CU at No. 8 USC: “T.I.P.S.” for a Potential Massacre in the Making (Part II)

… Related … If you prefer your predictions verbally, “CU at the Game Podcast: “T.I.P.S.” for CU at No. 8 USC / Plus: CU’s Unexpected Bump in Recruiting Commitments, 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.

Colorado is 0-15 all-time against USC.

The only other team which CU has played as many as four times without a victory is … well, no one.

Colorado is 0-3 all-time v. Florida State and 0-3 all-time v. Michigan State, but that’s as bad as it gets for the Buffs against any program not known as USC.

The Buffs have been close at times against the Trojans (14-0 in 1962; 17-14 in 2000; 27-24 in 2015; 21-17 in 2016; 35-31 in 2019), but there have also been a number of blowouts (40-3 in 2002; 42-17 in 2011; 50-6 in 2012; 56-28 in 2014).

Fifteen opportunities – fifteen losses.

After this weekend, it will likely be sixteen.

After USC bolts to play in the Big Ten after the 2023 season, the “rivalry” will probably be up to a count of 0-17, and stuck on that number for the foreseeable future.

If you are a Buff fan, it will probably be “good riddance”, as it’s has been an unbroken string of “L’s” for the CU program since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.

Colorado is a 34.0-point underdog to No. 8 USC … with the game to be shown to a national television audience on Friday night.

The Buffs may have been a bigger underdogs to the Trojans early for earlier games in the series (especially in the early 2010s), but not by much.

And now CU’s biggest weapon on offense, wide receiver Jordyn Tyson, is out for the season.

Can it get any worse for the Colorado football program?

Let’s find out …


This Week’s “T.I.P.S” for CU at No. 8 USC – Friday, 7:30 p.m., MT, FS1

T – Talent

How deep is the talent on the USC roster?

Let’s put it this way … Star wide receivers Jordan Addison (39 catches for 585 yards and seven touchdowns) and Mario Williams (26 catches for 493 yards and four touchdowns)  were both out due to injury for the Cal game.

No problem. Quarterback Caleb Williams still threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns against the Bears … and the Trojans scored 42 points.

With Addison and Williams out, super “subs” were inserted. Michael Jackson III had five catches for 115 yards and two scores against the Bears, while Tahj Washington had seven catches for 112 yards and another score. (In case you were wondering, CU defector Brenden Rice had two catches for 17 yards v. Cal, and has 23 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown for the season).

It’s plug and play for the Trojans’ offense … and don’t think that USC is one-dimensional. Former Oregon running back Travis Dye, who had 98 rushing yards and a touchdown against Cal, has 858 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Oh, and not that CU has much of a pass rush, but, even when teams have put pressure on Caleb Williams this season, he has demonstrated the ability to get away. Williams has 287 yards rushing on the season, with four rushing touchdowns (CU’s leading rusher, Deion Smith, has 381 yards and two touchdowns).

Put together, USC is averaging almost 500 yards of total offense (9th in the nation), and 41 points per game (7th in the nation) … numbers not dissimilar from what Oregon brought to Folsom Field last weekend.

It may be just me, but it sounds like a long night for the CU defense.

Now, as was the case with Oregon, with such a prolific offense, the defense hasn’t needed to be more than average. The Trojans are giving up 409 yards per game, which is no better than 95th nationally, and 25 points per game (60th in the country).

The Buffs had a season-high 367 yards of total offense against Oregon, but still netted only 10 points.

Against the Trojans, it might be a good idea – if the Buffs can get as many yards – not to turn the ball over three times, miss a field goal, and turn the ball over on downs three times.

Just sayin’ …


I – Intangibles 

Christian Gonzalez sure embarrassed his former team last weekend. The Buff defector had two interceptions for the Ducks, helping to give the Oregon two short fields, with the net result being a 28-10 third quarter score quickly turning into a 42-10 laugher.

What I didn’t get was the ESPN highlight of the interception being labeled: “Christian Gonzalez gets revenge vs. former team”.


It’s not like CU put Gonzalez on waivers, or traded him for future draft picks. Gonzalez left for a better team, and a better NIL deal. If anything, it should have been CU trying to exact “revenge” on the player who abandoned them.

“Yeah, that was great”, said Gonzalez after the game. “Real fun coming back, seeing everybody I know. Just playing in an environment I was at for two years it was just really fun and I had a lot of fun.”

Yeah, real “fun”.

So, not to be cynical or anything, but don’t be surprised if Brenden Rice is on the field when USC gets into the red zone, so that he can have some “fun” at CU’s expense, also.

Meanwhile, in Boulder …

How do you pump up a roster which is getting embarrassed every week, is a national punchline, and is ridiculed at every turn on CU fan site message boards?

… And just lost their best player for the season?

Jordyn Tyson gave Buff fans something to get excited about, something to cheer for on an offense which is averaging only 15.6 points per game (129th in the nation).

And now he’s out for the year … and, with the way CU deals with NIL and transfers, may never play for the Buffs again.

Interim head coach Mike Sanford is doing an outstanding job in trying to keep the team motivated, and trying keep the team together in absurdly difficult times (picking up two new additions to the CU Recruiting Class of 2023 in the past two weeks?!?). Sure, he is auditioning for his next job, and wants to do as well as he can, but he hasn’t done or said anything negative about the University of Colorado and its roster, despite plenty of reasons to do so.

But what does Sanford tell the team, a five-touchdown underdog, to motivate them to play well against USC, especially with two more ranked teams, Washington and Utah, waiting to take their turns at the punching bag?

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea.


P – Preparation/Schedule

If there was ever a “let down, look ahead” game for the Trojans, the game against Colorado would fit the bill.

The Trojans are 34-point favorites, playing at home against a team they have never lost to in their history, with two big games left on the schedule after the Buffs.

A classic trap game.

Think the Trojans are motivated to play the Buffs (other than the backups, who are looking for some second half playing time)?

Not with their next two games on the schedule, they’re not.

After playing Colorado, USC finishes the season with games at UCLA, and at home against Notre Dame. If Utah loses on the road to Oregon next weekend, a win over the Bruins would lock up a spot for the Trojans in the Pac-12 title game (against the Ducks). The game against Notre Dame won’t influence USC’s Pac-12 title hopes, but will keep them alive for a College Football Playoff spot (with a potential win over the Irish now looking more impressive, in light of what Notre Dame did to No. 4 Clemson last weekend).

So, it’s all there in front of them for the Trojans … win out, and good things happen.

USC still has two intriguing games left to play, and one scrimmage where the biggest issue is not getting anyone hurt.


Meanwhile, in Boulder …

The Buffs are off to Los Angeles, where the Buffs are 0-7 against the Trojans. A night game, meaning the Buffs will get back home to Boulder around 3:00 a.m.

Next weekend, it will be another road trip, again to the west coast, to face a Washington team they haven’t defeated in Seattle since the epic 1989 game the week after Sal Aunese died.

After night game, with another late night flight home, getting into Boulder around 3:00 a.m.

Back-to-back road games, both against ranked teams (at least this week. Washington is ranked 24th this week, but is playing Oregon on the road. Translation: The Huskies might not be ranked next week).

Both games slated for p.m. kickoffs, meaning that the Buffs will have to sit around in their hotel rooms all day Saturday, with a late night flight to look forward to after the game.

Not a great scenario for a good team with bowl games and championships to play for.

For the Buffs … it’s just plain ugly.


S – Statistics 

Ugh … Do we have to?

You just have to laugh … to keep from crying.

The major stats, this far into the season, are now getting well into the “all-time low in CU history” range …

  • Offense … Rushing (109th nationally) … Passing (110th) … Total yards (122nd) … Scoring (129th);
  • Defense … Rushing (130th) … Passing (94th) … Total yards (128th) … Scoring (130th).

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

  • Gas prices in Los Angeles … If gas remains super expensive in the Los Angeles area this week, and the buses taking the Trojans to the Coliseum run out of gas … Well, that’s about the only way Colorado would win this game – by forfeit;
  • Brenden Rice targets  … As noted above, USC played last weekend against Cal without its top two wide receivers, Mario Williams and Jordan Addison. Even with the top two targets out, CU defector Brenden Rice still had only two catches for 17 yards against the Bears. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if, when the Trojans are in the red zone, that Rice is in the game and gets his number called by the USC coaching staff. Why not kick the Buffs just a little bit more when they’re down?; and
  • Turnovers … Colorado’s defense has generated a grand total of seven turnover this season, while the CU offense has given up 17 turnovers. The minus-ten turnover ratio is 129th in the country. How’s this: CU gets back to even this season by going a plus-ten on turnovers against USC. If the Trojans turn the ball over on virtually every possession this Friday … CU could actually win the game (just sayin’) …


Prediction … 

Colorado is a 34.0-point underdog to No. 8 USC.

That’s the worst line in Power Five football this week. The only other lines I could find involving Power Five teams which were as high as three touchdowns:

  • Indiana is a 31.5-point underdog on the road against Ohio State;
  • Navy is a 21.5-point underdog on the road against Notre Dame;
  • Stanford is a 24.5-point underdog on the road against Utah; and

The only line which might bring about a smile … Nebraska is a 24.5-point underdog on the road against Michigan.

No one is seeing the Buffs as getting anything other than a participation certificate in their game against USC.

Yes, the USC defense has given up points … In their last three games, the Trojans have surrendered 43 points to Utah; 37 points to Arizona; and 35 points to Cal.

If only Colorado had an offense which could actually score 30 or more points.

My brain says go with USC plus-anything.

My heart says the Buffs will get some points in garbage time to cover the huge spread.

Prediction … No. 8 USC 52, Colorado 20

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

  • 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


9 Replies to ““T.I.P.S.” for CU at No. 8 USC”

  1. They’re playing for pride. Oh, and for the so cal recruits. I just want to see jt’s accuracy and completion percentage improve. Miracles happen, especially in college football. Let’s see that stunning upset Friday night (which would also mean beating the spread).

    Go Buffs

    1. miracle?
      Caleb comes down with the flu
      the front seven play out of their minds containing the run game allowing the D backs, to cover the jittery back up qb’s passes instead of being the leading tacklers.
      Rice fumbles twice deep in his own territory, which the Buffs have to recover.
      finally an alien ship hovering in orbit that has a lot of money on the Buffs in Vegas sends a will sapping beam down on the USC players.
      and then there is your usual hedge. Maybe all the aliens have to do is cover the spread.

        1. Oh crap! I realized, this game’s on Friday. No miracles that day. Never. The curmudgeon’s right. We’re screwed. Nah. Could still happen!

          Go Buffs

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