CU vs. Oregon: “T.I.P.S.” for a Potential Massacre in the Making

… Related … If you prefer your predictions verbally, “CU at the Game Podcast: “T.I.P.S.” for CU vs. Oregon: Should McCown Sit Out? / Plus: The Buffs4Life Collective – CU’s First Baby Step Back to Respectability?, 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.

Is it just me, or does it seem like we’re back to the early days of the Pac-12?

You remember … The days when Oregon was ranked as a Top Ten team, and Colorado wasn’t even in the Top Ten … in its own conference?

The CU/Oregon scores were telling:

  • 2011 … Oregon 45, Colorado 2
  • 2012 … Oregon 70, Colorado 14
  • 2013 … Oregon 57, Colorado 16
  • 2014 … Oregon 44, Colorado 10
  • 2015 … Oregon 41, Colorado 24

The Buffs, of course, broke the streak with the upset win in Eugene in 2016, with Ahkello Witherspoon’s interception in the end zone in the final minute preserving the 41-38 victory.

Is it possible the Buffs pull off another unexpected upset of the Ducks?

Possible? Yes.

Likely. No.

Here are the highlights from the 2016 game, to help you get through the week …

How might the Buffs, with a 15th losing season in the past 17 seasons already guaranteed, play out the string in November, with games against No. 8 Oregon, No. 9 USC, and No. 12 Utah (throwing in a “breather” on the road against Washington)?

Let’s find out …


This Week’s “T.I.P.S” for CU vs. Oregon – Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

T – Talent

Welcome to the Oregon national audition tour.

With the College Football Playoff rankings out for the first time this week, the Oregon Ducks are on the outside looking in. This is not surprising, owing to the Ducks falling 49-3 to Georgia in the season opener.

Since the Labor Day weekend beatdown, however, Oregon is undefeated. The Ducks are 7-1, 5-0 in Pac-12 play, and have scored 42 or more points in every game since the debacle against Georgia. Quarterback Bo Nix, who had a mixed career at Auburn, has been posting better numbers statistically than did Oregon heroes Marcus Mariota and Justin Herbert.

Nix is completing 72% of his passes, throwing for over 2,200 yards, with 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Perhaps an even more remarkable stat … Nix has been sacked only once this season. Oh, and Nix has 60 carries for 441 yards … and 11 more touchdowns. For perspective, CU’s offense has 14 total offensive touchdowns on the year (CU’s leading rusher, Deion Smith, has 354 yards and two touchdowns).

There has been some mention that Nix should be included in the Heisman trophy conversation, but that will only happen if: 1) quarterbacks for other national powers suffer losses; and 2) if Nix continues to put up video game numbers the remainder of the regular season against the Pac-12.

The Ducks can’t do anything about the first criterion, but the do control the second … which doesn’t bode well for the Buffs.

So, who does Nix has for weapons?

The rushing attack is a three-headed monster, with Nix and his 441 rushing yards third on the team. Bucky Irving leads the team with 568 rushing yards, while Noah Whittington has 475. Both have two rushing scores to supplement the 11 Nix has scored.

Four different wide outs have at least 200 receiving yards, led by Troy Franklin, with 38 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns, and Chase Cota, who has 24 catches for 219 yards.

With an amazing offense, the Oregon defense has only had to be adequate to be effective. The Ducks are 76th in total defense on the season, giving up 386.0 yards per game (CU’s high for the season came last weekend, with 359 total yards against Arizona State), with Oregon opponents scoring over 28 points per game (81st nationally).

In case you are wondering how CU defector Christian Gonzalez is doing … Gonzalez is fifth on team with 32 tackles (25 solo). He leads the defense in passes defended, with seven (no one else on the team has more than three), and has one of Oregon’s eight interceptions. More than one draft publication has Gonzalez, only a sophomore, as a first round NFL draft pick if he chooses to come out after this season.


I – Intangibles

All things considered, it may have been better if the CU/Oregon had been banished to the 8:30 FS1 slot.

The game against the Buffs and Ducks was one of three games which was put on a six-day hold, with the game time not announced until after last Saturday’s games were played.

Considering that there were no upsets in the Pac-12 last weekend, it seems that the Oregon game was destined for the 1:30 ESPN slot unless the Ducks somehow stumbled against Arizona.

Now, the Ducks, trying to gain the attention of the College Football Playoff committee, have a national audience on Saturday to show how they have moved past the 49-3 pasting by Georgia in the season opener, and will have plenty of incentive to destroy the Buffs.

(It isn’t also beyond the realm of the reasonable to assume that the Pac-12, wanting to showcase Oregon to try and enhance the Pac-12’s chances at a CFP berth, lobbied to get the Ducks on the national stage, even at the expense of sacrificial lamb Colorado).

All this doesn’t bode well for the CU football program this weekend …

Meanwhile, in Boulder …

Until last Saturday’s loss, the Buffs were still technically in the running for a bowl invitation and a winning season. With CU’s schedule, no one realistically thought that would happen … but there is a difference between being realistically eliminated (which the Buffs were after the Air Force game) and the officially eliminated.

What will the attitude be of the 1-7 Buffs?

The post-game quote by running back Deion Smith may be telling:

“At the end of the day, regardless if we are going to a bowl or not, every week is your resume. A good percentage of these guys want to play at the next level, just like I do. So, regardless of if you have a bowl game to expect or another game next week, every time you strap up, you’ve got to put your best on [your] resume. So, these [next] four games, I feel like for me and just talking to the guys, trying to be a leader on the team. I want to spread that everyday is an opportunity. We never really know when we’re not going to be able to play this game again. We’ve just got to keep putting stuff on tape, keep putting stuff on the resume. I feel like that’s the best way to look about it.”

Glass half-full?

Smith is a true leader, and is trying to instill in his teammates that he has learned from being out with an injury, and they should be grateful for every opportunity to play, and give it their all.

Glass half-empty?

Take the “resume” reference literally. The message to the team: “Play for yourselves, and put good efforts on film … so you’ll have more options when it comes time to transfer to during the offseason”.


P – Preparation/Schedule

Oregon was on the road last weekend, taking on Cal. The Ducks dispatched the Bears, 42-24, for their seventh straight win.

Now the Ducks are back on the road. The last Oregon went on the road for back-to-back games, in 2020, the Ducks lost the back end of the trip.

The time before that, in 2018? The Ducks lost the back end of the trip.

The time before that, in 2017? The Ducks lost the back end of the trip.

The time before that, in 2016? The Ducks lost the back end of the trip.

Ergo … History tells us that the Ducks are going to lose this weekend … So the Buffs have that going for them, which is nice …

Another factor which may have an impact the final score (if not the winner of the game) may be Oregon’s next opponent. The Ducks will return home next weekend to face Washington. It’s not only a rivalry game, but a spotlight game which Oregon needs in order to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive.

If the Ducks get up early against the Buffs – and there’s little reason to believe they won’t, considering CU has been outscored 75-13 in the first quarter this season – the Oregon coaching staff might want to call of the dogs, fearing injury to its better players.

That won’t help the Buffs pull of an upset, but it may keep the score from getting completely out of hand.

Meanwhile, in Boulder …

The Buffs are home for back-to-back weekends for the first time – and only time – all season.

Instead of the usual practices Sunday night, Mike Sanford did something different:

“And then at the very end of our position meetings, we had the coaches’ families, the kids all came in Halloween costumes. Each one of the position groups served as a house. We had all the kids knocking on the doors of the position rooms and had a pretty festive trick-or-treating deal. We all know that we want to win football games and that’s what we’re here to do. It’s a business. 100 percent. And that is why we spent the time in the meeting. But there is also life outside of football. I think just doing that tonight, we were able to put a disappointing result behind us and move on to our preparation for Oregon. We capped it off by having a big pizza gathering with families and players.”

Will it help?

Probably not … but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to try and break the pattern …


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 getting into “all-time low” range …

  • Offense … Rushing (108th nationally) … Passing (114th) … Total yards (123rd) … Scoring (126th);
  • Defense … Rushing (130th) … Passing (88th) … Total yards (128th) … Scoring (129th).

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

  • Chunk Plays … Colorado made Arizona State look like a track team … Xazavian Valladay had a 42-yard run … Elijah Badger had a 37-yard reception … Messiah Swinson had a 35-yard reception … Jaylin Conyers had a 32-yard reception … etc., etc., etc. The Buffs have given up 55 plays in eight games which have gone for 20 yards or more (a mind-numbing seven/game … nine by Arizona State). If the Ducks get close to ASU’s numbers – and there is little reason to believe they won’t – it will be a long afternoon for the CU defense (BTW: CU has 27 plays over 20 yards or more, less than half of its opponents);
  • Time of Possession  … No, it’s not a vital statistic, but it will make a difference in keeping it close. Colorado is averaging 27:29 in possession per game, 114th in the nation. If the Buffs let the Ducks have 32:31 of possession this weekend … Well, it ain’t gonna be pretty …
  • Turnovers … Colorado’s defense has generated a grand total of seven turnover this season, while the CU offense has given up 14 turnovers. The minus-seven turnover ratio is 119th in the country. How’s this: CU gets back to even this season by going a plus-seven on turnovers against Oregon. If that happens … CU could actually win the game (just sayin’) …


Prediction … 

Colorado is a 31.5-point underdog to No. 8 Oregon … CU’s first ranked opponent of the season.

I was actually surprised that the line wasn’t higher. I was thinking it would be in the 38-40 point range (Ohio State is giving 37.5 points on the road against Northwestern).

Oregon, after its embarrassing 49-3 loss to Georgia, has been on a roll, with the Ducks scoring 40 points or more in every game. No one has slowed down this offense, and CU doesn’t have the defense to slow that trend.

That being said, the Ducks can be scored upon. Every team this side of the Eastern Washington Eagles from the Big Sky Conference have scored at least 20 points this season.

Since the Buffs beat the spread against Arizona State, I’m tempted to go with CU, and take the 31.5 points.

But, based upon CU’s success this season against teams with a pulse, I’m not convinced that’s a good idea.

CU’s average score in games played in the first eight games this season: 39-16.

CU’s average score against Oregon in games played between 2011 and 2015: 51-17.

It would be a win if the Buffs “only” lost by their season average.

Let’s go with the historical average …

Prediction … No. 8 Oregon 51, Colorado 17

2022 Predictions … (Straight up: 6-2; Against the Spread: 6-2) … 

  • 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


11 Replies to ““T.I.P.S.” for CU v. Oregon”

  1. Big shout out to Rick and Lance. Thanks again guys. It only took 9 years to destroy the hopes of Buff Nation on the gridiron.

    Gotta get this next hire right.

    I just hope to see some fight and improvement, at this point. The score is likely to get out of hand.

    Go Buffs

    1. Yur shoutouts are like going 30-44 and 14-39
      Penny up Bubbs

      Rick didn’t hire that disaster of a coach mcfakemeister from boise, or the wack from the mac. That is where is started. Put the blame on Bohn for lying about who they were. But I do blame rick for not firing macwac the moment he got on campus. That could have ended it right there. And should have.

      Go Buffies.

      Note: Redshirt the kid qb and all other frosh you can. They next four games are frigging irrelevant.

        1. Why? Because I give Rick credit for raising and managing money, while also helping bury the football program? Ok. Got it. Lance is the GM of football. They may need to go in another direction. Dumpster fire might be too kind a descriptor for 2022’s season. I guess you like uncompetitive football that is statistically the worst in the nation? Yep. True Buff right there, I guess?

          Retaining the players is going to be the biggest job of the next staff. Followed quickly by getting more. Losing another 20-25 from this roster will not help. As I’ve said all year, there is some talent there. Just young talent. They’re really not in a position to have “good attrition” as some people claimed last year’s departures were.

          Go Buffs

    1. I will go 62 tp 17 and I hardly ever make point predictions. I watched the ducks run through the bruins like brushing off flies. I will give the Buffs an extra TD because even though the ducks will be looking for playoff “style points” they will still be playing second stringers after a 40 something point first half.

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