Glass half-full or glass half-empty?  First-half Buffs or second-half Buffs?

In the first half against Texas last weekend, Colorado not only hung with the #2 team in the nation, but was actually ahead. In the second half, the Buffs were out-scored 28-0, giving up three non-offensive touchdowns.

In the first half against Texas last weekend, the Buffs took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for a touchdown, later turning a red-zone turnover into a touchdown to take a 14-3 lead. In the second half, the Buffs generated 30 yards of total offense, and turned a red-zone turnover into a touchdown … for Texas.

Which team will show up this Saturday against Kansas? Certainly, the answer to that question will go a long ways towards determining whether Colorado can upset the 17th-ranked Jayhawks.

First … What will the Jayhawks bring to Folsom Field for the 5:00 kickoff? …

T – Talent

Just as the story of the Texas Longhorns begins and ends with Colt McCoy, the fate of the Kansas Jayhawks is directly related to the arm of one Todd Reesing. You remember Reesing, don’t you? He’s the same quarterback who tore off his red-shirt against Colorado in late October, 2006, to lead the Jayhawks from a 9-0 halftime deficit to a 20-13 victory. He’s the same quarterback who went 20-for-29 passing in 2007 in leading Kansas to a 19-14 win over the Buffs. He’s the same quarterback who hit 27-of-34 passes for 256 yards in last season’s 30-14 win over the Buffs.

Unfortunately for Colorado fans, Reesing is hot. Last week, he set a career-high in passing yards, with 442 yards and four touchdowns against the Cyclones. Reesing’s 13 touchdowns this season (against three interceptions), merits a pass efficiency rating which is 12th-best in the nation. His 336 yards of total offense per game is 5th-best in the country.

Yeah, that Todd Reesing.

For Reesing to be that successful, it is not surprising that the wide receivers are record-setters as well. Last week against Iowa State, senior Kerry Meier set two school records – the most receptions in a game (16 – breaking his own record of 14 set against Minnesota last season), and career receptions (167). Hot on Meier’s heels for the KU career record is junior Dezmon Briscoe, who had 12 receptions against ISU, giving him 165 for his career. This season, Meier is 4th in the nation in receptions per game; Briscoe is 2nd in the nation in receiving yards per game (129 yards per game).

The Colorado secondary had one of its best statistical games of the season last week, giving up only one long play (a 39-yard touchdown pass just before halftime). For the Buffs to be successful this weekend, the Colorado defensive backfield will need to have an exceptional game.

Of course, for a team to be undefeated, the offense needs to be balanced. Freshman running back Toben Opurum is coming off a 98-yard effort against Iowa State, and has scored at least one touchdown in each game this season.

I – Intangibles

Again, the main focus is the quarterback position. At Kansas, the “Todd Reesing for Heisman” is not officially endorsed, as head coach Mark Mangino is a “no-hype” guy. At the same time, the Jayhawk head coach is not past doing a little lobbying. Reesing “merits the right to be a part of the Heisman conversation,” said Mangino. “He’s got great leadership, he’s in control, and he can take a minus yardage play and turn it into a big gain.” Buff coaches, players and fans do not need to be reminded of this fact. In the 2007 game, a 53-yard scramble by Reesing just before halftime gave 6-0 Kansas a lead over the upset minded 4-3 Buffs.

Still, if the Buffs need a little extra incentive for Saturday, it would be to bring down the “Reesing for Heisman” campaign down a notch. The Colorado defense did a decent job – on the road – against a Heisman front-runner. They should be pumped to do an even better job against a Heisman-wannabe.

Colorado lost the chance, however, to use the quarterback position switch to bring about some good mojo heading into Saturday’s game. The announcement Sunday by CU offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau that “Tyler is our guy” has since been modified by the head coach. Two days later, head coach Dan Hawkins was saying that “everything is fluid”, going on to say that “It’s Tyler’s show; how that goes, I don’t know.”

While Dan Hawkins did say that he would not pull Hansen if he “threw an interception or two”, it was far from a full endorsement. Buff fans need look no further than last season, when Tyler Hansen had his red-shirt pulled in game seven against Kansas State, started two games, then went back to the bench. It’s hard not to believe that in Dan Hawkins’  mind, son Cody is still going to play this season.

Any chance at some real positive momentum from the announcement of the change at quarterback has been at best tempered; at worst lost altogether.

P – Preparation / Schedule

You have to give a slight edge to the Buffs here.

Not only are the Buffs coming home for the first time in four weeks, but Colorado is coming off a performance against Texas which has Buff fans encouraged. For a 1-3 team to lead the undefeated, #2 team in the nation at halftime, on the road, is an indication of what this team is capable of doing. The 28-0 shutout in the second half, with the Buffs surrendering three non-offensive touchdowns, is an indication of just how far this team has to go.

Kansas, meanwhile, is coming off a performance at home which has to give ardent Jayhawk fans pause. Kansas defeated Iowa State, 41-36, and Todd Reesing did pass for over four hundred yards and four touchdowns, but the KU defense almost let the game slip away, coming an overthrown pass in the final minute away from losing to a team which has not won a Big 12 game since 2007.

Up next – Colorado has a match-up with Kansas State. If the game was not on the road, the Buffs would likely be favored. The Wildcats were crushed by Texas Tech last weekend, 66-14. All of the sudden a win on the road for the Buffs seems a little more “doable”.  Meanwhile, Kansas returns to Lawrence to face #20 Oklahoma. It is not impossible to imagine Kansas players looking past the Buffs in anticipation of their nationally recognized showdown with the Sooners.

S – Statistics

Any chinks in the Jayhawks’ armour? How’s about this … Kansas is ranked 108th in the nation in pass defense. The Jayhawks are surrendering over 259 yards per game passing (the Buffs are ranked 64th, giving up 219 yards per game). The Jayhawks gave up two touchdowns and 293 yards passing to the Cyclones’ Austen Arnaud last Saturday. The week before, in a 35-28 win over Southern Mississippi, the KU defense surrendered 331 yards passing.

Paging Tyler Hansen … opportunity is knocking.

Want another statistic to hang your hat on? Kansas is 5-0, but none of the teams they have played currently own a winning record. Colorado is 1-4, but none of the teams they have played have a losing record.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Kansas is not as good as its 5-0 record would suggest.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Colorado is not as bad as its 1-4 record would suggest.

We’ll find out Saturday night.

One Reply to ““T.I.P.S.” for taking out Kansas”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *