Friday Fast Facts – USC Week

Leading off …

— “T.I.P.S” … Our weekly preview postings are available for your review and comment. My weekly written preview, along with my predictions for the Buffs’ attempt for a first-ever win v. USC can be found here. The CU at the Game Podcast Review/Preview, looking back at the mauling in Eugene, and previewing the USC game, can be found at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or … it can also be found here.


Big Picture … 

What’s next? … Sanders said he has carefully watched how his assistants have reacted this week in the wake of CU’s first loss. “The coaches have been responding,” Sanders said. “They have taken it upon themselves to make the necessary changes. Scheming a little differently, because you have to understand that four games of film on us really predicates what we’re going to do and where we are.”

When games are sold out, new rules come into play … A new student-only entrance will be in place for this game and all games moving forward. All student sports pass tickets must enter through the student gate at the southeast entrance. Students will not be permitted to enter any other entrance to the stadium and all other fans are not permitted to use the student entrance. Wristbands are now REQUIRED in the entire student section, and any patrons without a wristband will be removed.

— FOX BIG NOON KICKOFF—The fan pit opens at 6 a.m. on Farrand Field with the show starting at 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Fox Big Noon will also be giving away t-shirts, gift cards, and prizes ahead of the show. This will be the third weekend in the 2023 season in which the Fox pregame show is originating in Boulder (including the Nebraska and CSU games). Including the TCU game in Ft. Worth, Colorado has been a part of the featured game for the Big Noon Kickoff for four of the first five weeks of the 2023 season;

Ratings records continue to fall … While there is some dispute as to whether CU/Oregon was a bigger draw than the Notre Dame/Ohio State game (NBC uses a separate measurement service — Adobe Analytics — to calculate its streaming audience. For the other networks, including ESPN and ABC, streaming viewership is included in Nielsen’s figures.). In any event, in the first four weeks of the 2023 season, Colorado has been a part of four of the seven-most watched games:

1Ohio State-Notre DameWeek 45.110.6M
2Colorado-OregonWeek 45.210.0M
3Colorado-Colorado StateWeek 34.99.3M
4Florida State-LSUWeek 14.79.2M
5Texas-AlabamaWeek 24.58.8M
6Colorado-NebraskaWeek 24.88.8M
7Colorado-TCUWeek 13.87.3M

But wait, there’s more … In just four weeks this season, six games have averaged at least eight million viewers — one shy of last year’s full regular season total. Anyone want to place a bet on whether CU v. USC will make it seven games with at least eight million viewers?;

— The ESPN Power Index gives USC a 89.7% chance of winning, leaving CU with 10.3% chance at an upset. In CU’s last game, Oregon was given a 94.3% chance of winning;

— The game will be telecast nationally on Fox (Saturday, 10:00 a.m., MT), with Gus Johnson with the play-by-play, and former Buff quarterback Joel Klatt as the color analyst.  KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 20th year, with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his eighth year as the full-time analyst.


Statistically speaking … 

— Any Good News for Buff fans? … Stats in which USC is ranked 100th or worse:

  • Only in penalties … The Trojans are committing 8.5 penalties per game (125th in the nation) for 75.5 yards/game (121st).

—  How bad is the CU defense? … Colorado isn’t slipping into 2022 stats in terms of poor stats … but there are some numbers which are beginning to look like last season:

  • Points per game allowed … 33.3 points/game (100th in the nation);
  • Yards allowed … 475.8 yards/game (122nd in the nation);
  • Third down conversions allowed … 45.0% (102nd in the nation);
  • Rushing yards allowed … 206.5 yards/game (118th in the nation);
  • Passing yards allowed … 269.3 yards/game (105th in the nation).

But the Buffs are No. 1 in the nation … in opponents field goals made. CU’s opponents are 0-for-3 this season, with kickers from TCU, Nebraska and Colorado State all missing their only attempts;

— Bar bet winner … USC is the only FBS school never have ______ on their jerseys.

The answer is … Surnames. USC claims to be the only FBS school never to have had surnames on the back of its jerseys.


CU Player Notes … 

Will Shilo play? … Coach Prime confirmed that safety Shilo Sanders suffered an injury in the Oregon game and was taken to the hospital when the team returned to Boulder. He didn’t say, though, whether Shilo would be available against USC. “We’re praying that he heals and he’s playing this weekend” …

Walk-on tight end and true freshman running back leading the Buffs in scoring … With CU’s only touchdown last week, a 6-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, tight end Michael Harrison is now tied with Dylan Edwards for the team’s receiving touchdown lead with three;

Getting up to speed … Linebacker Juwan Mitchell, who has only played in two games, now leads Colorado with 28 tackles, including 2.5 for loss;

— Give him the ball … Dylan Edwards leads the team in rushing with a paltry 157 yards. Edwards, though, has his 157 yards on only 28 carries, a healthy 5.6 per carry average;


Colorado & USC

— USC has an 16-0 advantage in the all-time series against Colorado … Yup. That about sums it up;

— The streak … The 16 straight losses to USC are the most against any team to start a series in CU history. In fact, Colorado has only had one stretch of losses which was longer, the 18-game losing streak to Nebraska (1968-85).

— When USC made its first trip to Boulder, in 1963, the Trojans came as the No. 1 team in the nation. USC got out with a 14-0 victory in a game which featured 313 yards of total offense – by both teams combined. (The Trojans lost to No. 3 Oklahoma, 27-17, the next week, to drop out of the top spot, going on to finish with a 7-3 record. The Buffs, in their first year under new coach Eddie Crowder, went on to finish 2-8, 2-5, for a sixth place finish in the Big Eight);


The Last Time in Boulder … 

October 2, 2021 … USC 37, Colorado 14

Game Story … USC methodically pulled away from Colorado, racing out to a 20-0 first half lead and never being seriously threatened thereafter, posting a 37-14 win in Boulder. In raising its all-time record against the Buffs to 15-0, the Trojans had 494 yards of total offense, with quarterback Kedon Slovis hitting 19-of-29 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. All-American candidate Drake London had nine receptions for 130 yards and a score, with eight of the receptions coming in the first half when the Trojan offense made a statement.

The Colorado offense, playing at historically poor levels, was held to 234 yards of total offense. Quarterback Brendon Lewis completed 10-of-17 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown pass to Chase Penry. Lewis also had a fumble and an interception, and was slow to pull the trigger on numerous passes, being sacked five times by a defense which had only three sacks in the first four games of the season. Tight end Brady Russell had three catches for 87 yards, including a 65-yarder, giving the Buff passing “attack” its first completion over 20 yards on the season.

“We can’t be talking about baby steps anymore,” Karl Dorrell, who fell below .500 for the first time as CU’s head coach (5-6), said. “We scored two touchdowns and that’s not enough. There’s an urgency about being more productive and more demanding about what we’re doing. The pacifier is going to have to go … We’ve got to grow up fast. There’s only so long you can take those incremental steps. We’re at that point right now. This season is in the balance.”

… Continue reading story here …

Essay for the Game … “Fifteenth Verse, Same as the First”… can be found here …


The Last Time in Los Angeles …

November 11, 2022 … No. 8 USC 55, Colorado 17

Game StoryColorado took its first lead in a month, carrying a 3-2 lead over No. 8 USC into the second quarter, but that was as good as it was get, as No. 8 USC scored 23 unanswered points in the second quarter, coasting to a 55-17 victory. Trojan quarterback Caleb Williams threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for two more to lead the USC rout.

Buff quarterback J.T. Shrout completed 11-of-21 passes for 124 yards, also rushing for a touchdown. But Shrout also gave up a safety on an intentional grounding but had two turnovers with an interception and a fumble, leading to two USC scores. Senior running back Alex Fontenot had 20 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, with the Buffs managing only 259 yards of total offense (going 3-for-12 on third downs).

“The turnovers and the sack where the intentional grounding safety was called, were too much to overcome against a team with the firepower that they have”, said interim head coach Mike Sanford. “We’re gonna keep on fighting. We’re gonna keep on finding a way to put ourselves in position to win games. I thought we did that and it got away from us today”.

Continue reading story here

Essay for the Game“Serenity Now!”can be found here


Colorado and USC – historical

Colorado enjoys a certain amount of national historical credibility, and stacks up well against most teams in the Pac-12 when you take the time to review historical statistics.

Against USC? Not so much.

In the 12 categories cataloged by Winsipedia, the Buffs lead the Trojans in exactly … none of them.

Some of USC’s impressive national rankings:

— 2nd in NFL draft picks, with 524, just behind Notre Dame, which has 525 (CU is 27th, with 276);

— 6th in weeks spent in the AP poll, with 808 (CU is 39th, with 308);

— 4th in consensus All-Americans, with 84 (CU is 24th, with 31);

— 5th in conference championships, with 37 (CU is 12th, with 26).

The Trojans also have 871 all-time wins, 11 national championships, seven Heisman trophy winners (one vacated), and 5 No. 1 overall NFL draft picks.


Pac-12 Notes … 

The  best around? After three top 25 matchups last week, the Pac-12 has six teams in this week’s AP Top 25, the 4th straight week with at least 6 teams in the rankings.  The conference is home to four teams in the Top 10 this week, the most in conference history;

4 and OH! The Pac-12 has five teams entering this week at 4-0, the first time in conference history that has happened.  The last time the conference had four teams start 4-0 was in 2017.  The Pac-12 is one of two conferences this season to have at least five teams start 4-0 and the only 12-team conference to do it in last the last 10 years;

— Quiet Week Six coming up … Game times and TV networks for Week Six …

      Saturday, October 7th

  • 12:00 p.m. PT – Washington State at UCLA (Pac-12 Network)

  • 3:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. MT – Colorado at Arizona State (Pac-12 Network)

  • 7:00 p.m. PT – Oregon State at California (Pac-12 Network)

  • 7:30 p.m. PT – Arizona at USC (ESPN)

                     – Oregon, Stanford, Utah, Washington bye weeks

Pac-12 lines for Week Five: Colorado is a 21.5-point underdog to No. 8 USC 

From Draft Kings …

Friday, September 29th 

  • No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State … 7:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Oregon State is a 4.5-point favorite (up from 1.5 points)

Saturday, September 30th

  • No. 8 USC at Colorado … 10:00 a.m., MT, Fox … USC is a 21.5-point road favorite (down from 23.0 points)
  • Arizona State at Cal … 1:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Cal is a 12.5-point favorite (same as earlier this week)
  • No. 9 Oregon at Stanford … 4:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Oregon is a 27.0-point road favorite (up from 26.5 points)
  • No. 7 Washington at Arizona … 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Washington is a 20.0-point road favorite (up from 18.5 points)
  • Idle … No. 16 Washington State and UCLA …



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