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2019 Season – Week-by-Week (Realistic) Predictions – September

 

Colorado State – August 30th – Denver – 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPN

Optimist … Even with all the ups and downs over the last few seasons of the Mike MacIntyre era, there was one constant: the Buffs could handle the Rams. Colorado won five of six in the Rocky Mountain Showdown under MacIntyre, including the last four. In 2018, it was 45-13 rout, with Laviska Shenault being introduced to the nation (11 catches for 2111 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown). The Rams stumbled to a 3-9 record last season, and might have a new coach as well, if CSU could have afforded Mike Bobo’s buyout ($5.5 million). This is a warm-up game for the showdown with Nebraska in Week Two

Pessimist … There’s nothing more dangerous than a cornered animal. If Mike Bobo and his staff don’t know about their hot seat issues, they just aren’t paying attention. The Rams coaches and players understand that the tone for their 2019 season will be set in the final RMS to be played in Denver. Expect CSU to pull out all the stops in an all-out attempt to pull off an upset.

Realist … It is the first game of the Mel Tucker era, and it is reasonable to expect for there to be some mistakes as the Buffs work out the kinks of a new system. It is also reasonable to expect that a combination of new formations, trick plays, and desperate moves by the Mike Bobo staff will keep it interesting for awhile. The Buffs, though, should prevail on talent alone.

Nebraska – September 7th – Boulder – 1:30 p.m., MT, Fox

Optimist … The Buffs beat Nebraska, in Lincoln, last year. The 33-28 victory was epic, with a Montez-to-Shenault touchdown in the final minute one of the highlights of the Mike MacIntyre era. The Cornhuskers finished 4-8 last season, matching the 4-8 record from the year before. Instead of concern about the Scott Frost hire, however, there are almost universal predictions that Nebraska will not only improve in 2019, but contend for the Big Ten West division title. The thing is … this is the same team CU beat last year, with not much in the way of upgrades (certainly no more than did the Buffs), and this year’s game is in Boulder.

Pessimist … The Buffs opened the 2018 season 5-0, before limping home 0-7. Nebraska, conversely, opened 0-6, before finishing with a 4-2 record in the season half of the season. Based upon those numbers alone, you can see why pundits have the Cornhuskers on an upward projection, while having Colorado finishing last, again, in the Pac-12 South. The Cornhuskers will come to Boulder with a chip on their shoulders over the finish to the 2018 game (Adrian Martinez was intentionally injured!), and with 10,000 or so red-clad faithful to cheer them on. Las Vegas has installed the Cornhuskers as a nine-point favorite. Vegas is often wrong … but not usually by that wide a margin.

Realist … It’s easy to put too much emphasis on this game. It’s the first game in Folsom for Mel Tucker. It’s a chance for the Buffs to make a statement to the nation that the program is back. And, well, it’s freakin’ Nebraska. The two teams will meet again in 2023 and 2024, so this is not the end to the rivalry, but Buff fans would love – make that give up something close to their first born – to have bragging rights over the the Cornhuskers for the next four years. The only thing which can be said for certain in August is that there will be too much written into the result – either positive or negative – than it deserves long term.

Air Force – September 14th – Boulder – 11:00 a.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

Optimist … This isn’t the Air Force team we’ve grown used to under Troy Calhoun. The Falcons went 28-12 between 2014-16, including two 10-win seasons and a Mountain West West division title. The last two seasons, however, finished – like Colorado – at 5-7 and 5-7. Air Force only managed wins over Navy, Mountain West bottom-feeders CSU, New Mexico, and UNLV (a combined 13-36 last season), and, well, Stony Brook. The Falcons will be better in 2019 … but not that much better.

Pessimist … Yes, the Falcons lost seven games last year, but only by an average of 6.3 points. CU’s seven losses? By an average of 14.1 points per game. So, Air Force was tantalizingly close to a bowl game last season, while the Buffs faded to black. Plus, you can’t discount the fact that the Buffs will be facing an unfamiliar offense a week after facing Nebraska, while Air Force will be coming off a Week Two bye week (the Falcons take on Colgate on August 31st, then sit until their drive up to Boulder on September 14th).

Realist … Yes, it’s true that the Buffs will be facing a unique offense. Air Force was 3rd in the nation in rushing in 2018 … and 125th in passing. It will be a challenge for the CU defense, but not an insurmountable one. And, it’s definitely worth noting that there is nothing unique about the Falcon defense. Air Force was 84th in pass defense last year, and should be ripe for exploitation by the CU passing game. If the Buffs can avoid giving up time-consuming 12-play drives to the Air Force offense, this should be a victory for Colorado.

Arizona State – September 21st – Tempe

Optimist … The last time these two teams played, the Buffs prevailed, 28-21. The four-touchdown performance by Laviska Shenault proved to be the last win in 2018 for the Buffs, with 5-0 Colorado rising to No. 19 in the polls. The game was in Boulder, and the Buffs were able to take out a Sun Devil team with long-time starter Manny Wilkins at quarterback and first-round NFL draft pick N’Keal Harry at wide receiver. The Buffs will be taking on a Sun Devil team which will be coming off a tough road game in East Lansing against Michigan State.

Pessimist … While Wilkins and Harry are gone, star running back Eno Benjamin, who set a school record with 1,642 rushing yards last season, returns. Benjamin will have a veteran offensive line to run behind, and will pose a serious challenge to CU’s revamped defensive line playing their first true road game under Mel Tucker. Colorado has never beaten Arizona State in Tempe, and the 11-point loss in 2017 (31-20), was the closest the Buffs have been to a victory in the desert (average score: 46-24).

Realist … This game will be played in Tempe, Arizona, in September. Let’s try that again … Tempe, Arizona, in September. Unless the kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. or later, the weather will be a factor. The fact that this will be the first true road game of the Tucker era can’t be discounted. If the Buffs are 3-0 for this game, and the Sun Devils are 2-1 (the other ASU non-conference games are Kent State and Sacramento State), this could be a game which plays a role in how the South Division is decided. If the Buffs come in 2-1, or, heaven forbid, 1-2, this could be a make-or-break game for the Buffs before the calendar even hits October.

September Bottom Line … Last fall, Colorado opened with big wins over Colorado State and Nebraska, followed by an easy win over an out-manned New Hampshire squad. A win over UCLA to open Pac-12 play put the Buffs into the polls as the No. 21 team in the nation.

The Buffs are in position to open the 2019 season with big wins over Colorado State and Nebraska, followed by a game against an out-manned Air Force squad. A win over Arizona State to open Pac-12 … would likely put the Buffs back into the national polls.

Will it happen? Perhaps not. Nebraska and Arizona State, CU victims in 2018, are better teams in 2019. The Cornhuskers will bring momentum (and perhaps a national ranking) to Boulder, while Arizona State will be playing at home and banking on continued improvement in Year Two under Herm Edwards.

Only one thing is certain … the Buff Nation is excited to see how it unfolds …

Up Next … October games v. Arizona, Oregon, Washington State and USC (to be posted Friday), followed by a November to remember, with games against UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Utah (to be posted Sunday) …

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6 Replies to “Week-By-Week (Realistic) Predictions – September”

  1. Hey the kornkrappers finished with a run of 4 and 2 last year. Bragging rights and on to the top 25

    But two of the wins were against BeThune Cookman and Illinois. Both home games
    Other two wins beat Minnesota 53-28 and Michigan state 9-6 home games away games.

    Not bad played 7 home games and went and went 4 and 3
    Oh the road the holers were 0-5

    Can’t wait for the lil red panty boys to show up.

    They are gonna see something that they are akin to getting whipped by. (ie all the big tough big ten teams that cream corn em.

    Can’t wait.

    Buffs of the mighty

  2. I can hardly wait for the season to start. The Buffs should and will get past CSU. Nebraska……after beating them last year the way we did even softened the blow of the 7 game losing streak to finish the season. I’m still no different then I was when living in CO. I don’t care what the Broncos do as long as they beat the Raiders, and the Buffs beat the Huskers, (well actually that is an exaggeration) the year is a success though at least to defeat those two hated foes. A Wonderful,
    A Wonderful……..let’s have a little Champagne Music and Bubbles please.

    Actually when you think about the NU game they pretty much dominated CU after CU got off to the great start, particularly up front on both Defense & Offense. I think that CU is going to be better this year up front and therefore I think the NU game is a toss-up. I’m already losing sleep thinking about it, even good Rum & Tequila hasn’t helped.

    As for ASU I don’t have a clue but it sure would be nice to finally beat them in Tempe. Again if we look solid in the those first 3 games we sure should have a chance. CU all in Tempe at the Chuckbox before the game

    1. Egad man, I hope “champagne music” was tongue in cheek……as in champagne music and runzas. My father, who was a Welk fan, would have been 106 today. You aint that old I hope. My first year as a Buff fan was during the R&R evolution listening to Joplin, Slick, Hendrix, Morrison, Gibbons, Quicksilver etc.

      1. He is that old. No doubt. I heard he palled around with the Goodmans. Roady or something.

        And don’t forget the ol lyric of
        “And Bubbles was his name-ooooh”

  3. Yo Stuart,
    I wouldn’t worry about the Vegas betting line. They are not trying to predict how they would bet their own money, they are only trying to entice gamblers. The deep pocketed Fusker fans love to bet on their team. Hence, the big point spread now. It will change up and down as we get closer, and will be that way until game time.

    Some of us are fans, and support our team. Some are just trying to make money off college football and like to gamble. C’est la vie. I, for one, hope that Nebraska is very good this year. And that we beat them yet again. When Nebraska started 0-6 last year, everyone used that as a reason to discount the Buffs big win. I want the Huskers to win their Big 10 division and LOSE to Colorado. That will show the nation where the Buffaloes are headed.

    Go BUFFS!

    Mark/Golden Buffs/Boulderdevil

  4. more optimism
    CSU? puuhhleeeze. If the Buffs lose this one the program is terminally jinxed until I find that voodoo woman in the lousyiana swamp that Osborne hired and pay her more money.

    Cobs? If MM can beat them in their own house Mel should be able to beat them in Folsom. The coaching factor should make a big difference. Add to that the cobs will be under a lot of pressure not to lose and may be playing a bit scared. All those adoring farmers can get pretty ugly if things go south.

    AF. Another factor Stu didnt mention is that Mel prepared for and beat an option team handily in Georgia Tech. Of course the Dawgs had superior talent but dont the Buffs too?

    Not sure about ASU. If the games go as previously described Buffs may win again. Its on the road and will Rooney’s fear of the road outlast Mel’s mental toughness approach? I dont go with the buffet crashing pundits opinion the PAC is a pansy conference.

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