Friday Fast Facts – Colorado State

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 Rocky Mountain Showdown can be found here. The CU at the Game Podcast Review/Preview, looking back at the Nebraska game, and previewing the CSU game, can be found at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or … it can also be found here

Big Picture

— Fox Big Noon Saturday crew will be in Boulder for the second straight weekend. Colorado had never before been a part of a featured game for Big Noon Saturday, but the CSU game will mark the third straight weekend wherein the Buffs are the main story. Fox had originally planned to head to Champaign, Illinois, for the Penn State/Illinois game this week, but after the Illini lost to Kansas last Friday night, Fox had second thoughts;

— Not to be outdone, ESPN GameDay, is also coming to Boulder (Fox will be on Farrand Field; ESPN will be in the field next to the Business school). GameDay had traveled to locations weekly since 1994, and has been to Boulder three times. The most recent visit, though, was on September 14, 1996, when the Buffs hosted Michigan in a Top-15 matchup. GameDay was also in Boulder twice in 1995;

— This will be the seventh time since 2019 that both shows will be at the same location. Four of the six featured both teams ranked among the top eight and another had both teams in the top 18 of the AP poll. The other featured two of the sports’ blueblood programs: No. 1 Alabama vs. unranked Texas in 2022;

— Colorado sold out the Homecoming game against Oregon State this week, giving CU five sellouts for the season. Only once before in school history (1993) has CU sold out as many as five games. If the Arizona game sells out (which seems likely), it will be the first time in school history that CU has sold out every home game (not a bad 100th birthday present for Folsom Field);

— The CU/Nebraska game drew an audience of 8.73 million, barely edged out by the 8.76 million who watched No. 11 Texas upset No. 3 Alabama. A total of 7.26 million watched CU/TCU in Week One (the most-watched game on that Saturday). Compare … During the Buffs’ 2022 season, Colorado averaged an audience of … wait for it … 352,000;

The ESPN Power Index … finally likes CU’s chances in a game. After giving the Buffs an 8.2% chance of beating TCU, CU’s chances were upped to 41.3% against Nebraska. Against Colorado State, though, ESPN gives CU an 88.1% chance at victory (the Oregon game? ESPN is back to not trusting the Buffs, with CU given only a 9.5% chance at winning);

The last time … The 2023 game at Folsom Field is a sellout, with over 53,000 expected to attend. Attendance, though, will be down from games played in Denver, where the tickets were distributed 60/40 between the schools. While the numbers were greater in Denver than on campus sites, in the final years the RMS was slipping in popularity. There were 66,997 on hand for the last game in Denver, played in 2019. That was down from the 2018 Rocky Mountain Showdown (70,158), which in turn was down from the 2017 attendance of 73,962;

— The game will be telecast nationally by the ESPN, with Mark Jones on the play-by-play, Louis Riddick on color; and Quint Kessenich on the sidelines. 850 KOA radio will have Mark Johnson with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett as the analyst.

Buffs v. Rams

— Colorado leads the all-time series against Colorado State 67-22-2 (74.7%). The Buffs held a 13-6 (68.4%) advantage in games played in Denver, and hold a decisive advantage in games played in Boulder – 31-9-1, a 76.8 winning percentage;

— Since the series resumed in 1983, Colorado has a 24-8 (75.0%) advantage. CU has won the last five meetings (2015-2019), but the Rams won the last time the two teams played in Boulder, a 23-17 victory in 2009;

— Since the series was resumed in 1983, Colorado State is 2-11 against Colorado when the Buffs are not the Rams’ first opponent of the season;

— The 2023 represents the first time that one of the teams will be playing the Rocky Mountain Showdown with a national ranking since 2003 (when an unranked CU squad defeated No. 23 CSU, 42-35, in a lighting-delayed game).

2019 Rocky Mountain Showdown … Colorado 52, Colorado State 31

— The Game Story … Colorado was out-gained by Colorado State (505 yards to 475), and had fewer first downs (27-23), but four CSU turnovers (including two interceptions by Buff safety Mikial Onu) doomed the Rams’ chances at an upset, with the Buffs posting a 52-31 victory.

In the final Rocky Mountain Showdown game to be played in Denver, sophomore running back Alex Fontenot led the Buffs with three touchdowns and 125 yards rushing on 19 carries. Steven Montez had a mediocre start to the 2019 campaign, completing 13-of-20 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, with star wide receiver Laviska Shenault being held to three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown (also contributing 35 yards on three rushes).

Read the full Game Story here

— My Essay for the Game is one you can be forgiven for taking a pass on … It’s entitled, “It’s Just the Beginning of Our Program”, and the title is a quote from Mel Tucker, who had just won in his debut as CU’s new head coach.

Statistically speaking

Stats to make you smile … 

  • For CU on offense … The Buffs are 14th in the nation in total offense (509.5 yards/game) … 2nd in the nation in passing offense (453 yards/game) … and … tied for 27th in scoring offense (40.5 points/game)
  • For CU on defense …The Buffs are 21st in the nation in interceptions (with 3) … and … 6th in the nation in turnovers gained (with 6)
  • For Colorado State on offense … The Rams are tied for last in the nation in rushing offense (37 yards/game) … 89th in the nation in total offense (357 yards/game) … and 95th in third down conversion percentage (.357 – 5-for-14) …
  • For Colorado State on defense … The Rams are 130th in the nation in scoring defense (50 points/game) … 130th in total defense (556 yards/game) … and dead last in the nation in passing yards allowed (466 yards/game)

Stats to make you cringe … 

  • For CU on offense … The Buffs are 124th in the nation of rushing offense (56.5 yards/game) … and are dead last – 132nd in the nation – in sacks allowed (6.0/game)
  • For CU on defense … The Buffs are 113th in the nation in total defense (441 yards/game) … tied for 96th in the nation in scoring defense (28 points/game) … and … 127th in the nation in rushing defense (242 yards/game)
  • For Colorado State on defense … Really, nothing … There is only a one game sample, but when you give up 50 points and 556 yards to Washington State, there aren’t too many positive numbers on your side of the ledger.

Player Notes … 

— In his first two games of the 2023 season, quarterback Shedeur Sanders has gone 69-for-89 passing (a 78 percent completion rate) for 903 yards, with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Through the first two games of the 2023 season, Sanders was one of only six FBS quarterbacks with at least six touchdown passes and no interceptions;

— Shedeur Sanders joined Steven Montez (2018) and Connor Wood (2013) as the only quarterbacks in Colorado history to open a season with back-to-back 300-plus yard passing games. (Montez and Wood both failed to reach the 300-yard mark in game three);

— Xavier Weaver (10 catches, 170 yards, one touchdown) became the first player in CU history to open their career as a Buff with two 100-yard receiving games. Weaver’s numbers through his first two games of the 2023 season: 16 catches, 288 yards, two touchdowns;

— Xavier Weaver also had the quote of the week. The Rocky Mountain Showdown will kickoff at 8:00 p.m., MT. This after two kickoffs to start the season of 10:00 a.m., MT. When asked if he was concerned about the change in start times, Weaver replied: “You’re just playing football,” he said. “It might just be a little darker.”

Pac-12 Notes

— Eight teams from the Pac-12 are ranked in the latest Associated Press poll, with Washington State (2-0) and UCLA (2-0) entering the poll for the first time this season, coming at No. 23 and 24, respectively. They joined USC (3-0) at No. 5, the Huskies (2-0) holding steady at No. 8, Utah (2-0) at No. 12, Oregon (2-0) at No. 13, Oregon State (2-0) at No. 16 and Colorado (2-0) at No. 18.

— The Pac-12 had never had more than six teams in the poll at one time prior to this week. Only the Southeastern Conference previously has offered up as many as eight teams ranked, doing so multiple times, and even had 10 teams in the AP poll all at once in 2015;

— The Pac-12 is 20-3 in non-conference play, the best in the nation. And, with some pretty lopsided odds for this week’s games, that number will only improve:


Saturday, September 16th

  • Weber State at No. 12 Utah … Noon, MT, Pac-12 Networks … no line
  • San Diego State at No. 16 Oregon State … 1:30 p.m., MT, FS1 … Oregon State is a 23.0-point favorite
  • Idaho at Cal … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … no line
  • North Carolina Central at No. 24 UCLA … 3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … no line
  • Northern Colorado at No. 25 Washington State … 3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks …
  • No. 8 Washington at Michigan State … 3:00 p.m., MT, Peacock … Washington is a 16.0-point favorite
  • Hawai’i at No. 13 Oregon … 6:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Oregon is a 37.5-point favorite
  • Sacramento State at Stanford … 6:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks …
  • Colorado State at No. 18 Colorado … 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPN … Colorado is a 23.5-point favorite
  • Fresno State at Arizona State … 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1 … Fresno State is a 3.0-point favorite
  • UTEP at Arizona … 9:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Arizona is a 17.0-point favorite


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