff of the 2017 season wafted through Pac-12 territory last week.

The source: Las Vegas.

The form: Over/under win totals (courtesy of the oddmakers at CG Technology.)

We’ll take a best-guess swing through the numbers.

Nothing wrong with a little off-season fun.

Please note that not every team was included in the CG Tech roll out: There are no totals for Arizona State, Cal and Oregon State …

Total: 7.5
Hotline pick: Under
Comment: Helluva number, 7.5 is. I strongly considered the over — the Buffs’ non-conference schedule is soft — but veered to the under because of shifting expectations. The defending division champs will get everyone’s best shot.

Continue reading story here


May 21st

247 Sports – Teams most likely to rise/most likely to fall in 2017

From 247 SportsMost likely to break out – Pac-12: UCLA 

Let the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in the 2017 class, UCLA’s Jaelan Phillips, explain the Bruins’ 4-8 season in 2016: “Mike (Fafaul) is a good quarterback, but he’s not Josh Rosen.”

Phillips provided that rationale for UCLA’s struggles in December, and the explanation still applies. The Bruins’ season spiraled out of control after Rosen’s injury Week 6 against Arizona State. UCLA was 3-2 five games into 2016 with its only losses coming in last-minute defeats to Texas A&M and Stanford. After Rosen’s injury, the Bruins went 1-6 despite a defense that ranked in the Top 20 nationally in efficiency.

Rosen, a projected Top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, will be back this year, and the Bruins return 15 starters, including nine on offense. UCLA won’t be the favorite in the Pac-12 South – that honor belongs to USC – but there’s no way they endure a second straight losing season with the team’s overall talent.

Expect the Bruins to be a Top 25 team despite a brutal schedule (road games against Memphis, Stanford, Washington, Utah and USC).

Teams set to Tumble – Pac-12: Utah

It took Utah a few years to get adjusted to the Pac-12, but the Utes have been excellent the last three seasons with a combined 28-11 record. Kyle Whittingham has his own style – the Utes are physical and mine under-recruited talent – and it’s worked.

That said, Utah returns just 11 starters and drew a brutal cross-division schedule with road games against Oregon and Washington and an early-season matchup at home with Stanford. Add in a road game with USC and a non-conference road game against BYU, and the schedule could not set up much more difficult.

Utah’s recruited well and Whittingham is among the most underrated coaches in the country, but it’s going to be tough to overcome the team’s departed talent and schedule in 2017.

Continue reading story here


May 19th

CG Technology sportsbook sets over/under for the Buffs at 7.5

From ESPN … Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology released season win totals on nearly 50 college football teams on Thursday.

Here are the opening numbers (both alphabetical and by win total number):

Alabama 10.5 -150o
Ohio State 10 -125o

Oklahoma 9.5 -145o
Florida State 9.5 -130o
Penn State 9.5 -125u
Wisconsin 9.5 -125o
USC 9.5 -135o
Washington 9.5

Other Pac-12 teams … 

Stanford 8.5 -130u
Oregon 8
Colorado 7.5 -125u
Washington State 7.5 -125o
Utah 6.5 -120o
UCLA 6 -135o
Arizona 5.5


May 18th

Athlon rates Pac-12 coaches … Mike MacIntyre in at No. 5

From Athlon Sports … This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It’s always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don’t get the assistants – only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking. Athlon’s editorial staff has voted on a ranking of coaches for all 10 conferences. Here are the results for the Pac-12:

12. Justin Wilcox, California

11. Jim Mora, UCLA

10. Clay Helton, USC

9. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

8. Todd Graham, Arizona State

7. Willie Taggart, Oregon

6.  Gary Andersen, Oregon State

5. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado  MacIntyre delivered a breakthrough season in his fourth year in Boulder. The Buffaloes finished 10-4 and No. 17 nationally last season, while also claiming the Pac-12 South title. The 10-win season equaled MacIntyre’s victory total (10) from the first three years with the program. It’s no secret MacIntyre inherited a program in need of major repair in 2013 and slow progress through the first couple of years was expected. This isn’t the first time MacIntyre has engineered a significant turnaround. From 2010-12, San Jose State went 16-21 under his watch, improving from a one-win team in 2010 to a 10-win program in the regular season in 2012.

4.  Mike Leach, Washington State

3. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

2. David Shaw, Stanford

1. Chris Petersen, Washington


May 17th

Phil Steele rates most difficult schedules

From Phil Steele … There are many ways to assess schedule strength.  The most commonly used method is to combine opponents’ records from the previous season.

… There are other ways to approximate schedule strength.  Who plays the most teams that had winning records last year? … How about who faces the most teams who made the postseason in 2016? … Opponents who finished last year in the Top 25?

Combining methods can offer useful insight as well.  For example, Louisiana Tech played seven opponents who made the postseason.  However, only TWO of them finished the year with a winning record!

FOE FOE FOE Ranked Tms W/ Foes
Rank Team WINS LOSS WIN% Tm’s Win Rec in Bowl
16 UCLA 91 64 58.71% 5 7 8
21 Utah 88 64 57.89% 4 7 7
25 Washington St 86 65 56.95% 5 6 6
32 Oregon St 86 66 56.58% 4 7 7
35 California 85 67 55.92% 4 7 7
36 Arizona St 85 68 55.56% 6 6 6
43 Oregon 83 68 54.97% 3 7 6
63 USC 80 71 52.98% 4 5 5
68 Stanford 79 72 52.32% 4 5 5
77 Arizona 77 72 51.68% 3 5 5
91 Colorado 75 74 50.34% 3 6 5
116 Washington 68 80 45.95% 3 5 4

Derek McCartney named to 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List

Press release from CUBuffs.com … Colorado senior outside linebacker Derek McCartney is one of 42 student-athletes to be named to the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has announced.

Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott IMPACT Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Founded in 2004 by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. The Lott Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

McCartney is one of 17 linebackers on the watch list. The Pac-12 Conference had the most players on the list with 10 and McCartney’s is joined by fellow league members: Koron Crump, LB, Arizona State; Porter Gustin, DE, USC; Chase Hansen, S, Utah; Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State; Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford; Cameron Saffle, DE, Cal; Cameron Smith, LB, USC; Azeem Victor, LB, Washigton; Kenny Young, LB, UCLA.

On the field, McCartney ranks in the top 40 all-time at Colorado in career sacks with 9½ in 27 games played and 25 starts. He was selected as a team captain for the Buffs in 2017. He is coming off a junior season that was cut short due to a knee injury. Before his injury in week three at No. 4 Michigan, he returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown to give CU a 14-0 lead over the Wolverines at the time.

Off the field, McCartney has received national recognition for his academic success and contributions to his community.

McCartney was named to the 2016 AFCA Good Works Team, one of just 12 Division I players honored last season, which recognizes and celebrates those who dedicate their time to bettering the community and the lives of others. McCartney is the only one of the 12 from last season’s Good Works Team who made the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List.

In the spring of 2016 he participated in CU’s “Be A Match” program that coach Mike MacIntyre started after his first year in Boulder. McCartney was a match and went through the grueling process of donating, missing the bulk of CU’s spring practices in the process. Eight months later, he was informed that his blood stem cells he donated went to a male in his 50s or 60s and that he helped save that man’s life.

He graduated in May 2016 after just three years with a degree in one of CU’s most challenging majors – Integrative Physiology – with a Pre-Med course of study at Colorado. He is now enrolled in CU’s graduate program for IPHY with plans to go to medical school after the conclusion of his football career.

Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and a distinguished group of former college football head coaches. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $1.1 million to various charities throughout the country. The 14th annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Awards will be held Dec. 10 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif. For more information on The Lott Trophy visit: www.LottImpactTrophy.org.



May 16th

PFF – Phillip Lindsay one of the best in the nation at forcing missed tackles

From Pro Football Focus

Returning FBS running backs – Most missed tackles forced v. Power-5 opponents:

1. Saquon Barkley – Penn State … 60

2. Justin Jackson – Northwestern … 51

3. Rodney Smith – Minnesota … 48

4. Phillip Lindsay – Colorado … 47

5. Royce Freeman – Oregon … 44

6. Derrius Guice – LSU … 42

7. Jordan Scarlett – Florida … 41


May 15th

The Sporting News – Phillip Lindsay one of the top 25 running backs in the nation

From The Sporting News … Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook are gone.

Which running backs will step up in their place in 2017? Fournette and McCaffrey were top 10 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. Will a running back or two follow in their footsteps this year?

The good news is the top five — which features three SEC running backs — should produce some discussion in that direction. Two Big Ten running backs round out that top five. Here is a closer look at Sporting News Top 25 running backs for 2017 …

From the Pac-12:

6. Myles Gaskin, Washington 

Gaskin’s career is marked with steady production for the defending Pac-12 champions. The lines that last two seasons are almost identical, and that’s accumulated 2,675 yards and 24 TDs at 5.8 yards per carry.

8. Ronald Jones II, USC 

Jones II has produced 2,069 yards and 20 TDs on just 330 career carries the last two seasons. It’s scary to project what he could do with a full workload. It’s all good new for Heisman hopeful Sam Darnold and the Trojans.

16. Royce Freeman, Oregon 

Injuries have side-tracked Freeman’s career, but he’s still a reliable force that first-year coach Willie Taggart will feed in 2017. Freeman needs nine rushing TDs to tie the school record set by 2010 Heisman Trophy finalist LaMichael James.

17. Bryce Love, Stanford  

Love inherits the spot left by Christian McCaffrey, but he’s more than capable of the job. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry behind McCaffrey the last two seasons and is an active pass-catcher out of the backfield. He closed last season with back-to-back 100-yard games agianst Rice and in the Sun Bowl against North Carolina.

24. Phillip Lindsay, Colorado 

Lindsay is a compact 5-foot-8, 190-pound runner who improved with each game for the Buffaloes last season, and he’ll build on that 1,252-yard, 16-TD performance in 2017.


May 13th

Spokane Spokesman-Review – Buffs not given much credit

… A hometown paper, but Washington State No. 4? Both UCLA and Oregon ahead of Colorado? … 

From Jacob Thorpe at the Spokane Spokesman-Review … Well, it’s the offseason. All the Pac-12 teams have wrapped up their spring camps and now pretty much all news will be bad news until Pac-12 Media Days in July.

So, now what? Well, it’s early, but it’s never too early to speculate about how things will play out next season. Here’s how I see the conference shaking out, based on what we saw in the spring.

1. USC

2. Washington

3. Stanford

4. Washington State – It’s going to be an interesting year for the Cougars. WSU has its best offensive line situation, running back situation, and quarterback situation since Mike Leach rode into town. But the wide receivers are unproven and the defensive linemen are undersized. Leach has built the program to consistently have a high floor, which is his primary job, but this year the ceiling might be a little lower than the last two seasons.


6. Utah

7. Oregon

8. Colorado – These are not last year’s Buffaloes. Not only does CU lose basically all of the talent from its fearsome defense, it loses the coordinator who made them fearsome in the first place. Steven Montez showed some things last year, but losing quarterback Sefo Liufau stings, too.

9. Arizona State

10. California

11. Oregon State

12. Arizona


May 12th

Massey ratings … CU an 8-4 team

From Masseyratings.com … CU is rated as the No. 31 team in the nation.

Percentage chance of winning against each opponent:

— v. Colorado State … 70%

— Texas State … 99%

— Northern Colorado … 99%

— Washington … 35%

— at UCLA … 54%

— Arizona … 86%

— at Oregon State … 60%

… at Washington State … 39%

… California … 71%

… at Arizona State … 62%

… USC … 39%

… at Utah … 40%


May 11th

Derek McCartney on All-Comeback team

From SportsOnEarth.com … As the 2017 season nears, we’ve compiled the best players at every position bouncing back from seasons partially or totally lost to year-ending injuries (plus one ineligibility ruling) on our All-Comeback Team.

— QB Josh Rosen – Utah

— RB Nick Wilson – Arizona

— OL Tyrell Crosby – Oregon

— OL Toa Lobendahn – USC

— DL Kylie Fitts – Utah

— DL/LB: Derek McCartney, Colorado. The grandson of legendary Colorado coach Bill McCartney, Derek McCartney had 11 ½ tackles for loss in 2015, but he tore his ACL last September, playing in only two games before missing the rest of Colorado’s breakthrough season. With so many key players gone from the Buffaloes defense — including tackle leader Kenneth Olugbode and sack leader Jimmie Gilbert — McCartney, voted a team captain, could return as the leader of the unit.

— LB Christian Sam – Arizona State

— LB Azeem Victor – Washington


May 10th

Jon Wilner ranks the Pac-12 quarterbacks

From The San Jose Mercury News … The Hotline typically examines Pac-12 quarterback depth on a biannual basis, with an early look in January and a preseason ranking once depth charts are set in late August.

But the fluid state of the position in 2017 — the seemingly endless combination of new coaches, impact transfers, shoulder surgeries, starting competitions and unproven backups — prompted this additional, post-spring ranking of the Quarterback Comfort Quotient.

As always, the QBCQ represents a wholly subjective, case-by-case assessment of the quality of the starter and the options available if said starter is injured or yanked for poor performance.

12. Arizona

11. Cal

10. Arizona State

9. Utah

8. Colorado (previous: 9): As the Buffs hoped, sophomore Steven Montez was efficient and commanding during spring practice. That said, he has thrown just 131 career passes and lacks a proven backup. Rookie starter and rookie backups make a fragile combination.

7. Oregon State

6. Stanford

5. Oregon


3. USC

2. Washington State

1. Washington


May 9th

Jon Wilner’s post-spring Pac-12 rankings

From the San Jose Mercury News … While the 2016 results and the emerging narrative for ’17 point to the North as the vastly stronger division next season, I’m beginning to wonder if some measure of a re-balancing is in order.

If a talent gap exists on a divisional scale, it’s hardly insurmountable. And far more teams in the South than North under-performed in ’16.

The potential for multiple bounce-back seasons in the South, therefore, would seem significant.

1. Washington

2. USC

3. Stanford

4. Colorado: Defending division champs: Handling the expectations that come with those three words could be as challenging for the Buffs as replacing the lost personnel.


6. Utah

7. Oregon

8. Washington State

9. Arizona State

10. Oregon State

11. California

12. Arizona


May 7th

Composite of post-spring Top 25 rankings … Colorado nowhere to be found

From the Sporting News … Who is the preseason No. 1? Well, that depends on who you ask. Sporting News put its post-spring Top 25 up against five other publications — ESPNBleacher Report, CBSSports.com, Fox Sports and Athlon — to see what everybody else’s preseason rankings looked like. Four publications put Alabama at No. 1, while ESPN picked Ohio State and CBS Sports took Florida State.

Six schools received top-five votes across the six sites, including Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Penn State and defending national champion Clemson. Expect that to see that group make up most projected College Football Playoff fields.

1. Alabama 147
2. Ohio State 142
3. Florida State 137
4. USC 134
5. Penn State 120
6. Clemson 119
7. Washington 111
8. Oklahoma 110
9. Oklahoma State 95
10. Auburn 92
11. Michigan 88
12. Wisconsin 80
13. LSU 76
14. Georgia 76
15. Stanford 67
16. Louisville 65
17. Kansas State 47
18. Florida 44
19. South Florida 43
20. Miami, Fla. 36
21. West Virginia 34
22. Texas 21
23. Tennessee 16
24. Oregon 14
25. Boise State 11


May 3rd

Colorado facing 18:1 odds on winning Pac-12 championship

From sportsbookag.com … Pac-12 odds of winning Pac-12:

USC – 1/1
Washington – 3/1
UCLA – 15/2 … a team which finished 4-8 in 2016
Stanford – 10/1
Oregon – 12/1 … another team which finished 4-8 in 2016
Utah – 12/1 … a team which lost eight starters to the NFL
Washington State – 14/1 … a team which suffered not two tough losses to end the 2016 season (like CU), but three tough losses to end the 2016 season … including a loss to CU
Colorado – 18/1
Arizona State – 30/1
Arizona – 80/1
California – 80/1
Oregon St – 80/1

Week One betting odds

Buffs favored by eight points over Rams 

Some Week One betting lines for Pac-12 teams, from 5Dimes.com:

— Colorado – an 8.0-point favorite over Colorado State (Denver)

— Stanford – a 33.5-point favorite over Rice (Sydney, Australia)

— Washington – a 31.5-point favorite over Rutgers (at Rutgers)

— UCLA – a 2.0-point underdog at home against Texas A&M

— Cal – a 7.5-point underdog on the road against North Carolina

Stewart Mandel has four Pac-12 teams moving up in preseason Top 25 (but CU disappears)

From FoxSports.com … We learned a lot about various teams during spring football, enough to make some tweaks to the last Top 25 I published way back in January. Alabama retained the top spot, though I seriously considered Ohio State instead.

The Pac-12 … 

No. 3 – USC … up from No. 4 in January listing

No. 6 – Washington … up from No. 7

No. 11 – Stanford … up from No. 12

No. 21 – Washington State … up from No. 23

Just missed: Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech, Utah, Notre Dame

(Preseason – No. 25 UCLA)

(Preseason – Just missed: Virginia Tech, Utah, Colorado, Notre Dame, West Virginia)

Colorado only team to drop out of ESPN’s “Way Too Early” Top 25 after spring practices

From ESPN … Ohio State has supplanted Alabama as the No. 1 team in the third edition of the 2017 Way-Too-Early Top 25. Florida State remains No. 2 and Alabama is No. 3, followed by USC, which gets the coveted fourth spot.

Every team from the Pac-12 conference dropped at least one spot from the last ESPN ranking, with Colorado, previously ranked No. 19, dropping out of the listing altogether. The Buffs were replaced by Florida, in as the No. 21 team in the nation …

The Pac-12 …

No. 4 – USC … previous ranking: No. 3

No. 9 – Washington … previous ranking: No. 7

No. 16 – Stanford … previous ranking: No. 15

No. 25 – Washington State … previous ranking: No. 21

The Sporting News updated Top 25

From The Sporting News … Spring football is in the books, and the next step toward a long summer before the 2017 season officially begins is updating our preseason college football rankings.

No. 2 – USC

No. 8 – Washington 

No. 18 – Stanford

No. 23 – Washington State



10 Responses to “Preseason Magazines”

  1. buffnaustin

    I would place Whittinham as 1-B. Put him at a higher profile team I think he would be every bit as good as Peterson.

  2. ep

    Derek McCartney. What a man and a testament to the legacy of the original Mac. Buff pride.

  3. FightFightFightClub

    I didn’t come here to talk about Lindgren. The fact that he still has a job AMAZES me. CO-offensive coordinator is extremely generous.

    I didn’t come here to talk about Leave-it. Hopefully his success was a product of his players not his system. Or at least a 50-50 split. (Unfortunately, a lot of those players are in NFL minicamps right now.)

    I didn’t come here to talk about practice. (Allen Iverson was a Nugget for a minute.)

    I came here to talk about the Colorado Buffaloes. AND the The PRIDE and TRADITION of the Colorado Buffaloes will not be entrusted to the timid or the weak! (excluding Embree and Hawkins who painted over THAT sign)

    No matter what happens things will be OK. I won’t quit. I may curse the play calls, I may drink a little more than I should and I may even claim I could have made that field goal. But I won’t leave.

    I was a fan. I am a fan. I will be a fan.

    Good times and bad. Shoulder to Shoulder. Fight Fight Fight.

  4. ep

    Another big surprise for the “pundits” coming out of Colorado next season. They dont know the Montez potential and what an athlete he is

  5. Jim B

    The Buffs have to prove last year was not a fluke. I think winning at least nine games is a must. They just need to take care of business and the rankings will come.

    GO BUFFS !!!!!

  6. ep

    I have said it before and here it is again. These writers appeal to the big fan bases and the money. They are going to sell more magazines in LA than Boulder.
    Still I worry about the coaching more than the players. Eliot is a mystery and has some giant shoes to fill.
    Will Lindgren diversify the playbook and quit beating a dead horse play time and time again?

    • VK

      Lots of hope right here in Boulder city.

      I came here to hope,

      I hope Mac2 doesn’t believe all his own bullshit. Or the clippings, or the awards received.

      I hope Mac2 learns to listen to the whole question before he starts his “know-it-all repetitive and repeated word answers”.

      I hope Mac2 continues to be emotional

      I hope Elliot is better than Leavitt.

      I hope the defensive staff is overall better than the ones who chose to leave.

      I hope “the Co=Personalities” become one. And the new one becomes dominate.

      I hope Bernardi…………Never Mind.

      I hope the Oline finally lives above its hype.

      I hope the best receivers always get to play. Not the ones who have been here the longest or have relations. But the best ones period.

      I hope the buffs win 10

      Preseason ( a bit early) prediction from THE Victor Berlin Sports Conglomerate with offices worldwide

      Colorado State…………..W……………………42-21
      Texas State……………..W……………………39-16
      Northern Colorado………..W……………………56-17
      Oregon State…………….w……………………35-20
      Washington state…………L……………………49-48
      Arizona State……………W……………………35-21


    • Buff fan

      VK – The only thing more predictable than Lindgren is your constant whining about the play calling. Don’t get me wrong, Lindgren can improve but has every year. Last year was one of the more prolific offensive output in CU history. Glass is half full, not half empty. Go Buffs

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