Friday Fast Facts – Stanford Week

… Your weekly “T.I.P.S”, previews for this weekend’s games, discussing Talent, Intangibles, Preparation and Statistics, have been posted. The written preview and predictions for the CU/Stanford game can be found here, while the CU at the Game Podcast preview for the game can be found at most podcast sites, but can also be listened to here …

Big Picture … 

Sellout No. 7 … With the game against Stanford a sellout, the Friday night game will mark the seventh game this season that the Buffs will play before a sellout crowd – a school record. The Parents’ Weekend game was actually the second game of the season to be sold out, after Nebraska (even before USC or CSU).

But … Don’t look now, but it the sellout streak isn’t likely to make it to eight. After a bye week, the Buffs will travel to Pasadena to take on UCLA. The Rose Bowl holds over 100,000 on January 1st, but is reduced to 88,565 for UCLA home games. Even with wide swaths of seats covered in each end zone, and even with a large contingent of Washington State fans in the stands for last weekend’s game against the Cougars, the announced attendance for the 25-17 Bruin victory was only 35,437 … 40% of capacity. You heard it here first … If the Buffs defeat Stanford to go into the bye week 5-2, the Buff Nation – with plenty of alumni and their last chance to see their Buffs before CU leaves for the Big 12 – may well take over the Rose Bowl;

Borrow your friend’s gold parka … The Stanford game has been designated as a “Gold Rush” game, with Buff fans encouraged to wear gold. Problem is … temperature for the 8:00 p.m. kickoff is forecast to be around 42-degrees. No precipitation, but a bit nippy … so pack your favorite gold colored coat!;

— The ESPN Power Index gives the Buffs an 80.1% chance of winning; the Cardinal: 19.9% chance. Last weekend, the Buffs were given a 64.7% chance of beating Arizona State; the Sun Devils were given a 35.3% chance;

— The CU/Stanford game will be telecast nationally by the ESPN (Friday, 8:00 p.m., MT) with Mark Jones on the play-by-play, Louis Riddick with the commentary, and Quint Kessinich on the sidelines.  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 … 

This should work … CU is 8th in the nation in passing offense (337.2 yards/game), while Stanford is 128th in the nation in passing yards allowed (305.8 yards/game). This might be the best mismatch the Buffs will face the remainder of the season …

And this should help … CU is 129th in the nation in sacks allowed, giving up an average of 5.17 sacks/game … but … Stanford is 104th in the nation in sacks, getting the opposing quarterback down only eight times in the Cardinal’s first five games;

Can’t point fingers … If someone tells you that Stanford is 120th in scoring defense, giving up 34.6 points per game, don’t gloat. Colorado is just one notch above, at 119th, surrendering 34.17 points/game;

— CU No. 1 in the nation in … red zone offense. The Buffs went three-for-three in the red zone against Arizona State, making CU 20-for-20 in red zone opportunities with seven rushing touchdowns, eight passing touchdowns, and five field goals. There were seven FBS teams which remained perfect heading into last weekend. Were now down to five, including Florida State and Oregon State;

— No (field) goals allowed … Colorado opponents came into the ASU game 0-for-4 in field goal attempts, with TCU, Nebraska, CSU and USC kickers all missing their attempts against the Buffs. Arizona State kicker Dario Longhetto made one and missed one against CU, with his 50-yarder blocked by cornerback Carter Stoutmire … leaving CU opponents one-for-six in field goal attempts this fall;


Player Notes … 

— Shedeur Sanders records watch … Shedeur Sanders is on pace to reset most of the single season passing in CU history. As the season has hit the halfway mark, it’s time to track how Sanders is progressing towards those standards:

  • Passing touchdowns: 16 … (tied for 12th) … School record: 28 (Sefo Liufau, 2014);
  • Passing yards: 2,020 … 20th … School record: 3,200 (Sefo Liufau, 2014);
  • Passing attempts: 256 … 15th … School record: 498 (Sefo Liufau, 2014);
  • Passing completions: 186 … 13th … School record: 325 (Sefo Liufau, 2014);
  • Completion percentage: 72.7% … 1st … School record: 68.4% (Koy Detmer, 1995).

Clutch … Sanders was 6-for-10 for 87 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Arizona State, and is now 44-for-58 for 669 yards and seven touchdowns in the fourth period this season;

But … set an earlier wake up call for Shedeur … Shedeur Sanders leads the nation in passing yards (669) and touchdowns (seven) in the fourth quarter. The first quarter? Not so much … Sanders has passed for just 289 yards, two touchdowns and has thrown both of his interceptions this fall in the first stanza;

— Kicker Alejandro Mata named Pac-12 Special teams Player-of-the-Week … Mata made both of his field goal attempts against Arizona State, including the 43-yard game-winner. Mata becomes CU’s first kicker to win the award since Evan Price in 2019. Mata is the seventh Buff to be named as a Pac-12 Player-of-the-Week, joining quarterback Shedeur Sanders (offensive; TCU), Travis Hunter (defensive, TCU), running back Dylan Edwards (freshman, TCU), Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan (offensive line, Nebraska), Shilo Sanders (defense, CSU), Omarion Miller (freshman, USC);


Colorado and Stanford – head-to-head … 

This will be the 13th all-time match-up between the two schools, with the series tied 6-6. The Buffs have won the last three games played – 2016; 2019; and 2020 – leaving the 2023 matchup as the tie-breaker between two schools heading to different conferences in 2024: CU returning to the Big 12; Stanford off (at least for the time being) to the ACC;

The first time the two teams met was back in 1904, when the Stanford Indians took the train to Denver, leaving town with a 33-0 victory over Colorado. The series is the fourth-oldest with any Pac-12 conference team for Stanford, and the second-oldest for Colorado (the Buffs played Utah for the first time in 1903);

After the 1904 game, there was a lull of over 70 years before the teams met again;

The next three games between the two teams were all Colorado victories. The Buffs prevailed in 1977 in Boulder, 27-21, with two more victories in 1987 and 1990. The 1987 game featured freshman running back Eric Bieniemy, who led the Buffs to a 31-17 victory. The 1990 game had a controversial ending, with that same Eric Bieniemy, now a senior, scored on fourth down from a yard out with less than a minute remaining, giving Colorado a 21-17 win.

The Buffs made their first trips to Palo Alto in 1991 and 1993, coming away empty each time. The ’91 game ended in a 28-21 win for the Cardinal, with “Touchdown” Tommy Vardell scoring three times. The 1993 game had another controversial ending, with the home team again coming away with the win. Stanford won, 41-37, when Stanford was awarded a touchdown on a Tony Cline reception in the end zone on a play when Cline was dislodged from the ball by Dwayne Davis.

After the Buffs joined the Pac-12, Stanford won the first three games in dominating form … 48-7 in 2011; 48-0 in 2012; and 42-10 in 2015. In those three games, the Cardinal came into the games ranked 7th, 15th, and 9th respectively.

Then, in 2016, the two teams played without one of the teams being ranked since the 1987 contest in Boulder. The final score was odd, 10-5, with the Buffs earning win No. 6 (and bowl eligibility!) on their way to a 10-2 regular season record and a Pac-12 South title.

In 2019, kicker Evan Price, subbing for James Stefanou, connected on three fields, the last being a 37-yarder on the game’s final play, giving Colorado a 16-13 win over Stanford (memorable for Laviska Shenault’s bull rush for a first down on the final drive).

In 2020, before an empty Stanford stadium due to COVID, the Buffs defeated the Cardinal, 35-32, hanging on after building a 28-9 third quarter lead. CU touchdowns were scored by familiar names which later went elsewhere, Dimitri Stanley and Brenden Rice.


Colorado and Stanford … historical … 

Why the Tree? … From Stanford athletics … There is no official mascot at Stanford University. The “Tree,” which is a member of the Stanford Band, is representative of El Palo Alto, the Redwood tree which is the logo of the city of Palo Alto. Since Stanford University and Palo Alto are almost inextricably intertwined in interests and location, it is a natural outgrowth of this relationship. The tree still exists and stands by the railroad bridge beside San Francisquito Creek – it is the site where early explorers first camped when settling the area.

— CU and Stanford have both been playing since the 19th century, but Colorado has had the better of it in terms of victories … at least until the past decade or so. According to Winsipedia, Colorado is 29th on the all-time list in victories, with 723, a good bit ahead of Stanford’s 668 (43rd).

— The Cardinal, meanwhile, has caught the Buffs in terms of bowl appearances. Until Stanford’s meltdown in recent years, the Cardinal had played in bowl games for 10 straight seasons. That was the Pac-12’s longest run, bringing Stanford’s total to 30 bowl games. Colorado is also at 30, with two bowl bids in the past 15 seasons;

— Stanford was also – before the recent decline – catching up to Colorado in terms of time spent in the national polls. The Cardinal has been in 303 Associated Press polls (32nd all-time), while the Buffs, with three weeks in the polls this season, are at 308 weeks all-time (28th);

— The two programs are also very close in one other category … NFL draft picks. Colorado had the lead for many years, but was passed by the Cardinal just recently. Colorado 276 players chosen in the draft (27th), while Stanford has had 278 players selected (25th). With the changing fortunes of the two programs, the Buffs may overtake the Cardinal once again next April;


Pac-12 Notes … 

— The Pac-12 has seven teams in this week’s AP Top 25, the third time this season they have placed at least seven teams in the poll.  Prior to this season, the conference had never had more than six teams ranked in the same week. This is also the 4th straight week the Pac-12 has had at least three teams ranked in the Top 10.  That’s the longest streak for the conference since the final four polls of the 2011 season;

No. 8 Oregon at No. 7 Washington … It’s the 8th time since 2000 that a pair of Pac-12 schools ranked in the Top 8 have faced off with last coming in the 2014 Pac-12 Championship Game when No. 3 Oregon defeated No. 8 Arizona This will be the 115th all-time match-up between the Ducks and Huskies and the first ever with both teams in the Top 10;

… Pac-12 lines: Buffs favored by double-digits over Stanford, but the line has moved … 

From DraftKings

Friday, October 13th

  • Stanford at Colorado … 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPN … Colorado is an 11.0-point favorite … down from 11.5 points on Sunday

Saturday, October 14th

  • Cal at No. 16 Utah … 1:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Utah is a 12.0-point favorite … down from 13.5 points
  • No. 8 Oregon at No. 7 Washington … 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC … Washington is a 3.0-point favorite
  • Arizona at No. 19 Washington State … 5:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Washington State is a 8.0-point favorite … down from 9.5 points
  • No. 10 USC at N0. 21 Notre Dame … 5:30 p.m., MT, NBC … Notre Dame is a 2.5-point favorite
  • No. 18 UCLA at No. 15 Oregon State … 6:00 p.m., MT, Fox … Oregon State is a 3.0-point favorite … down from 4.5 points


2 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts – Stanford Week”

  1. The game time temp forecast of 42 degrees and the current high for today looks to be in the 50s. I would hope the Buffs are practicing either early enough or a few later practices leading up to the game to get a week of working in the cold. Just like they hydrated for a week before the TCU game, I would think getting acclimated to the cold and how the ball feels and bounces in the cold would be a benefit.

    At least mentally, knowing you can handle it and a home field advantage.

    Stanford’s lack of sacks and passing yards allowed SHOULD MEAN Shedeur will shred them. Who will be this weeks number one weapon on offense? Will it be one of the guys from the previous games that stepped up? Or, another new weapon?

    It is truly great that each week when a team thinks they know who to key on, a new receiver has a very productive game.

    Let’s hope the rushing game is this weeks weapon… Along with a receiver… or two.

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