Pac-12 Notes – Air Force Week

September 10th

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Washington State upsets No. 19 Wisconsin, 17-14

From ESPN … Nakia Watson acknowledged having extra motivation this week facing his former team.

No wonder he was a little more emotional than usual afterward.

Watson scored both of Washington State’s touchdowns as the Cougars upset No. 19 Wisconsin 17-14 on Saturday. Watson rushed for 522 yards and five touchdowns at Wisconsin from 2019-20 before transferring.

“Normally, I’m not a person that cries,” Watson said afterward. “But I cried a little bit, I’m not going to lie.”

Watson scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter and put the Cougars ahead for good by turning a short completion into a 31-yard score with 5:12 left in the third period. Watson said he followed the counsel of running backs coach Mark Atuaia, who reminded him to maintain his poise at all times.

He only let his emotions out once the game ended while thanking Atuaia for the advice.

“The fireworks were going in my head when the clock hit zero,” said Watson, who had 10 carries for 33 yards.

Washington State (2-0) was about a 17-point underdog but survived a game that featured multiple bizarre plays and produced a happy homecoming for Watson and Cougars coach Jake Dickert.

Dickert was born in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, about 65 miles east of Camp Randall Stadium. Dickert played for Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2002-06, and about 200 friends and relatives gathered for a pregame tailgate.

Several of them hung around for a postgame celebration around the visitors’ locker room.

“I think a few of the are looking for some beers in the fridge that aren’t there,” Dickert quipped. “Just Gatorades and water.”

This game featured two separate plays in which one team intercepted a pass and then fumbled the ball away, creating a first down for the team that threw the pick.

Wisconsin (1-1) trailed 17-14 and faced third-and-6 from the Washington State 9 midway through the fourth quarter when defensive tackle Christian Mejia picked off a Graham Mertz pass before losing the ball. Mertz recovered the fumble at the Washington State 20, but a personal foul on tight end Clay Cundiff pushed Wisconsin back to the 35.

Cundiff then caught a 24-yard pass, but Quinn Roff forced a fumble that Sam Lockett III recovered at the 12 with 5:14 left.

Washington State never gave up possession the rest of the way.

Continue reading story here

No. 11 Oklahoma State takes out Arizona State, 34-17

From ESPN … Spencer Sanders passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 11 Oklahoma State defeated Arizona State 34-17 on a rainy Saturday night.

Sanders passed for 268 yards and ran for 54, and Dominic Richardson ran for 131 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 44 yards for the Cowboys (2-0).

Emory Jones passed for 223 yards and a touchdown and Xazavian Valladay rushed for 118 yards and a score for Arizona State (1-1).

In the second quarter, Oklahoma State’s Brock Martin’s hit Valladay hard and forced a fumble, Tyler Lacy recovered and the Cowboys took over at the Arizona State 37. Oklahoma State took advantage, and Richardson’s 3-yard touchdown run gave the Cowboys a 7-3 lead.

Later in the quarter, Sanders kept on the option for a 6-yard touchdown run to put Oklahoma State up 14-3 with just under three minutes left before halftime. His score capped an 11-play, 96-yard drive. The Cowboys tacked on a field goal to lead 17-3 at the break.

Valladay’s 1-yard touchdown run, which came shortly after a 73-yard reception by Giovanni Sanders, cut Oklahoma State’s lead to 17-10.

After an Oklahoma State field goal, Jones connected with Elijhah Badger for a 21-yard touchdown that pulled Arizona State to 20-17 with 14:25 to play. The Cowboys responded with trickery as Sanders found Bryson Green wide open on a flea-flicker, and the 31-yard score put Oklahoma State in control for good.

Continue reading story here

Cal defensive stands holds off UNLV, 20-14

From ESPN … Jaydn Ott scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air, and California’s defense stiffened late to lead the Bears to a 20-14 victory over UNLV on Saturday.

Cal (2-0) made three fourth-down stops in the second half, including a fourth and goal opportunity for the Rebels from the Cal 8 with 2:46 remaining that preserved Cal’s six-point lead.

UNLV got the ball back one more time with 1:03 remaining, but Isaiah Young intercepted UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield deep in Cal territory on the game’s final play. That clinched the Bears’ first 2-0 start since 2019 as they turn their attention to next week’s game at Notre Dame, the marquee opponent on Cal’s schedule.

“I think it’s huge for us, giving us a little bit of confidence and momentum going into a tough game,” Cal safety Daniel Scott said. “We’ve got to keep building. At the end of the day, we’re 2-0 and that’s the best part about it.”

Jack Plummer threw for 278 yards and a touchdown as the Golden Bears got off to a fast start on offense. But after taking a 20-7 lead on a Dario Longhetto field goal midway through the third quarter, Cal’s offense stalled and UNLV (1-1) grabbed momentum.

Aidan Robbins rushed for 84 yards for UNLV, including a 31-yard score in the third that brought the Rebels to within 20-14.

Three times Cal drove to UNLV’s 10-yard line or deeper and didn’t get touchdowns. The Bears settled for two field goals and Plummer was intercepted on the third drive.

“The goal, No. 1 , is to win the game, and it carries more weight than any other goal,” California coach Justin Wilcox said. “We also recognize where we need to be better.”

Continue reading story here

CSU falls 34-19 to Middle Tennessee

… The Blue Raiders lost their opener, 44-7, against James Madison …

From ESPN … Tra Fluellen returned an interception for a score on the first play from scrimmage, Frank Peasant ran for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the second quarter and Middle Tennessee never trailed as the Blue Raiders beat Colorado State 34-19 Saturday.

Peasant finished with 22 carries for 93 yards. Chase Cunningham completed 31 of 39 passes for 266 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Metcalf that gave Middle Tennessee (1-1) a 34-0 lead with 13:41 left in the third quarter.

Zeke Rankin made a 25-yard field goal in the first quarter and kicked a 35-yarder that gave the Blue Raiders a 20-0 lead with 2:20 left in the second. Christian Dixon’s strip-sack of Colorado State’s Clay Millen was recovered at 18 and three plays later Peasant’s second TD run make it 27-0 at halftime.

Millen was 20-of-30 passing for 256 yards and three touchdowns — all to Tory Holton — but threw two interceptions and was sacked nine times. Horton finished with nine receptions for 186 yards, including scoring receptions of 48, 69 and 17 yards in the third quarter for Colorado State (0-2).


September 8th

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Wilner: Take CU and the points

From the San Jose Mercury News … If the opening weekend of the 2022 season provided the Pac-12 with high-profile opportunities on big stages — opportunities since wasted — then Week Two is something entirely different.

It’s the nothing-to-lose weekend.

The Pac-12 has six non-conference matchups with Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, including showdowns with the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC.

The conference is a double-digit underdog in four of the six and a one-point favorite in a fifth — a state-of-play that’s remarkable but wholly justified based on the matchups, locations, and recent performance. (The Pac-12 was 0-3 against Power Five opponents last week and 0-3 in bowl games last season.)

Arizona State and Washington State are substantial underdogs on the road against ranked opponents (Oklahoma State and Wisconsin), respectively.

Meanwhile, Arizona is a double-digit dog, at home, against Mississippi State. (The betting public doesn’t think much of the Wildcats’ victorious opener at San Diego State.)

So gloomy is the outlook for the conference that Colorado is a 17.5-point dog against a Mountain West opponent (Air Force).

Given all that, we wouldn’t be surprised if the lone conference game of the week, USC’s trip to Stanford, somehow ended with two losses for the Pac-12.

With so many big underdogs, there’s little to lose.

Colorado at Air Force
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT) on CBS
Line: Colorado +17.5 (total: 48.5)
Comment: Which is worse: Losing by 25 points at home to TCU or being a 17.5-point underdog at Air Force? The correct answer, of course, is losing by more than 17.5 at Air Force. But we don’t think that will happen. Get ready for the JT Shrout show.
Pick: Colorado +17.5

Continue reading story here

Colorado and Oregon earn their way on to CBS’ “Bottom 25” List

From CBS Sports … There’s been a lot of media discussion about the recent decision to expand the College Football Playoff, but where was that talk last December? That’s when The Bottom 25, the most innovative, forward-thinking college football ranking in existence, expanded its playoff to 12 schools. Why hasn’t The Bottom 25 received the same kind of media blitz the College Football Playoff has?

Could it be that the evil forces behind the CFP are holding The Bottom 25 down? I don’t know, but I can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they aren’t, and neither can you. So until that happens, we must continue asking the question!

Another question you might ask is, “what is The Bottom 25?” Well, I already told you it’s the most innovative, forward-thinking college football ranking in existence, and it’s true because this is the only poll in the land that ranks the 25 worst teams in college football. And, unlike those other polls with their biases towards teams with recognizable names and helmets, there is no opinion or projection evident in The Bottom 25. This is strictly results based.

The rating system I use for these rankings is strictly reactive. Each season, every team starts with the same rating, and that rating increases or decreases based on performance in games of that season. Alabama’s recruiting rankings and Georgia’s national title don’t matter here. They start the year in the same spot as defending Bottom 25 Playoff Champion UMass.

As a result, early-season rankings can be a bit volatile. So keep that in mind before you overreact to what you see here following Week 1. Or just overreact. That’s fine too. Onto this week’s rankings!

No. 25 … Colorado … The Buffs went 4-2 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season but are 4-9 since after losing at home to TCU 38-13. Their reward is they get to be 17-point underdogs on the road against Air Force this week.

No. 12 … Oregon … There will be a lot of talk about how the Pac-12 stinks after Oregon got demolished 49-3 by Georgia, but I ask you to consider a few things. First, consider that Georgia won its eight SEC regular season games by an average of 32 points last season, with no game closer than 17. The other is that there are 131 FBS teams in the country, and Georgia’s capable of beating at least 120 of them by 46 points. The gap at the top of this sport is that wide.

No. 10 … Colorado State … Playing on the road at Michigan is a tough first game for any program, let alone one with a new head coach. The Rams got stuffed into a locker by Michigan, losing 51-7. Things should be easier this week against No. 8 Middle Tennessee.

Read full story here


September 7th

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ESPN’s “Bottom Ten” (Oregon makes the list, but not Colorado)


Inspirational thought of the week:

And you try you try so hard
But I swear it on your heart
And you play you play the game
But you pay you pay for it
You can’t win no, you can’t win no

–“You Can’t Win,” Kelly Clarkson

Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located behind the moonshine still where John Daly has his breakfast before Arkansas day games, we spent Week 1, which with games from Thursday to Monday was indeed pretty much one entire week, thinking about winning and losing. Not the difference between one and the other, but rather what it means when both feel like the same experience at the same time. As one of those goth-looking dudes on one of those cable network tattoo-contest reality shows once said when asked to describe what it feels like getting a countertop’s worth of body ink needled into one’s skin: “The sensation is pleasurably uncomfortable.”

To be clear, we weren’t going down this mental pathway because we’re considering getting Randy Edsall’s autograph emblazoned across our lower backs. No, we gave up on that dream long ago after he threatened to sue us for copyright infringement.

Instead, we are trapped in this win/loss emotional mind blender because, as you are about to read (assuming you haven’t clicked on something else already), multiple teams included in this week’s rankings had the audacity to win their games. However, those victories came against supposedly lesser opponents. And when we say lesser opponents, we mean schools we had to do an internet search on to learn where they are located and if they actually have a football team. Exactly what the athletic directors of the Bottom 10 schools had to do when it came time to put together a schedule that might produce some wins, even if those W’s ultimately wound up feeling like L’s.

Like, say, two L’s at the end of Edsall as it is injected into the epidermis just above your L5 lumbar vertebrae.

5. Oregon … DUCK! (0-1)

As in, “Duck! Dive! Dodge! There’s another Georgia defender coming! And he’s chewing on another page of Dan Lanning’s playbook!”

Waiting List: No-braska, Virginia Tech No-kies, Minute Rice, Whew Mexico, ULM (pronounced “ulm”), UTEP Minors, dropping 2-point conversions, refusing to uncross one’s arms for four hours.

Read full story here


September 6th 

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Oregon out of AP Top 25; USC into the Top 10

From ESPN … The AP Top 25 college football poll is out after a wild weekend of games.

Week 1 saw USC return three interceptions for touchdowns, Michigan and Ole Miss keep their quarterback competitions open, the return of the Backyard Brawl, a triple-overtime thriller, then-unranked Florida upsetting a then-top-10 Utah team and much, much more.

Others receiving votesOregon 131, Penn State 122, Texas 118, Cincinnati 63, Florida State 42, UCF 22, Fresno State 22, Minnesota 22, Kansas State 18, Auburn 15, Mississippi State 10, Air Force 8, Oregon State 5, North Carolina 3, South Carolina 2, Purdue 1, UCLA 1, Arizona 1

Dropped from rankings: Oregon 11, Cincinnati 23


September 5th

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Pac-12 lines: Four Pac-12 teams double-digit underdogs (two favored by 45+ points)


Saturday, September 10th (Pac-12 underdogs in bold) …

  • Southern Utah at Utah … 11:30 a.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Utah favored by 45.5 points
  • Colorado at Air Force … 1:30 p.m., MT, CBS … Air Force favored by 17.0 points 
  • Washington State at Wisconsin … 1:30 p.m., MT, Fox … Wisconsin favored by 17.0 points 
  • Portland State at Washington … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Washington favored by 28.5 points
  • UNLV at California … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … California favored by 13.5 points
  • Alabama State at UCLA … 3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … UCLA favored by 50.5 points
  • Arizona State at Oklahoma State … 5:30 p.m., MT, ESPN2 … Oklahoma State favored by 11.5 points 
  • USC at Stanford … 5:30 p.m., MT, ABC … USC favored by 11.5 points
  • Eastern Washington at Oregon … 6:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Oregon favored by 20.0 points
  • Oregon State at Fresno State … 8:30 p.m., MT, CBS Sports Network … Fresno State favored by 1.5 points
  •  Mississippi State at Arizona … 9:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Mississippi State favored by 11.5 points


September 4th

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UCLA sets record low attendance at the Rose Bowl: 27, 143

From YardBarker … UCLA may be off to a 1-0 start this season, but they set an embarrassing record in Saturday’s home opener.

UCLA’s attendance for their game against Bowling Green was said to be 27,143, which is a record-low mark for the Bruins at the Rose Bowl.

Here is a video showing what the attendance in the stadium looked like. The attendance didn’t even seem to be anything more than a few thousand people.

What is going on? There was a big heat wave in the Los Angeles area, and it was well over 100 degrees during game time in Pasadena, Calif. There is also very little shade at the Rose Bowl, meaning anyone who attended the 11:30 a.m. kickoff would have been baking in the sun.

The heat was probably the biggest reason for the low attendance mark. Other contributing factors include: the poor quality of opponent, students not attending due to school not being in session yet, and the program’s lack of success since 2016.

Georgia’s Kirby Smart on domination of Oregon: “They know that we’ve got better players”

From The Athletic … Dan Lanning went to Oregon to win a national championship. His first game showed him just how much work is left to be done.

Lanning has prioritized associating with a winner whenever he’s coached as an assistant, from Georgia to Alabama to Memphis. He won a national title as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator last year, and he’s quick to point out that only nine teams have played for a national title in the past 12 years and Oregon has done it twice. It’s why he took the job.

But Saturday’s 49-3 beatdown by those same Bulldogs was a measuring stick, and the No. 11 Ducks didn’t measure up.

No. 3 Georgia scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions. The Dawgs averaged 9.2 yards per play. They converted nine of 10 third downs. This game was never close, and when Bo Nix threw his second interception in the second quarter, everyone in Mercedes-Benz Stadium knew it was about to get out of hand.

“(Lanning) knows that we’ve got better players,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said after the game. “He’ll never say it, but he knows we’ve got better players, and I respect how he works.”

That’s the reality of the top of college football, where less than a handful of teams have most of the top talent.

At that level — the level Oregon wants to reach — you need elite talent. The Ducks are seventh in 247Sports’ team talent rankings, which compiles the high school recruiting rankings of every player on the team. That looks more than respectable, sure. But Georgia is second. The teams have a similar number of former four-star recruits (Georgia’s 52 to Oregon’s 47), but the Bulldogs have 15 former five-star players to Oregon’s five (and one of those was Nix, the Auburn transfer whose career has not lived up to that billing).

While the teams are just five spots apart in the rankings, their talent-score point difference nearly equals that of Oregon’s distance from Auburn and Tennessee, which are ranked 18th and 19th, respectively.

Continue reading story here


September 3rd

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Air Force rushes for 582 yards on 62 carries in 48-17 rout of Northern Iowa 

From ESPN … Haaziq Daniels completed three passes for 109 yards and carried it 12 times for 107 as Air Force opened the season with a 48-17 victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Daniels’ first pass of the game went for an 80-yard touchdown as he scrambled and found Dane Kinamon wide open along the left sideline. It was the eighth longest pass play in program history. Kinamon also broke loose for a 71-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

Air Force led 27-3 at halftime. Daniels had 102 yards passing with a touchdown and 107 yards rushing, including a 12-yard touchdown. Kinamon had two rushes for 77 yards in the first half and one reception for 80 yards.

Air Force gained 582 yards on 62 carries and the Falcons’ defense held UNI to 405 total yards. Brad Roberts, Jalen Johnson, Kinamon and Jensen Jones each had a rushing touchdown. Roberts rushed for a team-high 114 yards, including his 71-yard touchdown.

Theo Day threw for 286 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for Northern Iowa.

No. 7 Utah falls to Florida, 29-26 on last minute end zone interception

From ESPN … Anthony Richardson ran for three scores in his second career start, including a 2-yard scamper with 1:25 remaining, and Florida upset seventh-ranked Utah 29-26 on Saturday night to get the Billy Napier era off to a rousing start.

Richardson was the best player on the field most of the night. He really showed up down the stretch, although linebacker Amari Burney was the guy who sealed the victory for the Gators.

Burney intercepted Cam Rising’s second-down pass into the end zone with 17 seconds remaining. That set off a wild celebration that surely will last long into the night.

Richardson took a knee from there, and the Gators stormed the field to revel in their 33rd consecutive victory in home season openers. That’s the longest current streak in the nation.

Richardson ran 11 times for 106 yards and was never stopped for a loss. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 168 yards and played turnover-free football.

His best play? He had an electrifying 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter that put the Gators up 22-19. He juked former Florida teammate Mohamoud Diabate with a pump fake and then sprinted right by fellow Utah linebacker Lander Barton before throwing a strike to Ja’Quavion Fraziers in the back of the end zone.

Utah answered and took the lead briefly, but Richardson did it again. He moved the chains with a third-down throw and again with a fourth-down run, both of which set up his game winner.

Rising moved the Utes in position to steal one on the road for a team that entered the season with its highest preseason ranking in school history. But Rising’s last pass was his most important — or costly — of the night.

Rising completed 22 of 32 passes for 216 yards, with a touchdown and the turnover. He also ran for 91 more.

Tavion Thomas had 115 yards rushing and a score for Utah, which caught a break when it rained about two hours before kickoff and erased whatever advantage Florida had with sweltering summer heat and humidity.


Utah: The defending Pac-12 champions showed resiliency on the road, battling back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Rising, Thomas and Micah Bernard were as good as advertised on the ground, and Brant Kuithe (9 catches for 105 yards and a TD) showed why he’s considered one of the best tight ends in the country. Despite the loss, the Utes have enough talent and experience to still be a factor in the College Football Playoff.

Continue reading story here


13 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Air Force Week”

  1. WOW, WSU a program that was struggling to get any wins before the Pirate came to town (they were bad & CU would beat them) and looked like it was going to fall apart after the last dumpster fire of a coach they hired. AND, here they are, a school in the middle of no where and they can hire a coach that can recruit and win against a 17 point spread and a ranked opponent… ON THE ROAD!

    Oh, and two of those players that were described by the coach as “me first” and the rooms would be stronger with out them, did pretty well starting & playing on a NC contending team. You know the ones that everyone said would ride the bench there? The ones that started or played in the 1st quarter?

    Colorado was mentioned a lot in that win… Just it was only as the school they transferred from, which was mentioned Multiple Times!

  2. Glad to see Oregon out of the AP… bring their egos down a couple of notches. PAC-12 hopes lie with SC or to a lesser degree Utah from here on out

  3. Buffs are not good and it’s about coaching….duh. Yeah BB is better but how many championships has Tad brought us…the administration doesn’t care. They are more interested in saving whales and climate change.

  4. Players oh the players.

    So about this game Friday night.

    I must admit I was dissapointed………………….a lot……………..about a few things.

    1. The qb starter was wrong. Okay ya made a mistake. Then ya repeated in to start the 2nd half. Loyalty is sweet, but can lead to a false security and a real stupidly. Okay fix it. One had his now give the other his due. The season ain’t over and the qb does make the entire difference. Score and everybody is happy.

    2. Now some of those play calls looked like the ghost of chev was in the press box. The first one? Almost crapped my pants. So do the exorcism and fix it.
    3. Having the oline play multiple positions is not as good as have the oline really really good at one position.
    4. The front 7 on defense appeared perplexed a times. Too many rotations and modifications.

    5. Db’s are gonna be great.

    6 the team looked tired in the 2nd half. Next night game practice at night the entire week of the game.

    I am deeply disappointed in the result. A bit less disappointed in the effort and a bit more disappointed in the overall game plan and execution. But as a qualifier, the qb decision and the repeat of that decision was the main issue in the whole game. Team felt it too. Fix it and don’t look back.

      1. Naw earache. Just some observations. Not calling for the whole departments heads like you are. Yur not too subtle in your rants actually.

        I will root for 23 when it is time.

        Go buffs

        1. No subtlety needed. I do t think Rick and Lance have managed the football program well. Rick is very good at raising and managing money. Football has not been his strength. And basketball has tad.

          If Karl is let go this year, Rick and Lance should be too. I hope that doesn’t go that way. Not a fan of constant coaching churn.

          Go Buffs

          1. There ya go earache. Beating the drums.

            Go Buffs.

            I think…………..i hope……………….” not a fan of the coaching churn”…………translation…………….wacmac should still be HC

            Ye ha Buffies whip the zoomies……….”Patriots, and Hawks and Stingers, oh my”

          2. Been a Buff fan since I got there in 1988. Never have I called for anyone to be fired.

            Not sure when you jumped on the bandwagon, but you call for a firing every year. How’s that worked out?

            I say give everyone 2023.

            If that doesn’t work out? Raze the athletic department and start over. With overt admi support.

            Go Buffs

    1. On the post-game show with Barnett and Johnson, Barnett mentioned that “secondary players not being able to tackle has been a concern all training camp”.

      The secondary players aren’t going to be covering WRs very often when teams realize they can just throw bubbles for fifteen yards or run outside right at them.

      I’m starting to worry that this will be Embree vs Oregon/USC/etc all over.

  5. Hey, what’s that? It takes good players to win games? Yer kiddin?!

    That’s why the nfl gives the worst team first pick. Same with the nba.

    The modern era of college football has stratified the talent more than ever.

    That should be part of the conversation of the sport’s future. Gotta be like art modell said, and be a republican organization, who votes socialist.

    The pac 12 put 22 guys into the nfl last draft. Georgia put fifteen. Including five first round picks.

    And in the meantime, get some good recruiters in Boulder. They may have some, and I hope they get a chance to prove it.

    Go Buffs

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