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CU at No. 15 Washington: “T.I.P.S.” for a Potential Massacre in the Making (Part III)

… Related … If you prefer your predictions verbally, “CU at the Game Podcast: “T.I.P.S.” for CU at No. 15 Washington / Plus: Representing CU at ESPN Game Day! can be found at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio, or pretty much wherever you download your favorites. Or, if you would prefer, you can listen to the podcast here at the CU at the Game website.

The last time Colorado beat Washington in Seattle … Darian Hagan was the Buff quarterback, and George Bush – as in George Herbert Walker Bush – was President.

This just in … that was a while ago.

It was 1989, and No. 5 Colorado took out No. 21 Washington, 45-28, the week after Sal Aunese died. The Buffs won going away, and it wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates, with the Buffs taking a 38-6 advantage into the fourth quarter.

I was at that game in Seattle, in the rain, lo those many years ago. I was there with my longtime best friend and current podcast partner, Brad Geiger. As fate would have it, Brad is traveling to a game this weekend, but he won’t be hopping a plane from Denver to Seattle. He is only making it as far as Bozeman, with the attraction being the “Brawl of the Wild”, the 121st matchup between the Montana State Bobcats and the hated Montana Grizzlies.

Before dismissing the matchup between the No. 3 Bobcats and the No. 12 Grizzlies as irrelevant to the college football world at large, know this … ESPN GameDay is coming to town!

Yes, in a first for a Big Sky conference program, GameDay will be in Bozeman.

Brad and I will be there, sporting our CU colors … even though it should be around zero early Saturday morning. The show, which airs from 7:00 – 10:00 a.m., MT, will actually go live before sunrise in Bozeman (which will occur around 7:25 a.m.).

It will be chilly, but not as frosty as CU’s chances at an upset over No. 15 Washington. The Huskies are 31.0-point favorites, and have all of the momentum in the world after taking down their arch-rival, Oregon, in Eugene last Saturday. As CU interim head coach Mike Sanford said at his press conference this week, Washington might be the best program in the conference, with this coming from a coach who has just faced off against Oregon and USC.

The Buffs have been 30+ point underdogs the past two weekends, and failed to beat the spread in either game.

Any reason to believe Saturday night’s game against the Huskies will be any different?

Let’s find out …

 

This Week’s “T.I.P.S” for CU at No. 15 Washington – Saturday, 7:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

T – Talent

Any guess as to which quarterback leads the FBS in passing yards?

USC’s Caleb Williams? After all, Williams just showed up CU, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns against the Buffs (not to mention his two rushing touchdowns), leading USC to a 55-17 win.

Nope. Williams is ranked 10th in the country passing yards.

Oregon’s Bo Nix? After all, Nix just showed up CU, throwing for 274 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffs (not to mention his two rushing touchdowns … and a receiving score), leading Oregon to a 49-10 win.

Nope. Nix is ranked 16th in the country in passing yards.

The nation’s leading passer is, in fact, Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr., who has thrown for 3,640 yards this season (in case you’re wondering, J.T. Shrout is 118th in the nation, with 1,100). The Indiana transfer is also second in the nation in completions per game (28.6) and 10th in passing touchdowns (25).

Penix is throwing for 364.0 yards per game, while, um, Colorado as a team is averaging 298.7 yards of total offense per game, with a high of 367 (v. Oregon).

So, yeah, let’s be clear about that: Washington quarterback Michael Penix throws for more yards per game than CU has put together as an offense in all but one game in 2022.

Penix has three favorite targets, Rome Odunze (914 receiving yards and six touchdowns), Jalen McMillan (792 yards and six touchdowns), and Ja’Lynn Polk (528 yards and five touchdowns) … CU’s leading receiver remains out-for-the-season Jordyn Tyson, with 470 yards and four touchdowns.

So … with Washington throwing the ball all the time, the Huskies must not be very good at running the ball, right?

Well, Washington is 101st in the nation in rushing, gaining just over 124 yards per game. Not great, but still better than CU’s 107th national ranking, at 115.8 yards per game. Washington’s leading rusher is Wayne Taulapapa, with 546 yards and seven touchdowns, while the second-leading rusher, Cameron Davis, has 408 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hard fact to swallow … CU has a total of 17 total offensive touchdowns on the season, six more than Washington’s backup running back …

All in all, Washington is 8th in the country in total offense, producing almost 500 yards per game, and 13th in scoring offense, posting over 38 points per game.

Yes, Virginia, it’s going to be another long night for the Colorado defense.

Now, if the Buff offense was at all effective, there are opportunities to move the ball and score against the Huskies. Washington is 70th in the nation in total defense, surrendering almost 380 yards per game, and 79th in scoring defense, giving up almost 28 points per game.

 Ten games into the 2022 season, however, there’s no reason to believe the Colorado offense will achieve those numbers … 

 

I – Intangibles 

No. 25 Washington defeated No. 6 Oregon last Saturday night, with a bizarre finish which left the Husky Nation overjoyed, and the Duck faithful asking questions.

With all due respect to Washington State and the upcoming Apple Cup, the team Washington fans want to beat most is Oregon, and Husky fans hadn’t tasted that sweet joy since 2017.

So, the check list for Washington was a fun one …

Beat arch-rival, on their home field, wrecking the Ducks’ chances at the College Football Playoff … check.

Snap a 13-game losing streak in games against ranked Oregon teams … check.

Beat Oregon for the first time ever when the Ducks were ranked in the top ten … check.

Keep alive hopes for a berth in the Pac-12 title game … with a first year head coach … after a 4-8 season … check, check, and check.

Bring the team home for a Senior Night romp and celebration … check.

Make that checkmate for Colorado.

Meanwhile, in Boulder …

To their credit, the Buff coaches and players keep saying the right things.

“Nobody’s getting down on themselves. Everybody’s still locked in. Everybody wants to win and we still have belief that we can win”, said senior running back Alex Fontenot.

“We’re just trying to work on (fixing mistakes), trying to get better”, added senior defensive lineman Jalen Sami. “And so I took a pretty much personal job to try to get us motivated. We come in everyday to practice, and just trying to get better, even though the season hasn’t gone (how we wanted).”

Now, is that the way the Buffs actually feel? Are they still playing for each other … or for their own resumes? Are they playing hard for the interim coaching staff … or auditioning for the next one, be it in Boulder or elsewhere?

Does it really even matter at this point?

 

P – Preparation/Schedule

There was a chance that the Washington game would represent the only game CU had on the November schedule against a team which was not ranked in the AP Top 25. Washington entered the poll last week as the No. 25 team, but, with a road game against No. 6 Oregon on tap, it appeared that the Huskies stay in the Top 25 would be a short one. A loss to Oregon would end Washington’s faint hopes of a Pac-12 title, and give the Buffs – perhaps – a chance to catch the Huskies napping while preparing for the Apple Cup showdown in Pullman.

A 37-34 win Eugene later, Washington is ranked No. 15, and is alive for a slot in the Pac-12 title game.

Now, it is possible, with the CU game sandwiched between Washington’s two rivalry games on the schedule, that the Huskies may be looking past the Buffs, and not give the game preparation their full attention.

Possible, but less likely, seeing as how the Huskies have more to play for than they did a week ago.

Meanwhile, in Boulder …

The CU game against USC inexplicably took forever.

Not just in emotional time for Buff fans, but in real time. The game didn’t end until after 10:30 p.m., local time, with the 3:57 of actual clock to play the game, making it the fifth-longest game in CU history, and the second-longest regulation game (topped only by the 65-51 win over Nebraska in 2007, where the 116 total points aided in the game taking over four hours to complete).

What that meant for the Buff coaches and players was getting back to Boulder around 4:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. While the Buffs have gotten used to having to get home late – both the Arizona and Oregon State road games were night games – it’s hard on the body to have to be traveling in the middle of the night … and the Buffs will be doing that again this weekend.

Want to get motivated, knowing that you are a four-touchdown underdog to a streaking team, facing a flight home afterward … and coming home to a deserted Boulder campus, with all of the other students already having left for Thanksgiving break?

Not great.

Now, the Buffs did play on Friday night last weekend, so there is an extra day of rest in there for the Buffs, a day which Washington players, getting home late last weekend after their trip to Eugene, didn’t get.

So the Buffs have that going for them … which is nice.

 

S – Statistics 

Ugh … Do we have to? Again?

Ten games into the season, we are getting into all-time ugly numbers now, numbers which are likely not going to be correctible.

The major stats …

  • Offense … Rushing (107th nationally) … Passing (117th) … Total yards (124th) … Scoring (127th);
  • Defense … Rushing (130th) … Passing (107th) … Total yards (129th) … Scoring (131st … now dead last in the country, with the nation’s No. 1 passing offense coming up).

Stats to watch (i.e, stats which will play a role in deciding the game)

  • Time of Possession … Colorado is 113th in the nation in time of possession, holding the ball for only 27 minutes of game clock per week. With Washington’s quick strike offense, holding the ball for extended drives won’t change the final outcome, but it might keep the Huskies under 60 points;
  • Chunk Plays  … Washington has a different approach to their offense than does Oregon and USC. The Ducks and Trojans prefer to throw short passes, then let their talented skill position players make moves to turn short plays into long ones. The Huskies, meanwhile, prefer to throw deep, and get huge chunks of yardage through the air. The young CU secondary has been challenged this year, but none so great as this game;
  • Turnovers … For the third straight game, CU is playing a team which is in the top ten nationally in fewest turnovers. Washington has given up only one fumble this season, to go with six interceptions. The Buff defense, meanwhile, has forced only nine turnovers in ten games (123rd nationally). If CU doesn’t want a third straight blowout of 30+ points, the Buff defense will have to pick up a handful of turnovers.

 

Prediction … 

Colorado is a 31.0-point underdog to No. 15 Washington.

Dating back to 1976, which is as far back as anyone can find odds for games, this is the first time CU has been an underdog of 30-plus points in three consecutive games.

Think about that.

Not in the 1-10 1980 season; not in the 1984 1-10 season; not in the 2-10 2006 season; not in the 1-11 2012 season … were the Buffs this far from being competitive.

CU is not just bad, but historically bad.

And how does fate reward the Buffs? By giving CU games against Top-15 teams in three consecutive weeks for the first time since weeks 7-to-9 of the 2012 season. If Utah beats Oregon this week, it will be four straight games against Top 15 teams.

Oh, and CU opens the 2023 season against currently undefeated TCU, on the road. Depending on how the sporting world looks at the 2023 Horned Frogs, it’s possible that the hapless Buffs could be playing five straight games against Top 15 teams.

Guess God has a sense of humor

Last week, I went with my heart over my head, taking the Buffs and the points.

Perhaps some reverse psychology will work, and the Buffs will find a way to keep this game (relatively) close.

Prediction … No. 15 Washington 52, Colorado 20

2022 Predictions … (Straight up: 8-2; Against the Spread: 7-3) … 

  • Prediction: Colorado 27, TCU 24 … Actual: TCU 38, Colorado 13
  • Prediction: Air Force 42, Colorado 17 … Actual: Air Force 41, Colorado 10
  • Prediction: Minnesota 49, Colorado 10 … Actual: Minnesota 49, Colorado 7
  • Prediction: UCLA 38, Colorado 13 … Actual: UCLA 45, Colorado 17
  • Prediction: Arizona 33, Colorado 14 … Actual: Arizona 43, Colorado 20
  • Prediction: California 33, Colorado 21 … Actual: Colorado 20, California 13, OT
  • Prediction: Oregon State 30, Colorado 13 … Actual: Oregon State 42, Colorado 9
  • Prediction: Arizona State 27, Colorado 17 … Actual: Arizona State 42, Colorado 34
  • Prediction: No. 8 Oregon 51, Colorado 17 … Actual: No. 8 Oregon 49, Colorado 10
  • Prediction: No. 8 USC 52, Colorado 20 … Actual: No. 8 USC 55, Colorado 17

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7 Replies to ““T.I.P.S.” for CU at No. 15 Washington”

  1. so much for game day
    I tuned in and all they were talking about was Ohio State and Maryland…..zzzzzzzz
    back to bugs and daffy

  2. Only two more games remaining and then this dreadful season will be over. Winter has finally arrived in flyover country and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Unless you’re a Buff fan the Fall went by quickly.

    Washington 45 CU 17

    Have fun at Gameday!

  3. Hey Stu, as always great job. Super impressed you can keep it going during such a hard time. I really think good scheme could fix a lot of this and keep the game tighter but I am really not expecting it. Have a great time watching a good football game!

  4. Have been to Seattle a lot and enjoyed it. So, heading there again, this time for the game among other things for a 4 day weekend. I bought the tickets when they became available since I’ve wanted to see a game at UW at some point and I had some preseason hope that Buffs would be competitive. As many long time fans, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and this game should land in the latter category. No prediction other than more of the same as previous games. Will enjoy the trip regardless of score and don my CU gear.

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