Getting to Know … CU’s 2015 Opponents … According to the Preseason Magazines

Getting to Know … Massachusetts Minutemen

Game Two … CU vs. UMass … Folsom Field, Saturday, September 12th, 12:00 p.m., MT (Pac-12 Networks) …

Last season, the Buffs faced an 11-point third quarter deficit before rallying for a 41-38 victory. The game essay title was too easy: “A Close Shave at Gillette“.

Here are some notes and quotes about the 2015 UMass Minuteman from the preseason magazines …

Athlon … Prediction: 2nd place finish in the east division of the Mid-American Conference, with a 6-6, 5-3 predicted record … 92nd nationally (CU No. 67) … Final analysis … UMass won just one game in each of its first two FBS seasons. Last year, it jumped up to three wins and nearly had more as a play or two might have changed the results of several games. With most of last year’s team returning, the Minutemen have a chance to take a significant step forward. It’s a critical year for UMass, which is leaving the MAC after the season for an undetermined stretch as an Independent. It’s hoped that a strong year capped by UMass’ first bowl appearance since 1972 might pique the interest of a conference willing to offer permanent membership.

Lindy’s … Prediction: 6th place finish in the east division of the Mid-American Conference … 115th nationally (CU 67th) … Primary Strengths: With all-conference candidate Blake Frohnapel back healthy, UMass boasts the MAC’s most explosive passing offense, and it should keep the team in every game. Overall, the team is one of the most experienced in the conference … Potential Problems: Replacing Jean Sifrin’s all-league production at tight end won’t be easy. Opponents will breathe easier now that he’s gone.  The defense can’t afford to allow more than 400 yards per game again.

The Sporting News … 5th place finish, Mid-American Conference east division … Bottom Line: The offense is entertaining but the lack of depth on defense means the Minutemen will have to win their fair share of shootouts to be successful.

College Football News … What to watch for on offense: Will there be a rushing attack to balance things out a bit? The passing game had to work to overcome the lack of defense – the Minutemen had to keep up in shootouts – but it would be nice if the O could control games a little more by grinding it out after keeping the ball for just over 27 minutes per game. The rushing attack only netted 1,312 yards, but it had a few nice moments tearing off 225 yards and five scores against Eastern Michigan and 196 yards and one score against Kent State. Now UMass has to average more than four yards per carry and has to be more consistent … What to watch for on defense: The pass rush has to be far better. UMass came up with just 15 sacks all season, and while the pressure stepped up over the second half of the year with nine sacks in the last five games, it still wasn’t enough. The linebacking corps did most of the heavy lifting when it came to getting behind the line, and now the ends have to do more and become more disruptive. There’s quickness and athleticism up front, but the production has to come with it.


Getting to Know … Hawai’i Warriors

Game One … CU at Hawai’i … Honolulu, Thursday, September 3rd, 11:00 p.m., MT …

Last season, the Buffs defeated the Warriors at home, 21-12, in a game I labeled “No Such Thing as a Bad ‘W’ “.

Here are some notes and quotes about the 2015 Hawai’i Warriors from the preseason magazines …

Athlon … Prediction:  5th place finish in the Mountain West West division (and no, that is not a typo) with a 3-10, 1-7 predicted record … 114th nationally (CU No. 67) … Final analysis … “This shapes up as the most talented in Norm Chow’s four seasons in the islands, but the Warriors’ shaky depth will be sorely tested in a 13-game schedule that is bereft of an open date and includes Colorado, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Boise State in the first five weeks. If they can survive that gauntlet in relative health, there is an outside shot at ending the Warriors’ streak of four consecutive losing seasons”.

Lindy’s … Prediction: 6th place, Mountain West West division … 120th nationally (CU No. 67) … Primary Strengths: “Max Wittek and Ikalka Woolsey have experience as Division 1 quarterbacks. The secondary is three-deep at safety and cornerback. New schemes on both sides of the ball could invigorate the Warriors” … Potential Problems: “On the other hand, the Warriors will have new play-callers on offense and defense for the third time in four years. There is also a new special teams coordinator. Stability and continuity are concerns after three down years under Chow, who hasn’t retained a single assistant coach from his initial 2012 staff”.

The Sporting News … Prediction: 5th place, Mountain West West division … “In three seasons, Norm Chow has gone 8-29. At most schools, that get you fired, but at Hawai’i, where resources are scarce and there has been talk of dropping football because it’s such a money-loser, there’s no funding available to buy Chow out and spend even more on a new head coach” … Bottom Line: “There aren’t enough playmakers on offense and not enough experience on defense to build off the 4-9 record of a year ago. Most likely, the Warriors will regress a bit, and the fan base will get a little more agitated”.

College Football News … What You Need To Know About The Offense: “New offensive coordinator Don Bailey will try to breathe some life into a woefully inefficient passing game with a high-octane, up-tempo attack that’s designed to keep defenses on their heels. He might have the quarterback who can run it with USC transfer Max Wittek eligible and ready to roll, and the receivers are in place to finally start to get things going. Steven Lakalaka is a talented back to balance the attack out a bit, and the line should be better – now it has to be better in pass protection after allowing 41 sacks” … What You Need To Know About The Defense: “Former SMU head coach Tom Mason takes over a D that did a nice job last season of keeping things from getting out of hand, but it has to create more big plays and has to avoid getting hit by the big pass play. The front three has to find some more options, but there’s size up front to work around. Simon Poti leads a veteran linebacking corps full of seniors, but the strength should be the secondary that gets back three starters led by safety Trayvon Henderson”.



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