POSTED: August 9, 2020

Preseason Magazines


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Preseason Magazines

Note CU, without a “splash” hire for its new head coach, will not be getting much love from the preseason prognosticators.  Expect plenty of “well, he was UCLA’s head coach over a decade ago, and wasn’t all that great then” types of comments. Even though Arizona finished behind Colorado in the 2019 standings, and even though Kevin Sumlin will be on most preseason hot seat lists, I fully expect to see CU predicted to finish last in the Pac-12 South in almost every preseason poll … 

August 9th

Sports Illustrated Top 20 includes three Pac-12 teams

From Sports Illustrated …

Playoffs … Clemson over Georgia; Alabama over Ohio State

Championship Game … Clemson over Alabama

From the Pac-12 …

No. 9 – Oregon … When you think of Oregon football, do you picture a wide-open offense blitzing downfield in flashy neon uniforms? If so, then think again. Mario Cristobal’s Southern influence has taken hold in Eugene: The Ducks are big, strong and defensive-minded, and they tap into all three of those traits after the departure of Justin Herbert. Expect more handoffs to the best backfield in the Pac-12, led by 5’9″, 205-pound C.J. Verdell, who gained 1,000 yards as both a freshman and a sophomore. He’ll operate behind a line that sustained about as much loss as any position unit in FBS (three all-conference players gone) but retains junior Outland Trophy winner Penel Sewell at left tackle.

Remember that D we mentioned? The Ducks have eight starters back from a unit that allowed only one touchdown in a five-game span last season and could have three All-Americans: sophomore end Kayvon Thibodeux, junior DB Jevon Holland and senior DL Austin Faoliu. And with a conference-only schedule, Oregon is primed for not only a second straight Pac-12 championship, but a possible playoff spot.

No. 16 – USC … Clay Helton’s survival skills are unmatched. The coach is heading into a sixth year after many predicted his dismissal after Years 4 and 5, when the Trojans went a combined 13-12. On his side this year is experience. USC has 17 starters returning, led by one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in 6’2″, 201-pound sophomore Kedon Slovis (71.9% completion rate, 3,502 yards). Helton also was able to hang on to up-and-coming offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, who runs an Air Raid system, which is a hot commodity in NFL and college circles. Helton did make a change to his defensive unit, hiring former Texas coordinator Todd Orlando, who has a plethora of talented players at his disposal, including defensive lineman Jay Tufele.

The team’s biggest question is the offensive line, which lost tackles Austin Jackson and Drew Richmond. But at least USC retains its top five rushers, including seniors Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai (a combined 24 career TD’s). At receiver, the Trojans have electric junior Amon-Ra St. Brown (137 career catches) as well as senior Tyler Vaughn (2,395 career yards).

No. 20 – Arizona State … Herm Edwards has pulled some notable desert ambushes in his first two seasons, upsetting ranked Michigan State and Utah teams in 2018 and ruining heavy favorite Oregon’s playoff bid last season. Next for the Sun Devils: to be just as tough on the road and to challenge for a Pac-12 South title – two steps they could take this season. If the schedule holds they will open in Los Angeles against what could be their prime divisional competition, USC. Arizona State will also travel to face North favorite Oregon. And don’t overlook a game at Colorado, which is 2-0 against Edwards.

With an inexperienced offense built around sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels, defense will be the calling card. Edwards and co-coordinators Marvin Lewis and Antonio Pierce bring ample NFL experience and brainpower to a unit that returns eight starters, including its top four tacklers. Last year ASU allowed its fewest points per game in a decade (22.4), and held five opponents to 14 points or fewer. The Devils’ defense also led the Pac-12 in takeaways (28) and was third nationally in fumble recoveries, with 15.

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August 6th

USA Today/Coaches Preseason Poll Released 

From USA Today … The Amway Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports is conducted weekly throughout the regular season using a panel of head coaches at FBS schools. The panel is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches who have indicated to the American Football Coaches Association their willingness to participate. Each coach submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.

RankTeamRecordPTS1stPrevChgHi/Lo
1Clemson0-0158938NR1/1
2Ohio State0-0155517NR2/2
3Alabama0-014954NR3/3
4Georgia0-013450NR4/4
5Louisiana State0-013306NR5/5
6Oklahoma0-013150NR6/6
7Penn State0-011990NR7/7
8Florida0-011760NR8/8
9Oregon0-011640NR9/9
10Notre Dame0-010120NR10/10
11Auburn0-08980NR11/11
12Wisconsin0-08870NR12/12
13Texas A&M0-08070NR13/13
14Texas0-07030NR14/14
15Michigan0-06870NR15/15
16Oklahoma State0-05240NR16/16
17Southern California0-05210NR17/17
18Minnesota0-04940NR18/18
19North Carolina0-04150NR19/19
20Utah0-02410NR20/20
21Central Florida0-02320NR21/21
22Cincinnati0-02290NR22/22
23Iowa0-02040NR23/23
24Virginia Tech0-01430NR24/24
25Iowa State0-01350NR25/25
Tennessee 111; Boise State 111; Arizona State 88; Kentucky 73; Memphis 71; Baylor 66; Washington 65; Louisville 62; Miami 58; Appalachian State 31; Navy 17; Virginia 13; Air Force 12; Mississippi State 9; Texas Christian 7; Washington State 6; Tulane 5; California 5; UL Lafayette 3; Southern Methodist 3; Nebraska 3; Stanford 2; Pittsburgh 1; Kansas State 1; Indiana 1; Duke 1.

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August 1st

Stewart Mandel (The Athletic) predicts the Pac-12 standings

From The Athletic … Will those games actually be played on time? Who knows? As of today, the four California schools aren’t permitted by their state to practice tackling, much less play an official game. But the schedule releases give us hope, and, most importantly, an excuse to start making predictions.

Here’s my first stab at the Pac-12 standings …

Pac-12 South

1. USC (8-2)

Wins: Cal, at Stanford, Colorado, at Arizona, Washington State, Arizona State, Washington

Losses: at Oregon, at Utah

Kedon Slovis and the Trojans have the pieces to win the league. But it wouldn’t be a USC season unless fan favorite Clay Helton, freed from having to play Alabama and Notre Dame, starts 6-0, rises into the Top 5 in the polls, then loses a couple down the stretch but still wins the division, leaving everyone dissatisfied.

2. Arizona State (7-3)

Wins: at Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, at Colorado, Utah, at Washington State, Oregon State

Losses: at Oregon, at USC, Cal

Herm Edwards has a rising star to build around now in sophomore QB Jayden Daniels, though the Sun Devils’ offense is going to be relying heavily on freshmen at the skill positions and transfers up front. But I could certainly see the defense taking some big strides with the direction of highly overqualified coordinator Marvin Lewis.

3. Utah (6-4)

Wins: at Washington State, at Colorado, at UCLA, Arizona, USC, Oregon

Losses: Oregon State, at Arizona State, Washington, at Cal

Utah lost a whole lot of seniors — including most of its starting defense — from last year’s breakout 11-3 team, but Kyle Whittingham just reloads with more stud D-linemen. The offense may struggle at times with a new QB (South Carolina grad transfer Jake Bentley?) and no Zack Moss. Expect the Utes to be formidable but a bit all over the map.

4. UCLA (5-5)

Wins: at Oregon State, at Washington State, Stanford, at Colorado, Arizona

Losses: USC, Utah, at Arizona State, at Washington, at Cal

Nobody’s happier about playing zero nonconference games than Chip Kelly, who’s gone 0-6 in them to date with the Bruins. (Granted, two were against Oklahoma). Provided QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson continues improving, the Bruins should finally be more consistent on offense.

5. Colorado (1-9)

Wins: at Arizona

Losses: at Oregon, Utah, at USC, at Washington, UCLA, at Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State

Head coach Karl Dorrell didn’t get hired until late February, then he lost spring practice and missed out on months of in-person time with his new players. Oh, and Colorado will be breaking in a completely inexperienced quarterback. Not an ideal formula.

6. Arizona (0-10)

Wins: None

Losses: Arizona State, at Washington, Colorado, USC, at Utah, at Oregon State, Cal, Oregon, at UCLA, at Stanford

The best-case scenario for Kevin Sumlin’s third season is that it gets canceled altogether.

Read Pac-12 North predictions here (subscription required) …

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July 29th

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Pac-12 Preview (not much faith in CU)

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Previewing the 2020 Pac-12 Football Season

Today, we’re taking a look at the 2020 PAC-12 football season and how our system rates each team.

With a host of coaching changes, quarterback changes, and game cancellations, this looks to be a dynamic season that overflows with excitement and uncertainty.

To see a complete list of rankings for all 130 FBS teams, please visit us here.

12.  Colorado    (national rank:  102)

Colorado lost a lot of its core with the loss of its head coach, starting quarterback Steven Montez, and NFL-bound receiver Leviska Shennault Jr.

Karl Dorrell is the new head coach and he brings decades of experience that includes a winning record in five years at UCLA.

Although Tyler Lytle is penciled in at quarterback, we are rating three-star 6’2”, 210-pound freshman Brendon Lewis as the Buff quarterback for 2020. Lewis had 14 scholarship offers and gives the Buffs the 17th best dual threat QB coming out of high school. He’s also known for his leadership and he gives CU a young player it can build upon.

Running back Alex Fontenot leads the return of Colorado’s top three running backs, but this group needs to get more than 4.1 yards per carry.

Despite the loss of Shenault and Tony Brown from the receiver group, K.D. Nixon and Dimitri Stanley are back and they combined for 64 receptions and nearly 800 yards. Dixon has the ability to stretch the field, which should take pressure off of the running attack.

The offensive line was less-than-average but most of it returns.

The Buff defense gave up 288 passing yards per game (123rd) and 4.5 yards per rush, so there is plenty of work to be done.

Mark Perry will lead a defensive line that was young in 2019 and is certain to be improved in 2020.

Linebackers are solid and fairly deep behind Nate Landman, who had 114 tackles.

Injuries wrecked the Buff secondary last year and if that doesn’t happen in 2020, it will prove to be better than average.

Expect Colorado’s disruption of offenses to be better although not spectacular.

Recruiting better talent will take time. Colorado was 5-7 last year. For now, I see 2-7 as optimistic.

Read full Pac-12 preview here

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July 23rd 

K.D. Nixon named to Paul Hornung Award Watch list (most versatile player)

From CUBuffs.com … Senior K.D. Nixon is one of 50 players named to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, the Louisville Sports Commission announced Thursday.  The award is presented to the most versatile player in college football.

The award began in 2010 and Nixon is the fourth CU player to earn a mention on the watch list, joining Donovan Lee (2016), George Frazier (2017) and Laviska Shenault (2019).

Nixon is returning for his senior season and has been a versatile player since his freshman season.  His 89 receptions and 1,128 receiving yards are both top 25 in CU history, and he has seven touchdowns receiving.  His 758 kick return yards (33 returns) ranks 15th in CU history.  He has also run the ball both from the various receiver position’s he’s lined up in and out of the Wildcat formation with 17 rushes for 31 yards and one touchdown.  He needs just 64 more all-purpose yards to become the 49th player in school history to reach 2,000.

His freshman season, he was also a special teams standout aside from his kick return duties, picking up the second-most special teams points on the team with 22, including leading the team with seven forced fair catches and seven times he was first downfield interrupting the play on the punt and kickoff units.   In all, he has played in 35 career games with 19 career starts.

Bleacher Report Projected AP Preseason Top 25 includes three Pac-12 teams

From Bleacher Report … Uncertainty is swirling around the status of college football in 2020, but we’re fast approaching poll season. And if the drastic measure of a cancellation isn’t made, you can expect the first edition of the Associated Press Top 25 in mid-August.

The sport itself is bound to look different. Expectations for many teams, though, are relatively unchanged since the spring.

Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State are the leading championship threats. LSU and Georgia headline the second tier, which also includes Oklahoma and Oregon, among others.

The following order is a projection of the AP’s initial Top 25 …

25. Arizona State Sun Devils

Sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels accounted for 20 touchdowns with only two interceptions last season. Between his expected improvement and an experienced defense, the Sun Devils can contend for the Pac-12 crown in 2020.

14. Oregon Ducks

Highlighted by perhaps the nation’s top secondary, Oregon returns eight starters on a defense that allowed only 16.5 points per game last year. That strength alone places the Ducks in the Pac-12 chase, so it’s a matter of the offense’s production. The Ducks need a few unproven receivers to lock down a significant role and bolster the passing game. Tyler Shough is set to replace Justin Herbert at quarterback.

13. USC Trojans

The Pac-12’s decision to target a conference-only schedule is a small victory for USC, which no longer opens 2020 against Alabama. All the pieces are seemingly in place for a Pac-12 championship run, but the constant rumbles of Clay Helton’s uncertain future will likely appear following any poor performance and every loss.

Read full projections here

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July 22nd 

College Football News ranks the Pac-12 (CU 5th in the South)

From the College Football News … This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to end up. This is only based on how good we think the Pac-12 teams are going into whatever the 2020 season is going to be.

12. Arizona Wildcats

Arizona CFN 2020 Preview

Be Excited About … the offense should be more dangerous. As long as Grant Gunnell can be steady at quarterback, the receiving corps will be in place to make the league’s third-best passing game from last year even more effective.

Be Concerned About … the defense still needs a whole lot of work. The transfer of LB Tony Fields stings from a D that finished dead last in the Pa-12 and 120th in the nation in total yards allowed and gave up 36 points per game. The line has to start finding its way into the backfield.

The Season Will Be Successful If … the Cats go bowling. It’s the third year under Kevin Sumlin without a bowl appearance, a winning season, or a win over Arizona State. Coming into the year on a seven-game losing streak, a hot start is a must.

11. Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado CFN 2020 Preview

Be Excited About … the start of the Karl Dorrell era. No, really … he’s going to be better than he’s being given credit for. Okay, so he’s not the Eric Biemiemy hire that so many Buff fans were hoping would happen, but he’ll be a steady hand who should hang around the program for a while. He takes over a defensive front that should turn into something solid at getting into the backfield, but …

Be Concerned About … it’s going to take a big change to start generating more pressure. Former head coach Mel Tucker was a defensive coach, and the Buffs still finished last in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and gave up too many big pass plays. The ends are there, and now the plays behind the line have to come.

The Season Will Be Successful If … the Buffs finish .500 or better – depending on how the conference slate looks. 5-7, 5-7, 5-7 – that has been Colorado over the last three seasons. Winning half the games or better would be a huge start for the new staff.

10. UCLA Bruins

9. Oregon State

8. Washington State

7. Cal

6. Arizona State

5. Stanford

4. Utah

3. Washington

2. USC

1. Oregon

Read full story here

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July 21st 

Phil Steele: Oregon and USC have separated themselves from the rest of the Pac-12

From 247 Sports … Oregon won the Pac-12 Conference for the first time in five years last season, but can the Ducks make it two in a row under head coach Mario Cristobal in 2020? Or will another team emerge to win the conference this fall?

In an interview with Brandon Marcello for the 247Sports Social Distance Series, renowned college football writer Phil Steele previewed the Pac-12 race for the upcoming season. He believes Oregon and USC have separated themselves from the rest of the league from a talent standpoint.

Steele credits Cristobal with changing the culture at Oregon since taking over the program, bringing a more physical brand of football to Eugene.

“I do think the two best teams talent wise are Oregon and USC,” Steele said. “Oregon, you know, you’ve thought of them 5-10 years ago was hey, they’re all this gimmicky fast-paced offense and not a lot of defense and not a lot of physicality, more speed. Well, Mario Cristobal has changed all that up.

“They’re a physical team. They can play defense. They have my No. 6 rated defensive line in the country, No. 13 set of linebackers and the best secondary in the entire country, very good on defense. Offensively, the biggest question is they lose four guys off that offensive line, but with a building block like Penei Sewell to step in there as a starting left tackle, they’re going to be good on the offensive line. Quarterback play looks good with (Tyler Shough) and (Anthony Brown). And the skill players look good as well, so they’re a talented team.”

As for the Trojans, Steele points out that there is a lot of returning talent on the roster headlined by quarterback Kedon Slovis, who is looking to build on a record-breaking true freshman season. He also notes that USC may have been better than its record indicated last season.

“USC has talent throughout. Look at a couple of USC losses last year. You know, they started their second string quarterback, his first road start and USC came up three points short at BYU. Their second loss was at Washington with a third-string quarterback making his first road start and they really had three turnovers in the red zone or that game is a lot closer than 28-14. They had a three-point loss to Notre Dame.

“Now they did lose to Oregon (after) a poor second half and then they lost Iowa in the bowl game. But I think talent wise, they’re there. Seventeen returning starters. If they can stay healthy with Kedon Slovis at quarterback, they’re a legitimate threat against Oregon. I think those are the two most talented teams.”

Continue reading story here

Nate Landman picks up another watch list: Bronco Nagurski Trophy (nation’s top defensive player)

From CUBuffs.com … Senior Nate Landman is one of 98 players nationally on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree, the Football Writers Association of America and Charlotte Touchdown Club announced Tuesday.  The award is given to the nation’s top defensive player, picked from a group of five finalists that are narrowed down after the selection of the FWAA All-America team.

Landman, who was on the watch list last season for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, becomes the first CU player to earn a mention on the watch list twice.  Landman would be the first CU player to win the award.  Beginning in 1993, CU’s lone semifinalist for the award was Matt Russell in 1996, the same year he won the Butkus Award.

This is the fourth watch list for Landman, having been named to the Butkus Award watch list on Monday and the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list last week.  In June, he was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list.   He was named third-team Preseason All-America by Phil Steele, which also named him first-team Preseason All-Pac-12 along with Athlon.

Landman is returning for his senior season and has earned various levels of All-America and All-Pac-12 honors each of the last two years.  He became just the sixth CU player to record 250 tackles in adjoining seasons (123 in 2018 and 137 in 2019), and he’s the two-time defending defensive MVP for the Buffs.

He has played in 35 career games with 24 career starts, most on the team.  He has 277 career tackles, 21st in CU history, including 25 for a loss, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions.

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July 20th

Nate Landman one of eight Pac-12 players named to Butkus Award Watch List

From The Butkus Award … Instituted in 1985, The Butkus Award is one of the elite individual honors in college football. In 2008, The Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, took stewardship of the award to fully realize the original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community while honoring the nation’s best high school, college, and professional linebackers. An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee comprised of 51 experts, including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, conduct the selection process.

Nominees from the Pac-12 (schools not represented: USC; UCLA; Arizona; Stanford):

  • Kuony Deng, Cal
  • Nate Landman, Colorado
  • Devin Lloyd, Utah
  • Hamilcar Rashed, Jr., Oregon State
  • Merlin Robertson, Arizona State
  • Isaac Slade-Matautia, Oregon
  • Joe Tryon, Washington
  • Jahad Woods, Washington State

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July 15th

Alex Fontenot named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

Press release from CUBuffs.com … Junior Alex Fontenot was one of 76 players on the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced Wednesday.  The award is presented to the nation’s top running back.

Fontenot is coming off a solid sophomore season that was him rush 185 times for 874 yards and three touchdowns while catching 27 passes for 122 yards.  Entering his junior season, Fontenot ranks 61st in career rushing yards at CU with 917 (196 carries, six touchdowns).

He earned the team’s Most Improved Offensive Player award last season and was named to the NFF/Colorado Chapter’s All-Colorado second team.  He had three 100-yard games on the season and opened the year with 19 carries for 125 yards and three touchdowns against Colorado State, earning the second-most touchdowns in a starting debut and the 13th most yards at CU.

He also had 100-yard games at Washington State (11-105) and against Washington (24-105, one touchdown).  In the game against Washington, he was at his best in the game’s final drive.  He ran the ball on the last five plays of the game, picking up 26 yards and two first downs as CU was able to run out the final 5:09 of the game to secure the win.

Fontenot is the second CU player to earn watch list recognition, joining senior Nate Landman, who was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list on Monday. Fontenot was also named preseason third-team All-Pac-12 by both Athlon and Phil Steele.

Fontenot is the first CU back to be on the watch list since Phillip Lindsay in 2016 and ’17.  Lindsay was a semifinalist in 2017.  Rashaan Salaam won the award in 1994 after becoming the fourth running back in college football history to hit the 2,000-yard mark, also winning the Heisman Trophy and Walker Camp Awards that year.  Chris Brown was the runner-up for the award in 2002 when he ran for 1,744 yards before missing the final two games of the season, leading the nation for the six weeks prior to his injury and finished third.

Stewart Mandel (The Athletic) CU preview: “Winning half or more games would be an impressive accomplishment given the circumstances”

From Stewart Mandel at The Athletic … While all of college football has been dealing with a highly unusual offseason, it’s hard to top the strangeness of Colorado’s.

A quick recap:

  • On Feb. 12, just less than a week after National Signing Day, head coach Mel Tucker left for Michigan State, more than doubling his $2.4 million salary despite leading the Buffs for just one 5-7 season.
  • On Feb. 23, Colorado AD Rick George stunned the sport in his choice to replace Tucker: Two-time former CU assistant Karl Dorrell, most recently the Miami Dolphins’ assistant head coach but known primarily for his underwhelming five-year run as the head coach of UCLA more than a decade ago.
  • On March 13, as the entire sports world began shutting down, CU canceled spring practices just three days before they were to begin. Dorrell got to meet with his new team in person just twice before everyone dispersed.

“There’s a lot of catching up to do,” said Buffs tackle Will Sherman.

Sherman, a fourth-year junior, arrived in Boulder months after then-coach Mike MacIntyre led long-suffering Colorado to a breakout 10-win season and Pac-12 championship game appearance. But the momentum quickly dissipated, and MacIntyre was fired after consecutive 5-7 seasons. Tucker was able to restore some excitement around the program, landing its highest-ranked recruiting class in three years and logging memorable home upsets of Nebraska and Washington. But his first season, too, ended in a 5-7 record.

And then, after just 14 months on the job, he was gone.

“Once Coach Tucker (left),” said Sherman, “a bunch of guys … had a talk with ourselves and the team and told each other, there’s not going to be a coach that comes in here and saves this program and takes it to a Pac-12 championship, takes us to national championship. We have to do that. We have to set a culture.”

During his 2003-07 tenure at UCLA, Dorrell engineered one 10-win season, but the others were 6-7, 6-6, 7-6 and 6-6. By his own admission, he’d stopped pursuing college head-coaching jobs at least eight years ago, focusing instead on rising up the NFL ladder.

But the 57-year-old had long maintained ties to Boulder, where he was a receivers coach under Bill McCartney in 1992-93 and offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995-98. He’s long had a home in nearby Lafayette and happened to be heading there for the weekend in late February right when associate athletic director Lance Carl — a former Buffs player and GA who overlapped with Dorrell on Neuheisel’s staff — called to gauge his interest in the job. He took it despite having just been promoted by Dolphins head coach Brian Flores a week earlier.

“I interviewed on Friday, they offered it Friday afternoon,” said Dorrell. “It was very fortuitous, I guess, the timing and everything was perfect.”

That is, until COVID-19 struck.

Dorrell was able to quickly assemble a staff, promoting receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini to offensive coordinator, retaining Tucker’s defensive coordinator Tyson Summers and hiring six new assistants. But so far, he’s only been able to watch his current players on tape, estimating he’s seen every offensive or defensive snap from Colorado’s 2019 season “two or three times.”

“Honestly,” said defensive end Mustafa Johnson, “we really didn’t get to get to know (Dorrell) well at all (before the shutdown). We literally left as soon as he came in.”

In that first team meeting in late February, though, Dorrell did get a feel for the mindset of his players.

“They said, ‘Coach, we’ve been 5-7 three years in a row.’ I said, ‘Well, how do you get off of being 5-7?’ And they said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘Well, you’ve got to work harder than what you’ve done.’ … My job is to help us to be more efficient, more productive, more better executioners in our system, so that we can be better than 5-7, so it takes work.

“There is no secret formula. We do have some experience in key areas that I think could help us. But this team has to come together and they have to buy into the new approach and philosophy of what it takes in my opinion to win.”

Final assessment

Colorado is fortunate to have veteran leaders like Nate Landman, Will Sherman and Mustafa Johnson, and is actually in fairly decent shape with at least the first string-starters at most position groups on the rosters. All told, CU returns 25 players with starting experience, and 13 full-time starters from last season.

But a lack of elite difference-makers and little-to-no quality depth have done in the Buffs during their run of three consecutive 5-7 seasons, and neither figures to change overnight. Not to mention the late timing of Dorrell’s hire, the near-immediate disruption of the pandemic and the fact he doesn’t have a single quarterback with meaningful experience on the roster has not exactly lined up for a smooth transition.

All told, it may actually work to Dorrell’s benefit that the Pac-12 has already announced it will play a shorter, conference-only schedule with a likely delayed start — at least until later in the fall. He could use all the time he can get right now to get to know his players, and for them to get to know him. Whatever number of games the Buffs end up playing, winning half or more of them for the first time in four years would be an impressive accomplishment given the circumstances.

Read full unit-by-unit preview here (subscription required) …

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July 14th

Six Buffs named to Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 teams 

From CUBuffs.com … , Phil Steele’s College Football announced it’s All-Pac-12 team.  Nate Landman was on the first team.  The other players mentioned were Alex Fontenot (third team), Brady Russell (third team), Will Sherman (fourth team), Mustafa Johnson (fourth team) and Jalen Sami (fourth team).

The National College Football Awards Association kicked off two weeks of watch list announcements with the Bednarik Award.  The remaining schedule is as follows: Davey O’Brien (July 14), Doak Walker (July 15), Biletnikoff Award (July 16), John Mackey Award (July 17), Butkus Award (July 20), Jim Thorpe Award (July 20), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (July 21), Outland Trophy (July 21), Lou Groza Award (July 22), Ray Guy Award (July 22), Paul Hornung Award (July 23), Wuerffel Trophy (July 23) and the Maxwell Award (July 24).

Senior Nate Landman was one of 91 players on the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday.  The award is given to the best defensive player in college football and kicks off two weeks of watch list announcements.

Landman, who was on the Bednarik Award watch list last season, is returning for his senior season and has earned various levels of All-America and All-Pac-12 honors each of the last two years.  He became just the sixth CU player to record 250 tackles in adjoining seasons (123 in 2018 and 137 in 2019), and he’s the two-time defending defensive MVP for the Buffs.

He has played in 35 career games with 24 career starts, most on the team.  He has 277 career tackles, 21st in CU history, including 25 for a loss, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions.

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July 9th

Pac-12 first game odds: CU/CSU a “pick ’em”

… Rocky Mountain Showdown a “pick ’em” despite CU having beaten CSU five straight years … by an average score of 37-16 … but, whatever … 

From VegasInsider.com … Pac-12 first game odds …

August 29th …

— Cal … a 22.0-point favorite on the road over UNLV

— UCLA … a 33.0-point favorite at home against New Mexico State

— Arizona … a 10.0-point favorite at home against Hawai’i

September 3rd

— Oregon State … a 17.0-point underdog on the road against Oklahoma State

— Washington … a 3.0-point favorite on the road over Utah State

— Utah … a 7.0-point favorite at home against BYU

September 5th

Colorado — a “pick ’em” on the road against Colorado State

— Cal … a 3.0-point favorite at home against TCU (Bears’ second game)

— Washington … a 1.0-point underdog at home against Michigan

— USC … a 14.0-point underdog on the road against Alabama

— UCLA … a 7.0-point favorite on the road against Hawai’i (Bruins’ second game)

(not listed are four Pac-12 games against FCS opponents … Arizona State hosting Northern Arizona; Stanford hosting William & Mary; Oregon hosting North Dakota State; and Arizona hosting Portland State)

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July 7th

ESPN FPI – CU has the 20th-most difficult schedule in the nation (2nd in the Pac-12)

From FootballScoop.com … ESPN Stats & Information has posted their 2020 Football Power Index (FPI), which includes college football strength of schedule rankings.

the ESPN FPI defines their strength of schedule as the “rank among all FBS teams of remaining schedule strength, from perspective of an average FBS team.”

According to the preseason ESPN FPI, the Maryland Terrapins have the toughest schedule for the 2020 season. South Carolina is second, and they are followed by Alabama, LSU, and Iowa.

The SEC leads the ESPN FPI strength of schedule rankings with nine teams in the Top 25. The SEC is followed by the Big Ten with eight, Big 12 with four, Pac-12 with two, and the ACC and FBS Independents with one apiece.

Below are the top 25 toughest 2020 college football schedules as ranked by the ESPN FPI, followed by 26 through 130. Keep in mind these rankings are based on computer data and are subject to change due to game cancellations.

1. Maryland
2. South Carolina
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Iowa
6. Nebraska
7. Arkansas
8. Georgia Tech
9. Ole Miss
10. USC
11. Auburn
12. Michigan
13. Notre Dame
14. Tennessee
15. Michigan State
16. Mississippi State
17. Texas
18. Georgia
19. Illinois
20. Colorado
21. West Virginia
22. Purdue
23. Baylor
24. Wisconsin
25. Kansas

26-50

(26) Penn State, (27) Indiana, (28) Iowa State, (29) Ohio State, (30) Vanderbilt, (31) Virginia, (32) Kentucky, (33) Kansas State, (34) TCU, (35) Texas A&M, (36) Northwestern, (37) Oklahoma, (38) Texas Tech, (39) Stanford, (40) Florida State, (41) Florida, (42) Oklahoma State, (43) Rutgers, (44) Oregon State, (45) Washington, (46) Oregon, (47) Wake Forest, (48) California, (49) Louisville, (50) North Carolina

51-75

(51) Boston College, (52) Arizona, (53) Minnesota, (54) Missouri, (55) NC State, (56) Arizona State, (57) Virginia Tech, (58) Kent State, (59) USF, (60) Syracuse, (61) Washington State, (62) Clemson, (63) Utah, (64) Pitt, (65) Tulsa, (66) BYU, (67) UCLA, (68) Tulane, (69) Duke, (70) Houston, (71) Miami FL, (72) Cincinnati, (73) Temple, (74) Memphis, (75) Hawaii

76-100

(76) San Jose State, (77) Buffalo, (78) East Carolina, (79) Navy, (80) Georgia State, (81) ULM, (82) UCF, (83) UTSA, (84) UNLV, (85) Arkansas State, (86) Bowling Green, (87) Utah State, (88) UConn, (89) Ball State, (90) Rice, (91) WKU, (92) New Mexico, (93) Akron, (94) South Alabama, (95) New Mexico State, (96) Appalachian State, (97) SMU, (98) UTEP, (99) UMass, (100) North Texas

101-130

(101) Georgia Southern, (102) Fresno State, (103) Southern Miss, (104) Western Michigan, (105) Colorado State, (106) Eastern Michigan, (107) Central Michigan, (108) Wyoming, (109) Army, (110) Air Force, (111) FIU, (112) Boise State, (113) Northern Illinois, (114) Middle Tennessee, (115) Florida Atlantic, (116) Troy, (117) San Diego State, (118) Coastal Carolina, (119) Liberty, (120) Charlotte, (121) Louisiana, (122) Nevada, (123) Marshall, (124) Louisiana Tech, (125) Miami OH, (126) Toledo, (127) Old Dominion, (128) Texas State, (129) Ohio, (130) UAB

 

 

 

 

—–

July 4th

Lindy’s Pac-12 national rankings – CU moving up in the South Division

From Lindy’s …

Pac-12 national rankings … 

— No. 9 … Oregon … Oregon gets some of its more daunting matchups – Ohio State, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, and USC – all at Autzen Stadium. Defend home-field, and the Ducks should high-step into the playoff

— No. 15 … USC … Kedon Slovis’ unexpected rising star should continue to ascend as USC guns its way to the third Pac-12 championship game of the Helton era – presuming the Trojans navigate a tough schedule which includes trips to Oregon and Utah

— No. 23 … Washington … Washington draws a difficult schedule in Lake’s first year. A home date with Michigan is the premier Husky appointment, but most of the marquee Pac-12 dates – Oregon, Utah, Cal, USC – are all away from Montlake. The Huskies will need to be road warriors to reach a third Pac-12 championship in five years.

— No. 25 … Arizona State … Arizona State has the second-longest Pac-12 championship game drought among any of the South’s members, and no outright titles since 1996. Daniels’ breakthrough freshman campaign builds plenty of buzz, but the Sun Devils need to steal some critical road games (USC and Oregon) to have a shot at winning the conference.

And … 

No. 29 … Utah … Kyle Whittingham’s emphasis on defense, toughness never wavers.

No. 33 … Cal … Bears’ offense is catching up with its defense. When it does, watch out.

No. 46 … Stanford … An offensive line ravaged by injury in 2019 should be back at full strength.

No. 55 … Washington State … New coach Nick Rolovich a perfect fit with WSU’s high-scoring style.

No. 62 … Colorado … Hired late, Karl Dorrell retained key staff to work with veteran roster.

No. 64 … UCLA … The O-line remains a mystery; will something click in Chip Kelly Year 3?.

No. 66 … Oregon State … Exciting offense in Jonathan Smith’s two years have made OSU competitive.

No. 81 … Arizona … Sophomore QB Grant Gunnell looks to light a fire in Kevin Sumlin’s third year.

Plus …

No. 16 … Texas A&M … We’re not sure the Aggies are ready to gig anybody near the top of the SEC West, but moving from fourth spot in the division to third spot – which means passing LSU or Auburn – isn’t impossible

No. 85 … Fresno State … Kalen DeBoer takes over from Jeff Tedford as head coach, aiming for a bowl.

No. 87 … Colorado State … Warren Jackson is another star WR for CSU as Steve Addazio debuts.

—–

July 3rd

ESPN posts its Pac-12 South preview – For CU: “Modest goals are best this year”

From ESPN … The Pac-12’s strength is in the eye of the beholder. The conference has quite obviously lacked in the “major national title contenders” department for a bit, and its resident blue blood, USC, has won just 13 games in two years. The conference has fallen far behind other power leagues in the revenue department, and there’s nothing indicating that shortfall is going to get better anytime soon.

That said, the Pac-12 was still better, on average, than the ACC last year. It might not have had a Clemson, but Pac-12 had five SP+ top-30 teams to the ACC’s two, and it had only one team below 90th, while the ACC had three. There is depth and quality here if you squint just right.

Of course, a good portion of that depth is in the North division. The South features three of the conference’s four worst-projected teams, and its national title relevance will likely depend on USC getting its act together. Ask anyone who has put money on the Trojans these past few years how they feel about those odds. And after you do so, let’s preview a division in transition.

Colorado … 

Head coach: Karl Dorrell (first year)
2019: 5-7 (3-6 in the Pac-12), 81st in SP+
2020 projection: 3-9 (2-7), 91st
Five best returning players: WR K.D. Nixon, LB Nate Landman, RT William Sherman, SS Derrion Rakestraw, NB Mark Perry

Almost without fail, a veteran coach will have a complicated résumé. You’re going to end up with some solid successes and failures to your name.

Acknowledging that, though, Karl Dorrell has quite a complicated college football résumé. He got his first coaching breakthrough as Rick Neuheisel’s offensive coordinator at Colorado and Washington and did pretty well. After a few years in the pros, he became head coach at his alma mater, UCLA, and while he fared better than UCLA has of late, he still averaged just seven wins and a No. 43 SP+ ranking. Following a few more years in the pros, he signed onto a tough gig as Vanderbilt’s offensive coordinator under Derek Mason and bombed.

With Mel Tucker unexpectedly leaving Colorado for Michigan State after signing day in February — months after saying “there’s no transfer portal in the real world,” no less — CU asked Dorrell to return to Boulder. Both he and the Buffaloes get a shot at redemption.

Perhaps due to the awkward timing of Tucker’s departure, Dorrell held a lot of Tucker’s staff in place: Longtime CU assistant Darrin Chiaverini is offensive coordinator, and Tucker hire Tyson Summers remains as defensive coordinator.

The key elements of the passing game — quarterback Steven Montez, his top two targets (second-round draft pick Laviska Shenault Jr. and Tony Brown) and his left tackle (Arlington Hambright) — are all gone.

The primary options at QB are senior Sam Noyer (41 career passes), junior Tyler Lytle (one) and incoming freshman Brendon Lewis. Whoever wins the job will have receivers K.D. Nixon and Dimitri Stanley at their disposal, and if the line holds steady after losing basically 2.5 starters, running backs Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham could provide solid efficiency.

Defensively, the bar is low. CU ranked in the defensive SP+ top 50 just once in the past decade and nose-dived from 58th to 105th last year. The Buffs were a ghastly 126th in success rate allowed. If those numbers scream “inexperience!!!” to you, you’re onto something: Of the 22 players to log at least 150 snaps, 12 were freshmen or sophomores. At least a few — nickelback Mark Perry and corner K.J. Trujillo, for instance — showed flashes of potential. Plus, blue-chip Alabama transfer Antonio Alfano might still be an option. Overall upside is unknown, but experience levels will improve, and seniors such as defensive end Mustafa Johnson, linebacker Nate Landman and safety Derrion Rakestraw are solid.

It’s going to take quite a few unexpected youth breakthroughs for this team to threaten for a bowl. SP+ projects them 91st, and the schedule features eight opponents ranked 48th or better. The Buffs will have to win every winnable game and pull at least one decent upset to get to .500. So maybe modest goals are best this year: If Dorrell can simply figure out a QB, find a new receiver or two, help Summers rebound from last year’s defensive disaster and then stay on the job in 2021, this year will have worked out all right.

Continue reading Pac-12 South previews here

—–

July 1st 

Athlon posts previews for CU’s offense and defense

From Athlon Sports

Previewing Colorado’s Offense for 2020

Dorrell has more than 30 years of experience coaching offense, and Darrin Chiaverini returns to the coordinator role. The influence of both will be evident as they develop a multiple attack. CU wants to go fast and emphasize the pass but also be effective when slowing down and utilizing the run game.

Of course, Dorrell says, “It starts with a quarterback.” That’s where not having spring practices hurts the Buffs, as they are trying to replace three-year starter Steven Montez. Junior Tyler Lytle was the top backup last year, knows the offense and the personnel and has become a leader, but he’s thrown only six career passes. True freshman Brendon Lewis is a pass-first dual threat who enrolled early and has already set quarterback weight room records. Senior Sam Noyer has the most game experience, with 41 career passes. Noyer moved to safety last year, entered the transfer portal in the winter and decided to stay when offered a chance to return to quarterback. Lytle might be the favorite to start, but the competition will be wide open.

At running back, Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham formed a good 1-2 punch last year, but true freshman Ashaad Clayton could get into the mix as well. At receiver, K.D. Nixon has a lot of versatility, Daniel Arias has star potential, Dimitri Stanley is a threat in the slot and La’Vontae Shenault, younger brother of Laviska Shenault Jr., is an exceptional talent in his own right. CU also has one of the better tight ends in the Pac-12 in junior Brady Russell.

Two starters return to the offensive line, which is developing good, young talent. The group is led by tackle William Sherman, center/guard Colby Pursell and guard Kary Kutsch.

Previewing Colorado’s Defense for 2020

Dorrell retained coordinator Tyson Summers, and that should provide continuity for a group that got better as 2019 went along.

The Buffs run a base 3-4 defense, but they’ll look to add more four-man fronts. Ends Mustafa Johnson and Terrance Lang and nose tackle Jalen Sami return as starters. CU didn’t lose anyone up front who played last year and added to the depth. A wild card is Antonio Alfano, the nation’s top recruit in the 2019 class who signed with Alabama but transferred to CU over the winter. In the spring, he was suspended for violating team rules. Alfano remained indefinitely suspended in the summer, and it’s uncertain if he will be able to return to active status on the roster for 2020. If he plays, he should make the Buffs much better up front.

The unquestioned leader is inside linebacker Nate Landman, a hard hitter who has led the team in tackles the past two years. Inside linebackers Akil Jones and Jon Van Diest and outside linebacker Carson Wells also return after starting several games last year.

In the secondary, cornerbacks Mekhi Blackmon and Chris Miller are returning from injuries and have starting experience. Corner K.J. Trujillo and safety Derrion Rakestraw were regular starters last year, and Mark Perry is an emerging playmaker at safety or the hybrid Star position. If healthy, it’s a solid group.

Continue reading story here

—–

June 29th

Lindy’s CU Preview: “An intriguing pick to shake up South race”

From Lindy’s … Dorrell is back in the college game for the first time since he was a head coach in 2007. Dorrell also returns to Colorado for his third stint with the Buffaloes, having worked alongside legendary Bill McCartney and Rick Neuheisel on teams that finished seasons ranked 16th, 13th, 8th and 5th in the nation.

Much has changed since then, with Colorado moving from the Big 12 to the Pac-12, and the Buffs fading from the national spotlight. Colorado’s run to the 2016 Pac-12 Championship game resulted in the program’s lone bowl bid since changing conferences but Dorrell inherits an experienced roster capable of ending the drought.

Nate Landman and Mustafa Johnson are two of the conference’s premier defensive talents, and Blake Stenstrom has intriguing potential at quarterback.

Karl Dorrell … “It has been a great place for me professionally … We have a good amount of success. It’s always been a fun place to be, a great place to raise a family”. 

Colorado … National rank: 62 … Good News … Key staff was retained to work with veteran roster that was competitive in 2019 … Bad News … An already inconsistent offense loses do-everything Laviska Shenault, Jr. … Our Call … A veteran Colorado team is an intriguing pick to shake up South race.

—–

June 28th

Lindy’s – CU to post best division finish since 2016

From Lindy’s …

Pac-12 Conference picks … 

North Division 

  1. Oregon – No. 9 nationally
  2. Washington – No. 23 nationally
  3. Cal – No. 33
  4. Stanford – No. 46
  5. Washington State – No. 55
  6. Oregon State – No. 66

South Division

  1. USC – No. 15 nationally
  2. Arizona State – No. 25 nationally
  3. Utah – No. 29
  4. Colorado – No. 62
  5. UCLA – No. 64
  6. Arizona – No. 81

Colorado … 

Potential Strengths … Despite having a new head coach, Colorado retains much of a staff from a team that came just a few plays away from having a much different season. Seven of the Buffs’ games were decided by a single score, including three losses. A majority of the athletes involved in those three close calls return in 2020.

Potential Problems … Offensive rhythm has eluded Colorado in each season since its conference championship appearance. Laviska Shenault’s explosiveness made up for certain deficiencies in the past two years, but the Swiss Army Knife is off to the NFL as a second-round pick.

—–

June 27th

Pac-12 coaches preview: Tough for Dorrell to sustain Tucker’s “success”

From TheGameHaus.com … Every season, a bunch of new coaches change jobs, whether by choice or not. Each situation they find themselves in now is unique. Here are the new college football coaches in new places and their situations.

The Pac-12 … 

Colorado Buffaloes- Karl Dorrell

Dorrell formerly coached at UCLA and has been an assistant in the pros. The Buffaloes had to react late in the coaching carousel market after Mel Tucker left, so Dorrell was not likely their first choice. He will however, have 15 returning starters back, which theoretically, should help them jump from five wins to bowl-eligibility. Sustaining that success will be hard for Dorrell.

Washington Huskies- Jimmy Lake

The Huskies hired from within when Chris Petersen said he had to take a break from coaching. Jimmy Lake was promoted to head coach and will have 11 returning starters back to help. The defense specifically should be good, as Lake is a defensive-minded head coach and they have seven starters back on that side of the ball. Lake will have to find some offense, but the Huskies should make a bowl game in 2020. The foundation is their for Lake to build on into the future, as Washington looks to continue to compete in the Pac-12.

Washington State Cougars- Nick Rolovich

After Mike Leach left for Mississippi State, Washington State wanted to hire a similar coach. Nick Rolovich comes in from Hawaii to keep the air raid offense alive in Pullman. Rolovich has 13 starters back (six on offense, seven on defense), so he should be able to keep the offense rolling. To replicate what Leach did will be hard. A bowl game in 2020 is possible, but after that point, Rolovich will have to show he can bring in his own recruits in the Pac-12.

—–

June 23rd

College Football News All-Pac-12 teams skewed (18-of-26) to the North division 

From College Football NewsBy school … Oregon, 6; USC, 6; Stanford, 5; Washington State, 4; Washington, 2; Colorado, 1; Utah, 1; Oregon State, 1 … No players represented: Arizona … UCLA … Arizona State … California

College Football News 2020 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team: Offense

QB – Kedon Slovis, Soph. USC

RB – Max Borghi, Jr. Washington State

RB – CJ Verdell, Jr. Oregon

WR – Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jr. USC

WR – Tyler Vaughns, Sr. USC

TE – Brant Kuithe, Jr. Utah

OT – Walker Little, Sr. Stanford

OG/OT – Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jr. USC

C – Drew Dalman, Sr. Stanford

OG – Josh Watson, Sr. Washington State

OT – Penei Sewell, Jr. Oregon

College Football News 2020 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team: Defense

DE – Thomas Booker, Jr. Stanford

DT – Levi Onwuzurike, Sr. Washington

DT – Jay Tufele, Jr. USC

DE – Kayvon Thibodeaux, Soph. Oregon

LB – Drake Jackson, Soph. USC

LB – Nate Landman, Sr. Colorado

LB – Hamilcar Rashed, Sr. Oregon State

CB – Paulson Adebo, Sr. Stanford

S – Elijah Molden, Sr. Washington

S – Jevon Holland, Jr. Oregon

CB – Thomas Graham, Sr. Oregon

College Football News 2020 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team: Special Teams

PK – Blake Mazza, Jr. Washington State

P – Oscar Draguicevich, Sr. Washington State

KR – Conor Wedington, Sr. Stanford

PR – Jevon Holland, Jr. Oregon

—–

June 22nd

The Sporting News Bowl projections: Eight Pac-12 teams will make it to the post-season

From The Sporting News … Eight Pac-12 teams will make it to bowl games (Colorado; Oregon State; UCLA; and Arizona will not) …

College football bowl predictions 2020

BowlTeams
FBC Mortgage Cure BowlUCF vs. Arkansas State
Tony the Tiger Sun BowlWashington State vs. Wake Forest
Vrbo Citrus BowlWisconsin vs Florida
Outback BowlMichigan vs. Auburn
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas BowlBaylor vs. Mississippi State
AutoZone Liberty BowlIowa State vs. Kentucky
Gasparilla BowlTulsa vs. South Carolina
Bahamas BowlCentral Michigan vs. Southern Miss
Belk BowlMichigan State vs. N.C. State
Camellia BowlKent State vs. Louisiana
Cheez-It BowlTCU vs. Florida State
Cactus BowlKansas State vs. Indiana
Cheribundi Boca Raton BowlTemple vs. FAU
Famous Idaho Potato BowlBuffalo vs. Air Force
Fenway BowlCincinnati vs. Pitt
LA BowlSan Diego State vs. Stanford
LendingTree BowlOhio vs. Georgia Southern
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces BowlWestern Kentucky vs. SMU
Military BowlNavy vs. Marshall*
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas BowlUtah vs. Ole Miss
Myrtle Beach BowlMiami (Ohio) vs. Troy
NOVA Home Loans Arizona BowlToledo vs. Utah State
New Era Pinstripe BowlIowa vs. Virginia Tech
New Mexico BowlBYU* vs. Fresno State
Quick Lane BowlWestern Michigan vs. Purdue
R+L Carriers New Orleans BowlAppalachian State vs. Louisiana Tech
Radiance Technologies Independence BowlArmy vs. Cal
Redbox BowlNebraska vs. Washington
SDCCU Holiday BowlArizona State vs. Miami
SERVPRO First Responder BowlWyoming* vs. West Virginia
SoFi Hawaii BowlHawaii vs. UAB
TaxSlayer Gator BowlLouisville vs. Tennessee
Ticket Smarter Birmingham BowlMemphis vs. Virginia
TransPerfect Music City BowlMinnesota vs. Texas A&M
Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco BowlHouston vs. FIU
Valero Alamo BowlOklahoma State vs. USC

*Denotes breaks bowl tie-in

College Football Playoff, New Year’s Day 6 predictions

DateBowlTeams
Dec. 30Goodyear Cotton BowlTexas vs. Boise State
Jan. 1Chick-Fil-A Peach BowlLSU vs. Notre Dame
Jan. 2PlayStation Fiesta BowlGeorgia vs. Oregon
Jan. 2Capital One Orange BowlNorth Carolina vs. Penn State
Jan. 1Rose Bowl Game (semifinal)Ohio State vs. Oklahoma
Jan. 1Allstate Sugar Bowl (semifinal)Clemson vs. Alabama

College Football Playoff championship prediction

Jan. 11CFP championship gameClemson vs. Ohio State

 

 

—–

June 20th

Oregon SB Nation: CU the “most likely team in the Pac-12 to make a bowl after missing one last year”

From Addicted to Quack … Colorado went 5-7 in 2019. Seven games were decided by a single score, and the Buffaloes went 4-3 in those games. They beat Washington, Nebraska, Stanford, and Arizona St, all teams that have more talented rosters, and were positioned to beat the far more talented USC before a late-game head injury to the Buffs’ QB. They lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Air Force (who hammered Wazzu in their bowl game) that kept CU from what would have been just their second bowl game in the past dozen seasons.

In my opinion, this was a team poised for a breakthrough in 2020. And then, for the second straight year, the Buffs had to replace their head coach, as Mel Tucker was hired away by Michigan St and took with him about half the staff. They’ll need to replace a four-year starting QB and three more key players who are off to the NFL.

Those challenges, combined with a global pandemic limiting practices that’s going to hurt incoming coaches more than established ones, might be too much for new HC Dorrell to overcome. But it wouldn’t take much in the way of pleasant surprises going his way for them to stay on track for that breakthrough. I can’t say it’s definitely going to happen — far too much depends on a QB choice about which we know virtually nothing — but I think it’s the most likely team in the Pac-12 to make a bowl after missing one last year.

… The make-or-break decision for CU’s offense is the quarterback. The options will probably come down to the junior #7 QB T. Lytle or the true freshman early enrollee #12 QB B. Lewis. The former has some in-game experience, though not much and it wasn’t particularly encouraging. The latter appears to be a talented high 3-star dual-threat, but without Spring ball no one has seen him take a snap in college. A run-heavy offense where the QB is only throwing maybe a third of the time might make a lot of sense for him: limit the damage an inexperienced signal-caller can do, and resemble Dorrell’s 10-win UCLA team in 2005 headlined by Maurice Jones-Drew.

… I think CU’s interior defense at all three levels should be pretty stout in 2020, and teams will instead try to attack them on the edges and down the sidelines. So in fall camp I’ll be watching the most for outside linebacker play, if they get a STAR replacement for Taylor (perhaps the aptly named #2 DB Striker), and how the corners are shaping up.

… My major prediction for Colorado last summer was that they’d improve on fundamentals, but they were likely to miss a bowl anyway because a tough schedule meant too small of a margin for error, and I think that proved true. I also concluded that the new staff, despite a few puzzling retentions, looked pretty appealing to me because it was filled with veterans who lost their previous job through no fault of their own … if anything, that turned out to be almost too accurate for the Buffs’ liking.

Read full preview here

—–

June 19th

College Football News posts game-by-game Pac-12 predictions (CU 5-7)

From College Football News

Pac-12 South Schedules, Predictions

2020 Arizona Football Schedule Prediction

2020 Record: 0-0
2020 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2020 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 2-7
2019 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2019: 4-8, 2018: 5-7
2020 Arizona Preview

Aug. 29 Hawaii W
Sept. 5 Portland State W
Sept. 12 Stanford L
Sept. 19 at Texas Tech L
Sept. 26 OPEN DATE
Oct. 3 at UCLA L
Oct. 9 Colorado W
Oct. 17 USC L
Oct. 23 at Washington L
Oct. 31 Oregon L
Nov. 7 at Utah L
Nov. 14 OPEN DATE
Nov. 21 at Oregon State L
Nov. 28 Arizona State W

2020 Arizona State Football Schedule Prediction

2020 Record: 0-0
2020 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2020 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 4-5
2019 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2019: 8-5, 2018: 7-6
2020 Arizona State Preview

Sept. 3 Northern Arizona W
Sept. 12 at UNLV W
Sept. 19 BYU W
Sept. 26 at USC L
Oct. 3 Oregon State W
Oct. 10 UCLA W
Oct. 17 OPEN DATE
Oct. 24 at Colorado L
Oct. 31 at Washington State L
Nov. 7 Cal W
Nov. 13 at Oregon L
Nov. 21 Utah W
Nov. 28 at Arizona L

2020 Colorado Football Schedule Prediction

2020 Record: 0-0
2020 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2020 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 3-6
2019 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2019: 5-7, 2018: 5-7
2020 Colorado Preview

Sept. 5 at Colorado State W
Sept. 12 Fresno State W
Sept. 19 at Texas A&M L
Sept. 26 Oregon L
Oct. 3 OPEN DATE
Oct. 9 at Arizona L
Oct. 17 UCLA W
Oct. 24 Arizona State W
Oct. 31 at USC L
Nov. 7 Washington State W
Nov. 14 at Stanford L
Nov. 21 at Washington L
Nov. 28 Utah L

2020 UCLA Football Schedule Prediction

2020 Record: 0-0
2020 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2020 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 3-6
2019 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2019: 4-8, 2018: 3-9
2020 UCLA Preview

Aug. 29 New Mexico State W
Sept. 5 at Hawaii W
Sept. 12 OPEN DATE
Sept. 19 at San Diego State W
Sept. 26 Stanford W
Oct. 3 Arizona W
Oct. 10 at Arizona State L
Oct. 17 at Colorado L
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Oct. 29 Utah L
Nov. 7 at Oregon State L
Nov. 14 Washington State W
Nov. 21 USC L
Nov. 27 at Cal L

2020 USC Football Schedule Prediction

2020 Record: 0-0
2020 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2020 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 7.2
2019 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2019: 8-5, 2018: 5-7
2020 USC Preview

Sept. 5 Alabama (in Arlington) L
Sept. 12 New Mexico W
Sept. 19 at Stanford L
Sept. 26 Arizona State W
Oct. 2 at Utah W
Oct. 10 Cal W
Oct. 17 at Arizona W
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Oct. 31 Colorado W
Nov. 7 at Oregon L
Nov. 14 Washington W
Nov. 21 at UCLA W
Nov. 28 Notre Dame W

2020 Utah Football Schedule Prediction

2020 Record: 0-0
2020 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2020 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 5-4
2019 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2019: 11-3, 2018: 9-5
2020 Utah Preview

Sept. 3 BYU W
Sept. 12 Montana State W
Sept. 19 at Wyoming W
Sept. 26 at Cal L
Oct. 2 USC L
Oct. 10 at Washington State L
Oct. 17 Washington W
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Oct. 29 at UCLA W
Nov. 7 Arizona W
Nov. 14 Oregon State W
Nov. 21 at Arizona State L
Nov. 28 at Colorado W

Read Pac-12 North Predictions here

—–

June 17th

College Football News posts its CU preview 

From College Football News

– New head coach Karl Dorrell is keeping around Darrin Chiaverini to be the offensive coordinator – after sharing the duties since 2016 – but he’s going to have a little work to do for an offense that finished ninth in the Pac-12, tenth in scoring, and was maddeningly inconsistent.

And it has to replace a whole lot of key parts, starting at quarterback with Steven Montez gone after throwing for over 2,800 yards and 17 touchdowns with ten picks in a relatively disappointing run. Now it’s going to be a fight with a whole slew of options.

6-5, 220-pound Tyler Lytle has the size, the arm, and the time around the team to step in right away, but freshman Brendon Lewis is the 6-3, 210-pound dual-threat recruit to build the program around for the next few years. Also in the mix is senior Sam Noyer, who entered the transfer portal and chose to return to Colorado – for now.

– The offensive line was a relative plus last season, and it should be again. Three starters are expected to be back, but there’s going to be a whole lot of shuffling around to get the right starting five. It’s not a huge or deep line, but it should be effective again.

– The line should be the biggest plus on the D, but the linebacking corps won’t be all that bad. 6-3, 230-pound senior Nate Landman is back on the inside after leading the team with 137 tackles, and senior Akil Jones is a solid hitter, too. Hybrid outside linebacker Carson Wells has the size and the upside, but he needs to become more of a pass rusher.

Biggest Key To The Colorado Buffaloes Offense … 

It’s the Pac-12. It might not be the Big 12 when it comes to wild and crazy offenses winging it around the yard, but it’s not too far off. Colorado has to get used to keeping up in shootouts, because big things happen when the offense hits on the big plays.

The running game should be strong out of the gate with a deep group of runners working behind a decent-looking line, but Colorado is a better program when the receiving corps is doing big things.

The Buff passing game was hit or miss last season after coming out on fire – throwing two touchdown passes or more in each of the first five games – and only cranking up seven in the final seven games. But it was more about opening everything up by hitting the home run.

Colorado was able to generate nine yards per pass or more three times, and won all three games. The 2018 team hit the nine-yard-per-pass mark three times, and it won all three games.

Over the last four years, the program is 12-0 when completing nine yards or more per pass.

Preview Conclusion … 

For many, Karl Dorrell wasn’t exactly the most inspiring of hires.

1) He didn’t set the world on fire during his five years at UCLA, 2) he hasn’t been a head coach since getting whacked by the Bruins in 2007, and 3) he isn’t Eric Bieniemy, the Colorado running back legend who’s now the Kansas City Chief offensive coordinator and will soon be someone’s big-get head coaching hire.

But that’s not fair.

Dorrell has been a solid NFL assistant over the last several seasons – with a season as Vanderbilt’s offensive coordinator thrown in there – and considering UCLA hasn’t been to a bowl game in three years, his five straight seasons of six wins or more with five bowl appearances with the Bruins doesn’t seem that bad.

After three straight 5-7 seasons – especially after gagging away the 2018 season with seven straight losses to close, and with last year’s team underachieving – Colorado would happily take six wins and a bowl game.

… The expectations nationally will be low, and the team will be the underdog in at least six of the final ten games, but don’t expect a total disaster.

And expect Dorrell and his staff to be better than you think.

Read full preview here

—–

June 14th

CBS Sports metrics: CU has the most difficult schedule in the Pac-12

From CBS Sports … Who you play each season matters in college football. It’s always been the case, but in the age of the College Football Playoff, it matters even more. While winning your conference is as simple as having a better record against your conference opponents than everybody else within it, it’s not enough to get you to the playoff.

To reach the playoff, you have to be deemed one of the four best teams in the country by a select group of individuals, a group that might have stats and metrics available to them as tools to make decisions, though they remain humans nonetheless.

You have to impress them. You have to beat Somebody. You can’t lose to Nobody.

With that in mind, I’ve spent the last few springs trying to determine which teams in the country are likely to face the most difficult schedules in the upcoming seasons. It’s not an overly complicated process, but I’ll explain how it works.

Methodology: I rank all 130 teams using use a statistical model that judges teams based on their performances in games. My opinion plays no role in it. History often gives us the best glimpse into the future, so I use rankings from the previous seasons to get an idea of how good any given team can expect to be in the next season. Teams are then given a weight that coincides with their past performance, and these weights are applied when going through each team’s schedule.

I then add or subtract additional weights based on where and when the game is being played. Road games are more difficult than home games, for example, and  playing a Thursday night game after playing the previous Saturday adds a degree of difficulty. Playing eight straight weeks without a bye does, too.

After inputting all of this information, a number is produced that shows a team’s projected strength of schedule. One thing to keep in mind before you go through these rankings is that the best teams in a conference are at somewhat of a disadvantage compared to their conference mates as they do not get to play themselves. That naturally hinders its SOS against the other programs in the conference that do face it. Conversely, the worst team doesn’t play itself, and that impacts the floor of its SOS projection.

What do the scores mean? The overall score is the team’s SOS compared to the average SOS of all 130 FBS teams. For example, 21.34% is better than average. A negative score indicates below average. Colorado (39.19%) will enter 2020 with the toughest projected schedule among Power Five teams, while Syracuse (-6.40%) will have the easiest. The conference score is the same principle, but it is strictly in relation to the average score of the schedules within that team’s conference.

Here’s how things shook out in the Pac-12 …

  1. Colorado … So how does Colorado end up with the most difficult schedule in the country in my projections? Well, first of all, the Pac-12 (like the Big Ten and Big 12) is helped by playing nine conference games. What really decided things for the Buffs, though, was the lack of a bottom out on their schedule. Colorado State and UCLA are the only opponents on its schedule to fall outside the top 90 in my rating system. Arizona is the only other opponent outside the top 75. Of Colorado’s other nine opponents, six are in the top 25 and eight are in the top 50. There are no elite programs on the schedule (though Oregon, Texas A&M, Washington and USC all have the potential) but there isn’t a cupcake to be found, either. Overall: 39.19% | Pac-12: 26.02%

Read full list here (noteworthy that three teams CU is chasing in the Pac-12 South – Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State – are ranked 10th, 11th, and 12th in strength of schedule) …

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June 13th

USA Today preseason Top 25 – Oregon in at No. 4

From the USA Today … The USA TODAY Sports post-spring Top 25 for the Bowl Subdivision typically doesn’t land until after teams across the FBS put a bow on spring practices in late April. This hasn’t been your typical spring.

These offseason drills can often help illuminate how the nation’s top contenders will fill spots left vacant by graduation and losses to the NFL. Many teams projected to contend for New Year’s Six bowl games have unsettled competitions at quarterback, for example.

With spring workouts canceled amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the post-spring Top 25 instead takes into account noteworthy transfers, such as Georgia’s new quarterback, and the underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft. Or those who decided to stay in college, such Oklahoma State star Chuba Hubbard.

From the Pac-12 … 

4. Oregon

The roster is as loaded for a title run as any in the country, with the exception of quarterback. It’s there that the Ducks have options, led by sophomore Tyler Shough, but lack experience. (Not that first-year starters, including true freshmen, haven’t led teams to the playoff and championships in the recent past.) One name to watch is that of offensive tackle Penei Sewell, perhaps the pound-for-pound best player in the country.

13. Texas A&M

This team will be a national factor based on the schedule alone: A&M’s first nine games against FBS competition includes just one opponent, Auburn, coming off a winning record in 2019. It’s the sort of schedule that a legitimate contender would dominate. Whether it’ll reveal anything about the Aggies’ ability to actually beat Alabama and LSU remains unknown. But it means Jimbo Fisher’s team will be highly ranked when it takes on the Tide and Tigers to end the regular season.

22. Southern California

USC is capable of being the best team in the South Division and a threat for a major bowl, though there’s a significant on-paper gap between the Trojans and Oregon in the Pac-12. A few offseason coaching changes could ramp up the Trojans’ defensive intensity. While Clay Helton’s somewhat unexpected return dominated offseason headlines, don’t sleep on the importance of retaining another coach: offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.

23. California

There’s a ton of high-level experience on defense, coach Justin Wilcox’s specialty, and the possibility of a pretty successful offense should quarterback Chase Garbers remain healthy. The Golden Bears went unbeaten last season in games Garbers started and finished.

24. Washington

The run of Pac-12 teams ends with Washington and new coach Jimmy Lake. The defense is talented, seemingly as always, and Lake’s comments on revamping parts of the Huskies’ offense are promising. But there’s an unknown aspect to how Lake will orchestrate the program that makes Washington tough to predict.

Read full rankings here

—–

June 11th

CU has second-most difficult schedule in the Pac-12 (20th overall)

From 247 Sports … College football looks like it’s going to get a full season in — for now. Players all over the country are reporting for voluntary workouts, and the Pac-12 is set to do so on June 15.

“As educational institutions, our highest obligation is to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” Pac-12 CEO chair and Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a statement. “As we considered the pros and cons of taking steps that can pave a path to returning to play, those considerations were foremost, guided by the advice of our own medical experts along with public health officials.”

It’s definitely the first step towards the goal of playing a college football season.

Last year was a wild one in the Pac-12. It ended with Oregon knocking off Utah for the conference title. Heading into the game, the Utes had a shot at clinching a berth in the College Football Playoff, which would have been the conference’s first since 2016.

Will the conference be able to break that streak in 2020? It’s top two teams appear to be Oregon and USC. Can the Ducks win another Pac-12 title with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator? Can the Trojans go from Pac-12 to double digit wins?

Using ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) strength of schedule, we dissected each Pac-12 team’s schedule from easiest to hardest.

  • 12. UCLA (67th nationally)
  • 11. Utah (63)
  • 10. Washington State (61)
  • 9. Arizona State (56)
  • 8. Arizona (52)
  • 7. Cal (48)
  • 6. Oregon (46)
  • 5. Washington (45)
  • 4. Oregon State (44)
  • 3. Stanford (39)
  • 2. Colorado (20) … The Buffs have quite the out of conference schedule, traveling to Colorado State to open things up before hosting Fresno State. The biggie then comes with a road contest at Texas A&M in week three. This is a program that saw Mel Tucker depart for Michigan State in February after just one year as head coach. Is Karl Dorrell up to the task after not being a head coach for over a decade? The Buffs have to host Oregon immediately after a tough non-conference schedule and have USC and Washington on the road later in the season. Improving off of five wins last year may be tough.
  • 1. USC (10) … It’s no secret as to why Clay Helton and Co. have the conference’s toughest schedule. There’s the obvious of traveling to play Alabama in Dallas to open the season, but the Trojans have a road game at Oregon as well as the annual rivalry at home with Notre Dame.  A big reason for optimism is quarterback Kedon Slovis, who starred as a true freshman in 2019. Slovis finished the year with 3,505 passing yards, a 71.9 completion percentage, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 11 games. His 71.9 completion percentage was the highest in NCAA history for a freshman.

Read full story here

—–

June 8th

NCAA.com preseason Top 25 includes three Pac-12 South teams

From NCAA.com

From the Pac-12 (and CU’s top non-conference opponent) … 

6. Oregon (12-2) … It’s going to be strange not seeing Justin Herbert at Oregon anymore. But besides that, the Ducks are loaded and will be the clear Pac-12 favorites. Though Tyler Shough is probably the leading candidate to take over as the starting quarterback, that position isn’t set yet. But Oregon has Outland winner Penei Sewell and DE Kayvon Thibodeaux (nine sacks) ready to dominate.

13. Texas A&M (8-5) … Considering the Aggies played at Clemson, at Georgia, at LSU and had two home games against Auburn and Alabama, there’s no shame in losing five games this year. But that still marked the gap between A&M and contending for SEC West titles (or more). With QB Kellen Mond set for a third year as the starting quarterback, 2020 could be special if things break right. Oh, Clemson and Georgia are now off the schedule, too.

19. Southern California (8-5) … The potential is there. QB Kedon Slovis finished with 3,502 passing yards and brings back a bunch of skill players led by WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. The defense could also be better once the new coordinator is hired. But the truth remains the Trojans have gone 5-7 and 8-5 the past two seasons.

22. Utah (11-3) … The Utes could have made the College Football Playoff. But a blowout loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game and then another blowout loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl added a sour taste to the 2019 season. Now QB Tyler Huntley, RB Zack Moss, DE Bradlee Anae, and others standouts (like in the secondary) have to be replaced. South Carolina transfer QB Jake Bentley could take control. But coach Kyle Whittingham has won at least nine games in five of the last six seasons.

25. Arizona State (8-5) … The Sun Devils have gone 7-6 and 8-5 in Herm Edwards’ first two seasons. But Arizona State won their final three teams of the season, which included beating eventual Rose Bowl champion Oregon. QB Jayden Daniels could be one of the most exciting players in the country after his 2,943 passing yards (17 touchdowns with only two interceptions) and 355 rushing yards last season as a freshman.

Read the full story here

—–

June 7th

Pro Football Focus has four teams in its Preseason Top 25

From Pro Football Focus … It’s early. We’re not even sure who will play and how many games each team will play in 2020. That said, it’s time to look ahead to the college football season. Using the PFF Elo system that is the base power metric for our NCAA simulation — with allowances for recruiting rankings, returning players and market information — we are happy to provide our all-too-early top 25. (We previously built an early set of 2020 NFL power rankings — find that here.) Enjoy!

From the Pac-12 …

12. OREGON (+2500)

The Pac-12’s highest-ranking team going into 2020, we give the favored Ducks a 27 percent chance to win the conference.

15. UTAH (+10000)

The Utes lost Tyler Huntley, one of the better quarterbacks in the draft class, but remain strong, with roughly a one-in-four chance to win the Pac-12 in 2020 by our simulation.

18. WASHINGTON (+8000)

For the first time since 2014, the Washington Huskies will break in a new coach in 2020. As such, they are currently lined as +400 to win the conference.

24. USC (+6600)

We’re a little little lower on USC than some, but if Kedon Slovis (0.44 win shares in 2019) can do what some other Pac-12 quarterbacks failed to do over the last few years (improve), then the Trojans will have a chance in a weak conference.

Read full story here

Preseason All-Pac-12 teams include six Buffs

From Athlon Sports

1st team: Nate Landman, linebacker
2nd team: William Sherman, offensive line; Mustafa Johnson, defensive line
3rd team: Alex Fontenot, running back; Brady Russell, tight end
4th team: KD Nixon, wide receiver

Selections by team:

Arizona5
Arizona State10
California12
Colorado6
Oregon13
Oregon State6
Stanford12
UCLA5
USC13
Utah8
Washington10
Washington State10

—–

June 6th

Athlon on CU: “A tough climb to get to the postseason”; Dorrell: “We’ve got some ground to make up”

From Athlon … Mel Tucker’s sudden and shocking departure to Michigan State in February and put the Buffaloes in a bind. Karl Dorrell was hired less than two weeks later – about two months after most teams made a change – and it wasn’t a hire that wowed anyone. Then, less than three weeks after he completed the assembly of his coaching staff, the sports world shut down because of COVID-19. CU went into the summer without the staff having ever spent time on the field with the players.

Despite the challenge, CU”s administration believes Dorrell is the right fit. He took UCLA to five bowls in five seasons in his only other coaching job, from 2003-07. He also has deep ties to CU, as he coached six seasons in Boulder during the 1990s. Dorrell didn’t make any excuses for the unique challenges. Instead, he emphasized getting to know his team as much as possible, and his calm, mature approach has been welcomed.

“We have a lot of work to do and we’ve got some ground to make up, but … their attitude is right about what they want, what their desires are, and what we’re shooting for”, Dorrell says. “We’re going to ride that and stress them and put them in tough situations to get ready to play”.

Final analysis … Tucker brought some excitement back to the program and seemingly had the Buffs going in the right direction. However, last year was the Buffs’ third consecutive 5-7 season – even with a veteran quarterback and star receiver. There’s now a new head coach, a new quarterback, Laviska Shenault is gone and the Buffs didn’t get to go through spring practices. Dorrell says the players are frustrated with how the last three years have played out, and “they’re ambitious” to turn things around, but the odds are certainly against the Buffs. They’ve played in just one bowl game in the past 12 years, and it’s going to be a tough climb to get to the postseason this year.

—–

June 3rd

June Pac-12 Power Rankings

From BuildtheDam.com (an sbnation Oregon State fansite) …

BTD’s 2020 Pac-12 College Football June Power Rankings … Can USC upend Oregon and take back the Pac-12 crown?

  1. Oregon
  2. USC
  3. Arizona State
  4. Utah
  5. Cal
  6. Stanford
  7. Washington
  8. UCLA
  9. Oregon State
  10. Washington State
  11. Arizona
  12. Colorado … Like most new head coaches, Karl Dorrell doesn’t inherit much at Colorado and “year zero” with the Buffs could definitely be considered an uphill fight from the get-go. Dorrell’s first test as a head coach will be on the road at rival Colorado State, before hosting Fresno State, traveling to Texas A&M and then meeting Oregon. Nothing like jumping into the deep end. He’ll be doing all this as his program finds a replacement for staple quarterback Steven Montez and excitable receiver Laviska Shenault, both of whom could only help Colorado to an 83rd overall ranking nationally in total offense in 2019. A new coach always bring a great sense of optimism, but you can only play on an emotional ledge for so long.

Read full story here

—–

June 2nd

CBS Sports ranks the Pac-12 coaches (no surprises here)

From CBS Sports … Ranking the Pac-12 coaches

  1. Kyle Whittingham, Utah (last year: No. 4 in Pac-12)
  2. David Shaw, Stanford (2)
  3. Mario Cristobal, Oregon (7)
  4. Herm Edwards, Arizona State (10)
  5. Justin Wilcox, Cal (8)
  6. Chip Kelly, UCLA (3)
  7. Clay Helton, USC (9)
  8. Nick Rolovich, Washington State (n/a)
  9. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State (11)
  10. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona (6)
  11. Jimmy Lake, Washington (n/a)

12. Karl Dorrell (64 out of 65 nationally): Mark Dantonio stepped down at Michigan State, Mel Tucker introduced 24 signees from Colorado’s 2020 recruiting class and, just one week later, he left to take the Spartans head coaching position. All of it happened in eight days, and the toughest hand dealt was to the Buffs and the players who had just committed to Tucker’s vision for Colorado’s future. It’s been 15 years since Dorrell was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year at UCLA, but that experience must inform his efforts now to steady a program that’s on its third coach in as many years. Last year: N/A 

—–

May 31st 

Street and Smith’s – Two Pac-12 South teams in the preseason Top 25

Pac-12 North predictions:

  1. Oregon – No. 6 nationally – bowl projection: Orange Bowl
  2. California – bowl projection: Las Vegas Bowl
  3. Washington – bowl projection: Redbox Bowl
  4. Stanford – bowl projection: L.A. Bowl
  5. Oregon State
  6. Washington State

Pac-12 South predictions:

  1. USC – No. 18 nationally – bowl projection: Holiday Bowl
  2. Arizona State – No. 25 nationally – bowl projection: Alamo Bowl
  3. Utah – bowl projection – Sun Bowl
  4. UCLA – bowl projection – Independence Bowl
  5. Arizona
  6. Colorado

From Street and Smith’s magazine write-up on Colorado … Just 10 days after Mel Tucker bolted Colorado for Michigan State in mid-February, the Buffaloes rushed in Karl Dorrell to replace him as head coach.

Dorrell then had less than three weeks to quickly flush out his staff, start recruiting and get to know everybody before he would jump head-first into things when spring practice opened on March 16th.

Oops.

… Off the field, at least, Dorrell had a relaxing transition. Having worked as a Colorado assistant over two stints in the 1990’s, Dorrell already owned a home in Boulder and enjoys the place. “You’re going to get the very best of me”, Dorrell said in his introductory press conference. “You’re going to get a guy who’s here for the long haul”.

After Tucker ended his one-year stint abruptly, those are probably comforting words for the Buffaloes.

 

—–

May 30th

Opposing coaches not impressed with CU: Hiring Dorrell “a massive setback for the program”

From Athlon … From “Scouting the Buffaloes – Opposing coaches size up Colorado“:

“These guys got absolutely punched in the face by the coaching carousel. To have that much heat going after one year with Mel Tucker and have him leave so late in the cycle, and to hire a failed former conference coach? This is a massive setback for the program, and it’s hard to see how they can rebound from this … Mel had just started to untangle some of their problems, but they were full speed ahead, especially in recruiting. We would ‘feel’ them out in recruiting in places they had never been. Their problem since they joined the Pac-12 is that they still want to build a roster in Texas and pick scraps in California. You’re in the Pac-12 now; you have to reverse that. You don’t have any brand identity in Texas. The previous staff started to turn that around. It was basically as wide a net as they could cast. They had offers out on everyone … How are you going to sell Karl Dorrell? How does that work? He had an unsuccessful run at UCLA. Every coach in the league is going to use that against them … With the shortened offseason, I think they should stick with as much of what was working for them with Mel. He kept three or four of Mel’s guys on staff for that reason. They’ll try and get through this year with more or less the same systems and then make his changes in the next offseason”.

—–

May 26th

Odds of CU winning the Pac-12? Longest (by a wide margin) in the conference

From the Pac-12 Hotline … Summer is unofficially underway after what was, officially, a catastrophic spring. For the moment, let’s dispense with the heavy stuff, assume there will be a season, and have some fun.

Recently, the renown bookmaker William Hill released its odds to win each Power Five conference.

The Pac-12 breakdown is as follows:

Oregon: 11/5
USC: 5/2
Washington: 7/2
Utah: 5/1
ASU: 10/1
WSU: 15/1
UCLA: 18/1
Cal: 18/1
Arizona: 25/1
Stanford: 30/1
Oregon State: 75/1
Colorado: 150/1

Our reaction: The folks at William Hill apparently don’t place much emphasis on continuity — in particular, offensive continuity.

If they gave as much weight to the triad of returning quarterback-coordinator-head coach as we do, the Washington schools would have longer odds.

Best value I: Cal.

The Bears have a new play caller in Bill Musgrave, but they’re loaded with experience where it counts (quarterback, offensive line and defense) and were on track to contend last season until Chase Garbers was injured.

Also, they play Oregon, Washington and Stanford at home, providing a manageable path to the division.

From there, it’s one game to the title. At 18/1, they’re a bargain.

Best value II: Arizona State.

We wouldn’t think twice about a few bucks on the Sun Devils at 10-to-1. They’re one of three teams in the South with a returning quarterback and should be fairly stout on defense.

If USC stumbles, ASU is best positioned to snatch the division and play for the payday.

Worst value I: Washington State.

Sure, 15/1 is a decent payout, but only if there’s reason to believe the Cougars, with a new coach, coordinator and quarterback — and with no spring practice — can win the North for the first time.

We’re skeptical of Oregon and Washington at their numbers (2-to-1 and 3.5-to-1, respectively), but the returning talent on defense provides both with a path to the championship.

We don’t see enough on either side of the ball to justify a dollar on the Cougars.

Worst value II: Utah

The Utes were gutted on defense, have a new quarterback and, in our opinion, could experience a hangover from the 2019 collapse.

The likelihood of winning the division, much less the conference, is vastly more remote than 5-to-1 odds indicate.

That’s chucking good money after bad, even for fans with blind faith.

The Utes should be 10-to-1, at best.

No value: USC.

The Trojans have 17 returning starters and perhaps the best quarterback in the conference (Kedon Slovis).

We project them as the solid but not overwhelming favorite in the South and would be tempted at 4-to-1, but not a dime less. Too many things can go wrong with the Good Ship Helton.– Jon Wilner

—–

May 23rd

Athlon has only two Pac-12 teams in its Preseason Top 25 (plus Texas A&M)

From Athlon Sports … The 2020 college football season is scheduled to officially begin on Saturday, Aug. 29, but it’s never too early to start thinking about top 25 rankings and what might transpire this fall. Each FBS season brings plenty of surprises, disappointments and unexpected teams emerging in the national title picture. However, the list of favorites for this year starts with familiar contenders: Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State.

Clemson is Athlon Sports’ projected national champion, with Alabama at No. 2, followed by Ohio State at No. 3. Oklahoma is the last projected playoff team at No. 4. Penn State, Florida and Georgia headline the next trio of teams, with LSU, Notre Dame and Oregon rounding out the projected top 10. The 2020 season concludes with the national championship on Jan. 7 in Miami Gardens, Fla. in Hard Rock Stadium.

The Athlon Sports 2020 preview magazines are on newsstands nationwide on June 2 and feature in-depth predictions, previews, rankings and insightful stories to prepare for the upcoming year. The SEC and National preview editions can be ordered from Athlon Sports’ online store.

An important note on Athlon’s top 25 for 2020: This is not a preseason ranking of teams going into the season. Instead, this ranking takes into account where we project teams to finish after the national championship in January. Here are Athlon’s projected top 25 teams in college football for 2020.

From the Pac-12 … 

No. 19 – USC 

The Trojans rebounded from a disappointing 5-7 2018 season to finish 8-5 and second in the Pac-12 South last fall. Coach Clay Helton is hoping for another step forward thanks to the return of a high-powered offense and a retooled defensive staff. Quarterback Kedon Slovis was a breakout star in his first year on campus, throwing for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns to just nine picks. The Trojans are loaded with talent at receiver, with freshmen Gary Bryant, Bru McCoy and Kyle Ford joining a group that already features Tyler Vaughns, Drake London and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Jumpstarting a ground game that managed only 3.9 yards per carry and replacing both starting offensive tackles are the top concerns for play-caller Graham Harrell.

Despite its talent edge, USC has not finished higher than fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring defense in each of the last four years. Helton hopes former Texas play-caller Todd Orlando can change the Trojans’ defensive fortunes, and there’s no shortage of talent to work with thanks to the return of 11 starters. Lineman Jay Tufele and edge rusher Drake Jackson are two of the Pac-12’s top defenders for 2020, and there’s plenty of young talent poised to develop in the secondary. The opener against Alabama in Arlington, Texas is a huge barometer for Helton’s squad. Arizona State, Washington and Notre Dame visit the Coliseum in 2020, but road trips to Utah, Oregon and Stanford await this fall.

No. 10 – Oregon 

The Ducks have to replace quarterback Justin Herbert, but coach Mario Cristobal’s team is Athlon’s pick to win the Pac-12 once again in 2020. Boston College transfer Anthony Brown and sophomore Tyler Shough are expected to battle to replace Herbert in fall practice. The winner of this job inherits a strong supporting cast, including 1,000-yard rusher CJ Verdell and a handful of playmakers in the receiving corps – Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Mycah Pittman. Dominant left tackle Penei Sewell will have four new starters around him, but there’s enough talent and experience to prevent a major drop in performance up front. The offense is also under the direction of a new play-caller, as Joe Moorhead arrives after spending the last two seasons as the head coach at Mississippi State.

Oregon is known for its high-powered offenses, but the defense is the strength of this program for 2020. The Ducks return eight starters from a unit that held teams to just 4.7 yards a play and 16.5 points a game last season. Rising star Kayvon Thibodeaux (nine sacks in 2019) anchors the trenches, and the secondary features three All-America candidates in Thomas Graham, Jevon Holland and Deommodore Lenoir. Troy Dye will be missed at linebacker, but the arrival of top recruits Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell bolsters a group still featuring Isaac Slade-Matautia, Mase Funa and Sampson Niu. Oregon opens with arguably the toughest two-game stretch of any team in the nation with home matchups against North Dakota State and Ohio State. The Ducks also pay a visit to Berkeley against California, but home dates are on tap against Washington, USC and Arizona State.

… And … 

No. 11 – Texas A&M

Jimbo Fisher is off to a good start in College Station, but the third-year coach hopes his team is ready to contend for the SEC West title. Both Alabama and LSU have personnel losses to address, and with an experienced roster and a more favorable schedule, the Aggies could push for 10 victories in 2020. Quarterback Kellen Mond returns after throwing for 2,897 yards and adding another 500 on the ground. The senior is among the SEC’s top quarterbacks, but Fisher needs him to take a step forward in his final year in College Station.

Isaiah Spiller and all-purpose threat Ainias Smith anchor the ground game, with Jhamon Ausbon and tight ends Jalen Wydermyer and Baylor Cupp – a talented freshman who missed all of 2019 due to injury – headlining the receiving options. Additionally, four starters returning provide optimism for improvement along the offensive line. The Aggies return the bulk of talent from a defense that held teams to 5.3 yards a snap last fall. However, replacing standout tackle Justin Madubuike won’t be easy, and there’s room to improve in the pass rush and in the secondary. If Mond takes a step forward and the defense continues to progress under coordinator Mike Elko, back-to-back games against Alabama and LSU in late November could loom large in the SEC West.

Athlon’s “Teams on the Rise” includes Arizona State and Cal

From Athlon SportsCollege football’s 2020 season won’t get underway until late August, but it’s never too early to look ahead and predict which teams are on the rise and are poised for a significant leap in the rankings or win column next year. The 2020 version of college football’s teams on the rise features North Carolina, Arizona State, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, and Louisville from the Power 5 ranks, along with Charlotte, Wyoming, East Carolina and Kent State from the Group of 5 conferences. With a few months to dissect rosters, opinions can change on teams – perhaps a couple of times in the offseason. Additionally, unexpected roster attrition, late coordinator changes or injuries can all change the outlook on how teams are viewed prior to 2020. However, this list reflects teams we think are poised to take a step forward next fall in the rankings or by an increase in wins.

There’s a long way to go until the 2020 season officially begins, but here are 20 teams (in alphabetical order) we think are on the rise for next season.

Arizona State … 

The Herm Edwards hire was met with plenty of skepticism, but the former NFL coach is off to a solid start in Tempe. The Sun Devils are 15-11 overall, finished 9-9 in Pac-12 play and have earned appearances in bowl games over the last two seasons. Additionally, only one of the team’s four defeats from 2019 came by more than 10 points. With Utah returning only 10 starters and the overall uncertainty surrounding USC, the door is open for Arizona State to make a run at the Pac-12 South title in 2020. Quarterback Jayden Daniels is a rising star under center after throwing for 2,943 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 355 yards and three scores as a true freshman last fall.

New offensive coordinator Zak Hill is tasked with helping Daniels take the next step in his development, but the supporting cast will be under construction early in the 2020 season. Two freshmen – Daniyel Ngata and DeaMonte Trayanum – are likely to emerge as the go-to running backs after the departure of Eno Benjamin, and the receiving corps has to replace its top two targets (Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Williams). Additionally, the offensive line is counting on two graduate transfers to bolster the trenches in 2020. Arizona State’s defense has showed marked improvement over the last two seasons but will be breaking in a new play-caller after Danny Gonzales and Tony White left Tempe. Former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce and long-time Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis will assume the play-calling duties in 2020. With eight starters back and few glaring holes in the two-deep, the Sun Devils could have the best defense in the Pac-12 South.

California … 

Oregon is the Pac-12’s clear frontrunner for 2020, but the rest of the usual contenders – Washington, Utah, Stanford and USC – are filled with question marks. California has made steady progress under coach Justin Wilcox, increasing their win total to seven after a 5-7 mark in 2017 and finishing 8-5 last year. With both Washington and Washington State breaking in new coaches, the Golden Bears could be the biggest challenger to Oregon in the Pac-12 North. New coordinator Bill Musgrave is tasked with jumpstarting an offense that averaged 21.2 points a game last season. Quarterback Chase Garbers threw for 1,772 yards and 14 touchdowns and went 7-0 in games he started and played a full complement of snaps. If Garbers can stay healthy, the junior is poised for a breakout year.

In addition to Garbers’ return, the Golden Bears bring back more than 1,000 rushing yards between Christopher Brown Jr. and Marcel Dancy, five of the team’s top six receivers and every starter along the offensive line. Wilcox and coordinator Tim DeRuyter have brought drastic improvement to California’s defense since arriving in 2017. In 2016, the Golden Bears gave up 42.6 points a contest. However, that total decreased to 28.4 in ’17 and fell to 20.4 in ’18. Behind All-America linebacker Evan Weaver, the defense held teams to 21.9 points a game last fall. Weaver and standout safety Ashtyn Davis have to be replaced, but eight starters coming back should ensure this group ranks near the top of the Pac-12. With both Oregon and Washington coming to Berkeley this fall, an improved offense could give California a shot to win the Pac-12 North and finish in the top 25.

 

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40 Replies to “Preseason Magazines”

  1. So Utah (who lost the most starters) is going to beat USC & Oregon , but is going to lose to Oregon State & UCLA is going to lose to USC & Oregon while beating Oregon State? Mean while CU improve at the end of season beating Washington & Stanford but THE ONLY team they will beat is Arizona.

  2. Mark Perry will lead the defensive line.
    Wow and to think the Seattle folks got that scoop first
    so these are the folks we need to trust with their “analysis”?
    and didnt we beat Washington last year?
    Thats what I thought.
    I guess we should consider ourselves the lucky the Denver Post doesnt “waste” a lot of their time with the Buffs. They would have CSU ranked 7th or 8th in the PAC and CU in then WAC

  3. Mustafa is on the Bednarik list yet he is only 4th team PAC 12? Who is right and wrong here?
    nevermind…we are talking about guys who think they should be coaches, NFL scouts and/or ADs yet somehow arent or never will be.

  4. The gamehaus? Thats a new one on me. Correct me if I am spelling this wrong VK…but Mein Gott….how many of these slackard pundit sports agencies are there?
    Then “247Sports gathered experts across its vast network” Sounds to me like Baghdad Bob has surfaced as a sports pundit. And how do they pay a vast network with their limp offerings?
    The only vast network it seems is other sports pundit outfits making it even harder to understand how they continue to stay alive.
    On one hand they dispute KD’s ability to continue? Mel’s “success” while at the same time bashing the Buffs for their crappy offense (actually true) which was a part of Mels “incredible success” and completely ignore the fact that KD has decades of coaching O including the pros.
    The scary thing is that the Vegas folks, who have more cred than the rest of the rabble are making the game at the mutton farm even up. Evidently they believe in Daddio and his gang of 2 stars more than the veteran roster of the Buffs and KD’s ability as a coach. They also must think a great deal more about CSU’s ability this year by making the Buffs schedule the 20th hardest in the nation. We have A&M but the other 2? puhleeeze
    Y’all are probably getting tired of reading me. The only thing I had going today was buying a new truck this morning. The salesman tried pulling the ol bait and switcheroo on the price…..I got mad…and I’m sorry the rest of you had to suffer

    1. Just so you know………….

      I am not watching NASCAR this Sunday afternoon at 2:30
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      ..
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Okay I lied

      Buffs.

      Note: I LOVE NASCAR

      1. Even thougn you dont see an Bay Em Vays or Poor shus?
        I usually opt for motorcycle racing when I tune into motorsports but with their new policies maybe I will give NASCAR a shot too.

  5. Ahhh the pundits strike again. Colorado has the 20th most difficult schedule. I can understand them being nervous about their jobs with nothing else to write about except pandemic related things…which they dont even seem to do a lot of….which makes sense as that also affects job security.
    The create all these mathematical formulas but its still based on everything that happened last year. (Some of these guys math majors who couldnt find work in their field?) No one knows yet who is going to be improved in the coming season and who else is going to slip. Lindy’s was one of a very few that gave CU a wee bit of love based on their veteran roster but then gaffed, as Jenda pointed out on Stenstrom…..which blew any cred they had out of the water.
    OK OK I will admit if you are playing Ohio St., Clemson or Alabama your schedule is going to be tougher. When you get down to CU at 20 and past that its a total self serving guess. Its like the scouting services saying a player is rated as the 1,458th best player in the country.
    Sheeeesh

  6. “ Blake Stenstrom has intriguing potential at quarterback.”
    C’mon Lindy’s, at least attempt to research before you write.

  7. So I have been jonesing for football for quite a bit and have been rewatching a ton of the games on my dvr and whatever I can catch on Pac12 tv. A couple things really stand out to me that I think the pundits and unfortunately some of our fellow “gamers” seem to be missing:
    1. Our defense returns largely intact and at the end of the year was playing extremely well. Loosing Taylor will be a blow, but a full year of experience in the secondary, a deeper defensive line, a second year in the same scheme. I think we have the makings of an outstanding defensive team. At defensive end we get Mustafa Johnson back and healthy and Terrance Lang who really came on strong as he learned the defense. Justin Sami is a beast and with another year I think he will continue to hold up well int he middle and Nai’im Rodman has snaps under his belt as a back up. On the edge, Carson Wells returns and while I felt he got better towards the end of last year There is opportunity there. Inside lineback is locked up with Nate Landman and Akil Jones. We are recovering from the transfers and injuries of last year but we are 4 deep in corners with experience so we will be able to weather some injuries if necessary. The jump from Freshman to So for the Trujillo and Luckett will be important. At safety I really liked the play of Perry and Rakestraw. Udoffia as a back up is not bad. If we get a rash of injuries we may be in some trouble as we are just not as deep as some teams but I like are starters a lot.
    2. Offense is much more difficult. At first I was not a huge fan of Chiav getting the OC as I was not a huge fan of his first run. But I have a few games from 2018 saved on the DVR and I watched those and they were not as bad as I remembered. In fact my biggest complaint of the offense was the run game and guess what, Chiav had a run game coordinator that I really did not like…. I am not giving him a pass on this one but I am hopeful they can learn from their mistakes. I think I need to remember that when Chiav called plays we were 7th in the Pac12 for only the second time. Much better than the 10th under Johnson last year, maybe with any sort of defense we can turn a couple of those losses into wins.
    3. Mel Tucker was a recruiter. That is for sure. He could bring kids in the door. I am not sure if Dorrell will be able to mimic that and in fact in light of the current recruiting ranking it is likely he will not. The good news is we have nearly 2 classes of Tuckers kids in the system and young. If Dorrell can coach these kids wins will bring more recruits. CU is also getting kids to the NFL a lot more consistently so I am hopeful that story continues to hold.
    3. Some of the best coaches were not great on their first job. They became great on their second. We will have to see if Dorrell is that for us, but even if he is not great I will take 5 years of bowls and an even number of bowl wins before we move on from him.
    4. I have read a couple of articles that this is a player led team right now. To be expected with a brand new coach, no spring practice and no way for the coaches to meet their players in person. I remember another player led team recently in 2016. If I recall they had some really good success.
    5. I am working on a 5th point and it has something to do with Mel Tuckers attitude and how I am not so sure it was that….. I think one of the biggest differences between Tucker and Macintyre is he never lost the team. I liked Mac. It was clear he cared about the young men and the football program, and it is clear he had a whole bunch more integrity than Tucker as I am sure he was offered some nice money after the 2016 season and unlike Tucker he meant what he said about wanting to make CU football great. But he could never capture the locker room. During the 2015 season I heard a story that the team thought Mac was a joke. I thought to myself, how could that be he seems like he really cares and he is bringing the team back from some serious depths…. The 2016 season seemed to refute that but word from the same group said it was a player led team. When things go bad and there is no leader like in 2017 the team falls apart like that one did. same in 2018. Tucker’s teams held together. He was the undeniable leader of that team and you heard from stories from the team and I remember the recruits comments that he would run through a wall for that guy. Dorrell does not need to be a Mel Tucker for motivation, but he needs to be more than Mac was.
    6. Coaching and teaching – I think that while the jimmies and the joes are important in college football I think you can coach up a lot of young men. It may not lead you to the promised land but it will get you to a winning way. I really like what I hear from the coaches on the staff about their philosophy. I am worried that we missed spring ball and summer work outs so we will see if these coaches have been able to teach remotely (not likely) and what they can do during the season. But I think the Pac12 is in transition and while we are near the bottom of this barrell there is a good chance we can rise out of it and at least get to the middle and then lets see. Arizona has clear problems, UCLA may have Chip kelley but I think the entrance standards at UCLA are a bit different than Oregon, Washington is loosing one of the greatest football minds of our generation, and Washington State is loosing the pirate. For our schedule we should come out of CSU and Fresno with 2 wins. It is hard to see winning either A&M or Oregon but the 2016 season proves a team on the rise can win even with a rookie qb. You can’t tell me that Arizona and UCLA are not beatable games, we seem to have ASU’s number as of late, while USC has ours for like ever. Washington State without the Pirate should be winnable, Standford is coming back to the pack right now. Then we face Washington and Utah. I suspect Washington was a product of Peterson more than people realize. I think the drop off is going to be bigger than people realize and we beat this team last year and we will be a better team next. Utah is always brutal. So by my count we should win 2 and be in 5 games. If we can pick up just one of the tough ones and frankly USC could continue to be a disaster so maybe there is a 6th there.
    7. Loosing Montez was not as big as you think. I like the young man. I think he has arm talent like you wouldn’t believe. But his current coaching or maybe the constant change in coaching had him thinking and not playing. When he played against Oregon in 2016 he just played. he went out there left it all on the line and just played. The result was we won. But then he started thinking and you could see the game got too fast for him, he got too careful and our offense slowed to a crawl. I would not be surprised to see the freshman out there. No knock on Lytle or Noyer, when I saw them in spring ball they looked pretty good. But I have the feeling that while Montez might be a great practice quarterback he was still better than both of them so much so that it was never even a competition. We will have to see what practice turns up on the freshman. Frankly, I wonder what it says that Senstrom left as I thought he would have been ahead of Lytle.

    God I miss football.

    1. I like the optimism.

      Here’s my short version. There are actually some nfl dudes sprinkled across the roster. Including the lines, which is huge. If they find a qb, they will surprise people. My bigger concern? We won’t get to see them and what they can do for a while.

      Go Buffs

      1. Who do you think is nfl? Landman, Johnson, Sherman, Nixon I think have shown they have a shot. Any of the up and comers? I think Perry, Lang, Jones, Trujillo, Rakestraw, Fontenot, and Purcell May have a shot as they develop? Your thoughts? I have always really like Fontenot. He just has an amazing vision. He needs to add 10 pounds of muscle though so he can get through the arm tackles better. I can’t tell you how many times I saw him angle a run through a defender and the only thing the defender can do is get an arm on him, but that is enough to slow Fontenot down or make him stumble. With 10 more pounds of muscle he runs through those and is gaining 30 or 40 yards and not the 10 he did. He has to keep his speed with that mass but I have to think that is possible.

        1. I think Sherman and Purcell for sure on the o line. I bet one of the backs, maybe more, get a shot. Fontenot could have a nice next season. Maugham too. Clayton who knows?

          I am honestly not sold on K.D. but Arias or Stanley could get there.

          Defense: Johnson, Lang and Sami I bet all make it. Landman. Maybe another lb/hybrid like perry. Cornerbacks need more size and seasoning. Safeties too.

          That is till a hell of a lot more nfl type dudes than in a loooong time.

          Hoping we get to see them play sooner rather than later.

          Go Buffs

  8. Yo Stuart,
    Let’s see if I got this right… last season Mel Tucker was ranked last by all the Dipstick pundits. Then he shows himself to be a lying piece of spartan poo and bolts after a losing season for wads of sticky and stained money from Michigan State.

    Then, despite the losing season and the gag-reflex causing lying to everybody, his loss is now supposedly something that has put Colorado in the position of being ruined by the hire of Karl Dorrell?

    Really? All Midnight Mel had to sell was his word and he turned out to be the biggest liar these parts have seen since Hawkins. I’ll take KD, thanks.

    By the way, the new Michigan State coach is rated as the 14th best coach in the Big 10 this year. He’s last again. At least he’s consistent. And once a liar, it’s gonna be hard for him to be honest because no one will believe him anyway.

    Lastly, if Karl Dorrell is a failed PAC-12 coach with five bowls in five years, I’ll gladly take the same level here and now.

    Until Colorado starts winning, the pundidiots will continue to rank our head coaches poorly, because pundits don’t look to the future, they just regurgitate the past.

    Go Buffs! Looking forward to being back on campus!

    Mark / Boulderdevil

    1. Boulderdevil, I like and agree with your thoughts above regarding the CBS…….article?????? Today there are so many publications, websites, TV & Radio commentators, social media sports sites, and god knows how many more “experts” and they all have to bloviate. Gotta be relevant on any and everything sports, even though they really probably are just plain unknowledgeable on what they say or write.

      I’m now going to expose my age and sound like some old curmudgeon but when it comes to all this media blather, give me the good old days of Sport Magazine, SI, Sporting News, and I guess also Ring Magazine. They most likely weren’t right half the time but as a wide eyed young sports fan I believed everything I read in those days. However there was an old time Denver Sports writer that always referred to CU as “Big Time Cholly,” or some nonsensical thing like that.

      1. yup…we are supposed to accept a writer from the OSU fan site to rank the coaches?
        Then again, outside his obvious bias, he may be more accurate than a national”never dip your toe past the surface” writer.
        He wasn’t brave enough to rank his own coach higher than 9th but higher than the other ones OSU has to recruit mostly against.
        I’m thinking he made a huge mistake putting OSU ahead of WSU. I watched 2 Hawaii games last year and the opposing Ds were helpless. The O made Leach’s offense scheme look like and SEC one. Rolovich will have a much better D to rely on at WSU as well.

        1. btw
          the OSU writer isn’t even brave enough to apply his real name to the article. It simply says “the coach” if he was being truthful he should have added the word “wannabe”

  9. I hate to say it, and hope I am wrong, but Mel may be twice the coach of KD. Think about it, as soon as MK came in the workouts went way up, the hard nosed football attitude went way up, the practices were very efficient and none of our kids got hurt during practice. I hate that he left but he did set a tone and it always starts with the CEO. He put fire in the kids and he got recruits across the country excited about CU.
    KD is a milktoast guy and I don’t see him inspiring the kids at all. Kids start the recruiting process based on reputation and KD doesn’t help CU at all. Get real. Forget that Mom or Dad might like KD and his ethics, not great recruit is even gonna have the CU staff visit their home so KD will never get a shot.
    My only hope is he modifies the offense to be exciting and we out score a few teams for wins. If we do, some kids might notice CU and maybe we have a shot at being decent in time.
    Just being realistic. We all had to know that 5* kid from Bama was gonna leave when MT left, coach was the only reason he came here, like so many other recruits. Hope I’m wrong but the stands won’t be filled like MT got them filled.

    1. Hard to judge how filled the stadium would’ve been since the coronavirus probably won’t allow for a full stadium. Midnight Mel had the same record as little Mac and last I checked only a couple recruits left after the change. Methinks you’re a closet Cornholer.

    2. Milktoast and uninspiring
      So you know KD personally? or played under him some where? and of course we need a team full of unethical kids….which must be true in your mind because you are praising Tucker the poster boy for lousy ethics.
      There will be recruits reading these posts. You made your opinion clear but if you sincerely hope If
      you are wrong and are a true Buff you should keep your mouth shut at least until you have given him a chance for his team to hit the field.

  10. Whether Dorrell or anyone else, if they have a qb, that will go a long way to winning games.

    It’s funny bc shoupe or whatever the guy’s name at uo is, is getting some decent pub. Lytle is in exactly the same spot, basically. No love there though.

    Whoever the guy is, that is where it starts. The line should be decent. Backfield is solid. Wr’s solid. Brady is a stud at te. Give them a qb, and the offense should be fine.

    Looking forward to seeing it play out, sooner or later.

    Go Buffs

  11. I am not voting in today’s poll Stuart because I dont find any of the quotes disconcerting. They are all Kisla type crappola

  12. The only concern I have with Dorrell “Is this his dream job” or “Is this his retirement job”. Hopefully its both. Still Dorrell isn’t going anywhere which is what Rick wanted, but $15M over five years is a nice retirement package, win or lose.

  13. It will be great when Dorrell, his staff, and the players prove the haters wrong. The “splash” hires didn’t work. The right answer is a steady rebuild under a coach with integrity that wants to be at CU. “Failed” Coach with multiple back to back seasons with bowl game appearances? We haven’t seen that kind of “failed” success here in a looooooooooong time. I will gladly take it. These haters can go pound sand.

    1. Hopefully this turns more like Orgeron than Neuheisel. With no worse than a .500 regular season record in any of his five coaching years at UCLA, I don’t know that I would call Dorrell’s UCLA stint a failure. None of the coaches that came after him managed to do that although Mora was one season short of it. With 13 more years of experience under his belt, he may be able to create the buzz by winning, that attracts the talent.

  14. Who cares what the magazines say? Colorado got a great coach and a builder of character in young men. Mother’s and Dad’s will want their sons to play for Karl Dorrell. As far as Mel Tucker is concerned he is only looking out for himself. He has no comprehension of loyalty to any program. It may take a season or two, but I predict Karl Dorrell and his staff will begin to get the type of recruits that played for my favorite Mac. God bless Karl Dorrell and his staff, I look forward to seeing him prove all of the detractors wrong.

  15. Athlon squawking out of their ath again.
    Whatever muckraking idjit wrote that doesn’t understand that Colorado is the Texas vacation home.
    And Karl was hardly a failed college coach. He was over .500…right? light years ahead of our last “coach”
    Sounds like they are working for the coaches who would use Karl against himself
    Love so see some of these useless pundits take up coaching. Surely they could find a needy Div 2 or 3 school that could use all of that football knowledge.

  16. Like Diogenes, who was looking for an honest man, I have been looking for a Buff offense for how many years now? I’m afraid to count. Except for a mighty few Sefo, Phil and Viska fueled bursts its been a long road of fan frustration and depression. So much so I see metaphysical conspiracies in coincidences like the name Jay. Thank God they and their mentors are both gone.
    Unlike Diogenes, however, I am finally harboring a certain amount of optimism for the offense. Call me Charlie Brown the place kicker but I am hoping Karl finally brings a diverse, efficient and open offense to Boulder and does for Chev what Jonathan Smith did for Lingering. KD is not an ex QB like Smith but it appears we finally have a QB coach with a lot more credibility…..which will be needed. Apologies to the rest of the position, but the best possible scenario would be Lewis coming in with unfreshman like confidence, moxie and D reading ability.

    1. Well, it’s “hope springs eternal”, and not “hope late summer/early falls eternal” … sorry.
      I like your optimism – and Charlie Brown reference. I’m just deflated right now after the defection of Mel Tucker, and I need to see my new coaches with my new players to get me excited again. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.

    2. Gosh almighty ep, I guess you’re quarantined down there in the remote 4 Corner’s area of this country………time on your hands, meditating, possibly doing mystic yoga, and writing poetic, philosophical, hifalutin wordsmith type prose, regarding our beloved Buffs?

      Reminiscent of Grantland Rice and the “4 Horseman of the Apocalypse” article. Yes Buff’s Football has experienced Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death lo these many past years. But I think you have hit upon the end of all the “Stuff” (the word stuff really does not belong here with all this high- brow prose), that has plagued this program and found the key…….DIOGENES!!!!!! So glad it is peaceful and quiet and illuminating down there where the 4 states all come together. I’m all in now, ……Buff Football Forward and Upward, with a little help of a Greek Philosopher. No Hemlock for me.

      1. I am going to check with my ranching neighbor that you spelled it correctly but that one word…..hifalutin……proves you would fit right in my part of the country

  17. So, since all these so called pre-season “experts”???????? most likely would have predicted a winning season had MT not betrayed the school that gave him his first chance as a Head Coach……..we now are doomed as an also ran with a coach that has had more experience and success as a HC in college then MT, and an also long time respected coach in the NFL.

    Yes, having no Spring Practice will set us back, but the Defense will be coached by the held over DC and some other excellent coaches hired by KD. Therefore half the team (the D) should be able to continue as they finished last year. That IMHO gives us a fighting chance to be 6 & 6. All the overpaid and imbecilic prognosticators can go pound sand.

    GO BUFFS, prove’m all wrong.

    1. According to the article, “The Athlon Sports 2020 preview magazines are on newsstands nationwide on June 2” … From what they have released this spring, it should be pretty down on CU (think prediction of a 3-9 or 4-8 record) …

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