Colorado v. Oregon State – A Preview … “T.I.P.S.” for Parents’ Weekend in Boulder

What a difference a month makes.

Four weeks ago, there was hand-wringing over whether the Buffs would be able … with memories of the season-opening debacle against Hawai’i the year before still fresh … to take down a mediocre Colorado State team

Four weeks ago, most Buff fans would have taken in a heartbeat a 2-2 September start, with wins over CSU and Idaho State, coupled with the inevitable road losses to Michigan and Oregon.

Four weeks ago, the Oregon State was seen as a pivotal game in the 2016 calendar, with a win over the Beavers seen as a must-win if the Buffs were going to hold any realistic hope of making a bowl appearance for the first time since 2007.

And now …

The Oregon State game is still seen as a “must-win”, but now it’s a must-win for purposes of keeping momentum going, not to try and find a way to get halfway to a bowl bid.

The Buffs are a 16.5-point favorite over the Beavers.

Let that one sink in for a moment.

Colorado … a team with a 6-40 all-time record in Pac-12 play … a monster favorite over a league rival.

How big a deal? Well, it’s the first time CU has been a double-digit favorite over a Power-Five conference opponent since 2005 (ironically enough, that opponent was Nebraska).

We’ll see how it goes this Saturday (it’s a “White Out”, by the way, so remember to wear white to the game).

Here are this week’s “T.I.P.S.” for CU v. Oregon State … Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

 

T – Talent 

Last Saturday, the Oregon State game against Boise State kicked off two hours before the start of the Colorado/Oregon game.

The first half was in the books before the Buffs’ game began, and any CU fan paying attention to the contest in Corvallis had to feel pretty comfortable about the Buffs’ chances against the Beavers.

Halftime score: Boise State 31, Oregon State 7.

Bronco running back Jeremy McNichols ran over, around and through the Beaver defense, rushing for 146 yards and scoring four touchdowns in the first half alone. Total offense in the first half: Boise State, 435; Oregon State, 67.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the rout … the Beavers came out to play in the second half.

Not only did Oregon State play better, but the Beavers played better with a walk-on freshman behind center. OSU starting quarterback Darell Garretson was 11-of-16 for 53 yards in the first half, but was benched in favor of Conor Blount. The freshman walk-on gave the Beavers a spark, as Oregon State scored 10 third-quarter points to cut the deficit to 31-17, with both teams scoring non-offensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 38-24 final.

Now, just as is the case in Boulder, there are questions as to who will be the quarterback come Saturday.

Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen says his usual starter will be the starter this weekend … if he is healthy.

“Conor can bring some things to the offense with his legs. He did some nice things. I’m not afraid to give freshmen an opportunity,” Andersen said. “But when Darrel is healthy, he’s the starting quarterback. There’s no debate about that.”

As will be the case with Sefo Liufau come Saturday afternoon … healthy will be in the eyes of the beholder (as the announcers for the Oregon State/Boise State game could not identify when it was that starting quarterback Darell Garretson actually got hurt in the first half. The sentiment was that Garretson was pulled for ineffective play, not due to injury).

Whoever quarterbacks the Beavers will have a modicum of talent to work with. Wide receiver Victor Bolden, who had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Boise State, also has had a 92-yard touchdown run this season (Bolden just happens to be leading the nation in kickoff return average, at over 40 yards per).

Another receiver of note is Seth Collins, who had nine catches for 106 yards against Boise State. The Oregon State rushing “attack”, ranked 94th in the nation (143.7 ypg.) is led by Ryan Nall, who has rushed for 176 yards and three of Oregon State’s five rushing touchdowns so far this year.

The Beaver defense – the first half against Boise State notwithstanding – is decent. Oregon State is ranked 63rd in total defense (385.0 ypg.) and 56th in scoring defense (25.0 ppg., just behind Colorado, at 24.3 ppg.).

Bottom line … the Colorado offense should be able to score against the Oregon State defense, and the Buff defense should be able to contain the Beaver offense.

Emphasis, as always, in college football, is on the word “should“.

 

I – Intangibles

Intangibles usually favor the underdog, and this week is no different.

Colorado is riding high after its defeat of Oregon, but Oregon State, despite its double-digit loss to Boise State, comes to Boulder with a dash of momentum.

The Beavers out-scored the Broncos, 17-7, in the final two quarters, with the only Boise State score coming by way of a fumble returned for a touchdown.

Heading into their first Pac-12 game, the Beavers believe they may now have it all figured out.

“There’s going to be some dogfights,” safety Devin Chappell said. “If we want to win, we have to come ready to play for 60 minutes every single game. As our leaders, we’re going to get that message across to everybody. We’re going to get it done and we’re going to get it handled.”

On the Buff sideline, one might be tempted to see the potential for a letdown game against Oregon State. The Buffs beat Oregon State last year, and now have the Beavers sandwiched between road games against hated rivals Oregon and USC.

“We just wanted to push things and step it up. We beat Oregon State last year, but this was beating Oregon,” said wide receiver Bryce Bobo right after the win over the Ducks. “We wanted to make a statement.”

Translation: Beating Oregon is a “statement” … beating Oregon State is not.

Fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years ago – this would have been considered a “trap” game for the Buffs.

A home game against a last place team sandwiched between road games against two national powers?

A game ripe for a let down.

I don’t see there being any let up, however. Not this team.

These Buffs have lost too many games to just assume they are going to beat anybody.

They still have so much to prove.

 

P – Preparation/Schedule

Teams like Alabama,USC, Wisconsin and LSU get paid millions to open up their season in Jerry’s World and Lambeau Field.

Teams like Colorado and Oregon State get to play when the networks decide they can squeeze them in.

For Colorado, the non-conference included a one-and-done, $1.4 million play-for-pay game in Ann Arbor.

For Oregon State, the non-conference slate was even more unusual.

The Beavers opened their season on Thursday, September 1st, on the road against Minnesota. The following weekend was a bye weekend for the Beavers, leaving a gap of 16 days before Oregon State played its home opener against Idaho State.

How odd was the Oregon State non-conference calendar? Well, let’s put it this way. After Oregon State left Minneapolis upon falling to the Golden Gophers, the University of Colorado played three games before the Beavers took to the field again.

The Buffs played CSU on September 2nd, then home against Idaho State on September 10th, then on the road (in the eastern time zone) against Michigan on September 17th, hours before Oregon State took on Idaho State.

Now the Beavers are on an 11-week run without a bye, a tough task for a team still trying to find its way (ask the Buffs, who played 13 straight weeks last season).

The Colorado game is the Pac-12 opener for Oregon State. The Beavers haven’t won a game against a Pac-12 opponent since beating Arizona State in November, 2014.

The last road win of any kind for the Beavers came almost two years ago.

It was a Pac-12 conference game …

… a 36-31 win over Colorado in Boulder.

 

S – Statistics

The last two games, the Buffs have given up 45 and 38 points, with Michigan and Oregon going for 397 and 508 total yards, respectively.

Still, one-third of the way through the 2016 regular season, Colorado continues to maintain positive numbers in the most important statistical categories:

— Total offense … 523.3 ypg. … 15th nationally

— Scoring offense … 42.3 ppg. … 23rd nationally

— Total defense … 306.5 ypg. … 18th nationally

— Scoring defense … 24.3 ppg. … 54th nationally

A few other numbers worth noting … 

— Colorado has been in the lead for 187:28 of game clock so far this season (behind 36:58; tied 15:34). In four games this fall , the Buffs have already spent more time in the lead than in the four of the five seasons Colorado has played in the Pac-12;

— Colorado has attempted 130 passes, almost identical to the 134 attempted by its opponents. The Buffs, though, have thrown for almost twice as many yards … 1247 yards to 652 for the opposition (9.59 yards per attempt, to 4.87 yards for the opponents);

— There was concern heading into the season about the Buffs’ ability to convert in the red zone. In 2015, the Colorado offense had 39 scores in 53 attempts in the red zone (73.5%). So far this season, the Buffs have scored 21 of 23 trips into the red zone (91.3% … ranked 34th nationally).

 

Prediction … I almost wish I hadn’t watched the first half of the Oregon State game against Boise State. The 31-7 romp gave me a false sense of security – a confidence which took a hit after the Beavers started playing better in the second half. I don’t like the fact that the Beavers didn’t quit … good for them, but a cause for nervousness for Buff fans.

I’m also not crazy about the fact that the last time Oregon State won a road game, it was in Boulder.

Still, the Oregon State lineup is the weakest Colorado will face the rest of the season. There are problems along the offensive line for the Beavers, leaving them with a weak running game and a quarterback (whichever one plays) running for their lives (13 sacks through three games). The Beaver defense was susceptible to Boise State’s varied offense, and gave up big plays when the game was still in doubt.

This could be a game in which Phillip Lindsay (assuming he gets more than the 13 carries he’s been averaging per game) gets over the 100-yard barrier. The Buffs could have one – or more – receivers go over the century mark as well.

I hate to say that I am confident about this game, as I don’t want to jinx anything. But … this is a game the Buffs should win.

The Buffs are favored by 16.5 points.

The teams have one common opponent … Colorado beat Idaho State 56-7; Oregon State beat Idaho State 37-7.

A difference of 19 points.

Sounds about right.

… Colorado 40, Oregon State 21. 

 

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Program Note … If you can’t get enough of your Buffs, remember to follow me on Twitter – @cuatthegame1. You can also get on my email update list (preview updates on Wednesday or Thursday; review email update on Sundays). It’s free and I won’t try and sell you anything or sell your email address to anyone else. Just drop me note at cuatthegame@gmail.com, and I’ll put your name on the list! …

 

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28 Replies to “Oregon State – A Preview”

  1. Yes, perhaps a little nervous. Been a while since the Buffs and the Buff fans have been in this position. Freshman were like 6 years old or so.

    Coaches have to have the players ready. Players need to be ready. Can not come out slow or listless. Don’t need know Hawaii repeat now or ever again.

    Don’t want to see crying for the wrong reasons.

    Players make plays. Coaches give the players the tools to make the plays.

    Players win games. Coaches give the players the tools to win the games.

    4th year. 1st quarter done. Roll Buffs………….into the Future.

  2. As always Stuart great preview and web site !!

    Can’t hardly wait to watch the BUFFS move on and forward to another victory.

    CU 49 OSU 26

    GO BUFFS !!!!!

  3. they need to play the beavers and not look ahead . OSU is a fair pac 12 team and can beat them if they start looking past to the next team ,but this is nice to be in this position

  4. From the kiz

    Kiz: I am told that CU defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is a football genius. How would you describe him?

    Tupou: He brings a lot of passion to every practice. He’s really intense with us. And he keeps it straightforward. If we mess up, he tells us we mess up. And if we’re good, he tells us we’re good. There’s nothing lost between the lines.

    Kiz: The NFL has you on the radar. Your draft stock is rising. Are you good enough to play on Sundays?

    Tupou: All I know is Saturday we have a game against Oregon State.

    Buffalo Up

    1. Kiz is a lowlife scumbag. Just one more example using that interview.

      Kiz: Football players have started a nationwide discussion about the troubling relationship between police and people of color in the United States. Growing up in California, what were you taught about how to view the police?

      Tupou: I don’t want to speak on that topic.

      Why would he try to stir this issue up? Because he’s a bottom feeding hack who is desperately trying to keep a paycheck going by stirring up trouble. Beats working hard to performing the function of a competent sports journalist. If he wonders why newspapers are failing, it’s because of sophomoric writing like his.

      WarBuff: Kiz, why would you ask someone this stupid question?

      Kiz: Because I’m a bottom feeding troll that is hoping to trap an athlete into saying something that might make ME famous.

      Congratulations to Tupou for showing restraint, discretion, and maturity.

      1. Normally, I don’t allow posts with personal attacks … but in this case it’s justified.
        I came to the same conclusion from the article – Kizla wanted to remind everyone that Tupou was an alleged criminal, with the not-so-subtle jab at the Buffs’ success (they’re winning, but with the same “criminal element” which fueled the McCartney resurgence).

        Agree that Tupou did a very good job with the responses. Never took the bait.

        1. No need to post this response Stuart.
          I just wanted to leave you a quick message. I wasn’t sure if you would post my reaction to Kiz’ article or not. I was pretty angry with him after having read it, but hopefully toned down the response. I believe you have seen enough of my posts to know that I don’t attack people personally, and I know you have made it clear that you don’t permit those comments to be posted. I couldn’t believe what he was baiting Tupou into discussing. I was proud that Josh responded as he did.
          You do a great job, and your efforts are highly appreciated.

        2. Just wanted to note for the record that Josh Tupou was not even charged, much less convicted in connection with the hill incident.

          Agree with all the comments that he responded to Kiz’s muckraking with class. Makes you want to cheer for the kid even more. Go Buffs!

        3. I agree with everyone’s assessment of Tupo handling this with class and style. Ironically there is a big article in this week’s Westword about the Denver Post and the way it is being run by their parent company which explains to me why Kizla does what he does (and not just to the Buffs, all the sports teams in Colorado). To me he has always been a jerk especially about the Buffs but this attempted personal attack of Tupo is over the line. Maybe the DP should save some money and eliminate his salary.

      2. I want to offer my respect to Topuo for his response as well. Great job not answering a question you were not prepared to talk to but could be damaging to yourself and your team. Shows maturity.

      3. I think Tupou’s response to that ridiculous question demonstrates this team is more mature than past teams and focused on one thing…winning football games…more importantly beating OSU!

        I’m proud that he didn’t take the bait…GO BUFFS!

        1. Brings back really bad memories of 1989-1990, when the attack was exactly the same: “Yeah, McCartney’s winning in Boulder, but with criminals.” What Buff fan could ever forget the Sports Illustrated article that showed the Buffs lineup as if they were mug shots? And all of the kerfuffles that seemed to blow up here and there every week: Bienemy getting arrested for shoving a guy, and on and on and on. There just seem to be people out there who like nothing better than to stir up trouble….the irony being, of course, that for the most part the Buffs have been squeaky clean, especially compared to so many other programs (remember when Miami was PROUD to be seen as criminals? Remember when Lawrence Phillips got to play because Osborne wanted a championship more than he wanted justice? Criminy, the Buffs are solid citizens compared to that nonsense).

  5. Year 4. The year of Mac1. Mac2 and year 4. A marriage made in Colorado.

    Why is the defense so good?

    Why is the offense so good?

    Why are the Special teams so mediocre?

    There is a dream out there.

    Can’t wait.

    Buffs win. 44 to 17

    Buffalo UP

  6. The Beavers scored 23 against Minn and 24 against BSU, if the Buffs defense plays as well they should hold the Beavers to around 14-21 points.

    The Buffs offense should be able to put up better numbers then against Oregon too, so maybe 44-56 points.

    Prediction, Buffs take care of business at home, Buffs 52-17.

    1. I ‘have the opportunity’ to see the Beavers every week, due to family. I really believe that Andersen will get their program into being a solid PAC 12 program. This years team reminds me more of the Buff’s in 14 than last years squad. They have scattered talent in the Junior and Senior class, but the real depth is all sophomore and freshman talent.

      What I believe is really going to be the telling factor is time of possession.

      OSU’s O can be stopped by a good D and imo the Buff’s D is far better than either Minn. or BSU. Not only that but if we put 3TD’s on them early, it will not only affect their Defense moral but how their O will need to respond; as it is hard to grind it out with running when the score keeps getting away from you. AS BUFF’s We have some recent history with this type of game.

      As a team, I think OSU will look very familiar 2 years from NOW.

  7. CU v OSU, will always be an interesting venture in our house. As my wife and all three of my step-children and our grand-kids are staunch OSU supporters including a member of her extended family has been a part of the Oregon State University Administration.

    My support for CU has to this point not been an issue, if we now make this 2 in a row and quite possibly the 32 point spread I am predicting, that congeniality may be sorely tested. CU 45 – OSU 13

    CU’s offense is better than I expected and it can put 45pts+ on this OSU D. Cu’s is as advertised and they can hold this OSU Offense to 13pts.

    Post Script: Our household rivalry will probably never match the tension I have experienced in Carol’s family, she is from SoCal, her father a SC grad with both of his brothers holding UCLA degrees.

    1. My wife is a CSU grad. I have found that the best way to approach it is to smile, give her a hug and make sure she understands that every other week you are also a fan, but this week she needs to understand it should all be over shortly and you just can’t stop the weight of history.

  8. Yo Stuart,
    Nice write up. I can’t believe after the hole that the Buffs have climbed out of that they would come into this game feeling overconfident. The climb has been too long and too hard.

    That being said, any team in the Pac-12 can beat any other on any give Saturday.

    Also, the reports of Oregon’s demise have been greatly overestimated. The Ducks are a very good team, but this year the Buffs are better. Remember last year? Everyone wrote off Oregon after they were destroyed at home by Utah in the 4th game of the season. Everything that could have gone wrong in that game did go wrong. What did the do after being written off? The ended the regular season with six straight wins over the likes of USC, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

    The Buffs need to be ready for the Beavers, and every other Pac-12 foe. Let’s not forget that last week the Buffs were the big underdog and nobody around the country gave CU a chance in Eugene. I’m betting that Mac and his staff will not let that happen and have the guys fired up.

    I’m hoping for a big win, but I will settle for solid fundamental football and a win of any type. A loss will make the Oregon win meaningless.

    Go Buffs!

    Mark
    Boulderdevil

    1. I’m with Mark 100%. The “era of good feeling” that the Buffs have experienced thus far this season would come to a crashing, abrupt halt if they lose on Saturday. The win at Oregon needs to be backed up by winning this game at home – and avoiding the inevitable letdown. I have confidence that Mac and his staff will have the Buffs ready to play, again, this week, and that October shall begin as September ended – with a Pac-12 win over an Oregon school.

      Go Buffs!

      Adam

  9. It seems like every game this season is some type of test of what this Buffs team is made of. Colorado State was a test of how well the new offense would fit in and how much work they had done over the summer. ISU a test of whether or not they could show some killer instinct and dominate whistle to whistle. Going to the Big House, they were tested on how to handle and big time opponent and last week everyone wanted to see if they could bounce back from adversity.

    Of all the tests this season, I am most anxious for Saturday’s against the Beavers. Can these Buffs tune out the sudden hype and attention, stay focused and hungry and take care of business in their house? I am excited for this week’s game, not only to have these questions answered but because after so many painful seasons this Buffs team is flat-out FUN to watch.

    Let’s go Buffs. Keep the momentum going and impress the long-list of visiting prospects. Shoulder to shoulder. Colorado 42, Oregon State 14

  10. Though I am a bit nervous about a letdown due to human nature, I feel the senior leadership will keep the team focused and not let one get away. Beavers coach is good, they fought in the second half of last game, they made adjustments, so my prediction is:

    CU 38 OSU 21

    Go Buffs!!!

    1. I agree with CJBuffCo, the senior leadership won’t let this team lose focus. To get more step closer to their goal (bowl eligibility and PAC 12 Champions) they have to beat OSU!

      I think the Buffs pull away in the second half…CU 38 OSU 21

      GO BUFFS!

  11. It’s hard not to be a little nervous about this one. Yes, our Buffs “should” pretty much crush them. 55-20 or so, with lots of second and third string guys seeing time in the 4th quarter. But? I don’t think OSU’s as bad as they were expected to be. I expect to see a heavy dose of Nall running the ball. Bolden on punt and kick returns is scary. I think the Buffs win, hopefully in smothering fashion. But, I think OSU upsets someone maybe some-two, in Pac 12 play this year. Just not our Buffs.

    Go Buffs.

  12. Oregon State is where we were 2 years ago. Let’s not give them something to speed up them getting better. Buffs stay focused, score on big plays and have the second stringers in during the 4th quarter. 51 – 10.

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