Pac-12 Notes – Colorado State Week

September 15th

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TV Executive: If CU had Coach Prime a year ago, the Pac-12 might still be together

From CBS Sports … This month, Colorado became Ohio State and Michigan. Forget the century-old tradition, Heisman Trophies and championships of those long-established powers. Through the first two weeks of September, Colorado matched – maybe surpassed — the Buckeyes and Wolverines in terms of brand value.

That’s how one TV executive described the way Colorado now resonates with Deion Sanders as coach. Viewers, advertisers and programmers are on board with the Prime Effect. Sanders is why last week’s Colorado-Nebraska game — featuring teams who were a combined 19-43 since 2020 — was the highest rated of the day, according to Sports Media Watch. That includes beating out Alabama-Texas.

That’s why both ESPN’s “College Game Day” and Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” will air from Boulder, Colorado, on Saturday as the No. 18 Buffaloes host lowly Colorado State with a 10 p.m. ET kickoff. That’s why, during the game broadcast, you’ll likely see Sanders in both sides of the split screen during commercial breaks (in one, coaching, and in the other, hawking chicken wings).

Deion sells. Make that, Deion sells big. More to the point, people like watching Deion wherever, whenever. This is Beatlemania with an oddly ironic cowboy hat.

Some of us scoffed at the time. However, the aforementioned TV executive said the mere presence of Sanders a year ago would have gotten the Pac-12 closer to what it needed to stay together — a $32-million-per-team offer that would have put Pac-12 teams in line with their Big 12 counterparts.

“No network or streaming service would have wanted to let him get away,” said Jim Williams, a seven-time Emmy Award winning sports producer well versed in the industry. “They might have gotten $40 million [per school], which would have kept them together. … There would not be a city in the conference where, when Colorado came to town, they would not sell out.”

Again, that’s if Sanders had arrived a year ago. It’s another reason for the Pac-12 to kick itself during this spectacular final season, one in which it has the leading Heisman candidate (USC quarterback Caleb Williams) and eight ranked teams in the AP Top 25. (Only the SEC has accomplished the latter previously.)

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September 14th

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Pac-12 Coach: “Everyone chalked up Colorado as a win – They’ve erased that”

From ESPN …We asked college football insiders Heather Dinich and Adam Rittenberg for insight on the hottest topics of the week, including what storylines we should be talking more about and what predictions we’ve already gotten wrong.

After another impressive win, do coaches think Colorado is a legit contender? How much damage can the Buffaloes do in the Pac-12?

Rittenberg: Colorado’s case as a contender likely will hinge on how it fares against No. 13 Oregon (road) and No. 5 USC (home) later this month, but the Buffaloes have undoubtedly added to the nation’s deepest league after going 1-11 in 2022. “Everyone chalked up Colorado as a win,” a Pac-12 coach said. “They’ve erased that. There’s only a couple teams with two Power 5 wins, so I respect the hell out of them.” The respect extends to quarterback Shedeur Sanders in particular, as the Jackson State transfer and son of Colorado coach Deion Sanders has been poised and productive early on. “He’s been the key to their two victories,” Colorado State coach Jay Norvell said. “The games are pretty even and really, TCU and Nebraska won a lot of areas, when you look at special teams and rushing offense. The difference has been the play of Shedeur.”

Dinich: It’s not just the offense that has caught the attention of opposing coaches in the league, it’s how quickly it has all come together. “They are a team that looks like they fully believe in their staff and their system,” one Pac-12 head coach said. “When you have that buy-in, and you have a QB — which they do — they can compete with anyone.”

Rittenberg: That’s a great point about the staff, HD, as several coaches have praised offensive coordinator Sean Lewis, defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle and others for their work so far. They have taken a fascinating mix of players and crafted schemes to maximize their ability while also covering up some depth shortcomings. “It’s not like they’ve got slappos running the program,” a Power 5 coordinator said. “Deion’s more or less a figurehead, but he’s surrounded himself with good ball coaches. He’s Barnum and Bailey in football, but he’s doing something right behind the scenes.”

Dinich: LOL “slappos!” A defensive assistant in the league described it as an “aura” around them, and said Colorado is “opening some eyes in college football.”

“Coach Sanders is showing that you can overhaul a team and build one in a matter of months,” the assistant said. “Their success has definitely given a spark to college football. Having a head coach, who is probably one of the best position players in the history of our game, definitely helps them. … They are definitely a threat for sure. We hope it could be us and them in Vegas in early December!”


September 13th

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CBS QB Power Rankings: Shedeur Sanders in at No. 4

From CBS Sports … It’s become evident the SEC has a quarterback problem as the league has struggled against Power Five competition in 2023. On Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, you saw Quinn Ewers and the Texas Longhorns defeat the Crimson Tide 34-24. While there were many factors at play in the game, the most glaring was that Texas had the better QB in the game.

It wasn’t an outlier; the SEC is 3-6 against Power Five competition to start the year. To put that in perspective, the league went 17-9 against Power Five leagues last year. Alabama lost to Texas. LSU lost to Florida State. Texas A&M lost to Miami. South Carolina lost to North Carolina. All of those losses came to teams with a signal-callers ranked in this week’s QB Power Rankings.

Do you know how many QBs the SEC has in the rankings this week?


Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart made the honorable mention list, but that’s it. Pretend for a moment that your life is on the line and you need to pick an SEC QB to lead a touchdown drive to save your life. Which one are you picking? Last year, you would’ve said Bryce Young or maybe even Hendon Hooker or Stetson Bennett. This year? You probably don’t have an answer yet, do you?

  • No. 1 – Quinn Ewers – Texas
  • No. 2 – Caleb Williams – USC
  • No. 3 – Sam Hartman – Notre Dame
  • No. 4 – Shedeur Sanders – Colorado … Sanders wasn’t included in our preseason rankings, but it hasn’t taken him much time to climb to the top five. If Heisman ballots were handed out today, Sanders would win. Not only is Sanders producing on the field (451.5 yards per game, seven total TDs), but he’s generating hype and attention off it. All these things matter in the QB Power Rankings. (Not Ranked)
  • No. 5 – Michael Penix – Washington
  • … No. 8 – Bo Nix – Oregon …

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September 12th

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Power Five DC on Travis Hunter: “I don’t care how good of shape you’re in, I don’t know how you can sustain [that]”

From ESPN … For Travis Hunter, having Deion Sanders on board for his journey outweighed any other factor, and now, after a year together in Jackson, Mississippi, his generational talent is on display for the country to see at the heart of Colorado’s resurgence. Through two games, both wins, Hunter has played a mind-boggling 274 snaps as a starter at cornerback and wide receiver — 129 of 158 (81.6%) on offense, 136 of 142 (95.8%) on defense and nine on special teams — and has joined the Heisman Trophy conversation.

Playing two ways was always part of the plan. Hunter dipped his toes into the offensive waters last season (18 catches, 190 yards, 4 TDs), but he and his coach have been preparing for him to go both ways, full time, ever since.

“I know how to do it. I know how to monitor it. I know how to make sure that you are where you need to be,” Sanders said. “But the rule I have is that you must be dominant on one side of the ball before I allow you to go to the other side. You must be dominant. And I feel as though Travis had proved his dominance.”

… With Hunter, the obvious next question becomes: Is this sustainable? Is it possible to go both ways for the bulk of a college football season and remain effective? There are plenty of skeptics.

“I don’t care how good of shape you’re in, 115 snaps, you can do that now because you’re fresh,” one Power 5 defensive coordinator told ESPN. “But I don’t know how you can sustain [that], especially as I would think some teams are going to try to make him tackle and double him in coverage and that sort of stuff.

“You put in a fourth- or fifth-team wide receiver and say, ‘Look, you block him the whole game. I want him on the bench.’ You literally make him exert himself.”

Comments like this make Sanders roll his eyes.

“You got to understand everybody who’s critical of that in saying, ‘He’s gonna tire, he’s gonna do that,’ shoot they can’t cook and answer the phone at the same time,” Sanders said. “I don’t subscribe to that foolishness because that’s who Travis is. Travis is special. He has a tremendous gift and he wants to play.”

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September 11th

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CSU head coach Jay Norvell: “Deion Sanders has had a lot of public critics. I’m not one of them”

From the Daily Camera … Following a bye week, Colorado State’s head coach Jay Norvell discussed this week’s Rocky Mountain Showdown rivalry battle with the Buffaloes during his weekly press conference on Monday at CSU’s Canvas Stadium. Norvell announced a new starting quarterback in Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi while professing his respect for the abrupt and dramatic turnaround authored so far in Boulder by Coach Prime.

It will be the first CU-CSU showdown for both head coaches when the Rams visit CU on Saturday night (8 p.m., ESPN).

“Deion Sanders has had a lot of public critics. I’m not one of them,” Norvell said. “I really respect all head coaches and the sacrifices that they’ve had to make to become head coaches. I appreciate the path that they have to go through to get there. Especially African-American coaches. I was happy to see Deion get his opportunity. I had to wait a long time to get mine.

“I’m really proud to represent CSU and play in this game. We have two African-American coaches representing the schools in this state. I think that’s very unique. It holds a lot of weight. I’m really proud to be a part of that. This game is special.”

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Colorado State changes starting quarterback for CU game

From ESPN … Colorado State is making a quarterback change and will start redshirt freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi for this week’s road game against No. 18 Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

Fowler-Nicolosi replaced Clay Millen in Colorado State’s season opener Sept. 2 against Washington State, after Millen sustained a shoulder sprain in the second half. Coach Jay Norvell told ESPN that Millen is healthy after an open week and available for the Colorado game, but he wanted Fowler-Nicolosi to get the start. Fowler-Nicolosi helped Colorado State score 21 fourth-quarter points against Washington State in a 50-24 loss, passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.

“The time is right for Bray to get an opportunity,” Norvell said. “He sparked us, drove for a couple scores. The bottom line is we’ve got to score points and be more effective, and we’ve got to be competitive and lead at that position.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Clay, but Brayden played for us last year as well.”

Millen started most of the 2022 season, setting the team’s single-season completion percentage record (72.2). But Colorado State finished 128th nationally in scoring, and it got one of its three wins on the road against Nevada when Fowler-Nicolosi started.

“When the game was on the line, he drove us down the field with the two-minute drill for the winning touchdown,” Norvell said. “He can run, he’s got good feet and a strong arm, and he’s excited and his teammates are excited. We’ve got to rally behind him.”

Colorado State has dropped five straight to Colorado, last facing the Buffaloes in 2019. Colorado, which went 1-11 last season, is 2-0 under new coach Deion Sanders and averages 40.5 points per game, a significant jump from last season, when it averaged only 15.4 points per game.

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September 10th

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Pac-12 Week Three lines: CU opens as a 17.0-point favorite over CSU – line has jumped to 23.5 points


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

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker suspended without pay amid sexual harassment allegations

From ESPN … Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker has been suspended without pay while the university completes an investigation into claims that he sexually harassed a prominent sexual assault awareness speaker after she was hired to address the Spartan team.

Athletic director Alan Haller announced Tucker’s interim suspension Sunday night, less than 24 hours after news of the claims against the fourth-year head coach was made public in reports from ESPN and USA Today. Interim university President Teresa Woodruff appeared alongside Haller at a news conference and said she fully supported Haller’s decision.

“The university’s objective has been and remains focused on conducting a fair, thorough and unbiased investigation and allowing the processes to play out,” Haller said.

Brenda Tracy, who operates a nonprofit company that tries to raise awareness about sexual misconduct, especially among college athletes, told university investigators that Tucker sent her gifts, asked if she would date him if he wasn’t married and masturbated while on the phone with her without her consent, according to details reported by USA Today on Sunday. Tucker told investigators he took part in the behavior but that it was consensual.

Haller said longtime Michigan State assistant Harlon Barnett will serve as interim head coach in Tucker’s absence. Former Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio is also returning to the team to serve as an associate head coach starting this week. Dantonio retired in February 2020.

Haller said he was first made aware of the complaints in late December, shortly after Tracy filed the claims. Michigan State hired a third-party investigator to decide if Tucker had violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy. The investigator finished her report July 25, Haller said, and recommended that the school hold a hearing to decide if Tucker violated any policy. That hearing is scheduled for the first week of October.

Any formal decision on Tucker’s job status, and the more than $77 million that remains on his contract, isn’t expected to be decided until the hearing concludes.

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24 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – CSU Week”





    1. The bright side is thats that many more cow feed fans with that game in their face. After the last how may years? most of em are probably on blood pressure meds. I’m sure their diet doesnt help either.

    2. Remember, a portion of that sea is where neb’s allotment to sell are located and some well off, both transplants and people traveling from neb buy season tickets in that area to be around their fellow children of the corn. They just sell the rest of the season, even at a loss, it assures them a great seat. With Normal markups/scalping for the game, they can sell the rest for a small loss and still probably pay about the same as a scalped ticket, but thy’re guaranteed which seat they get.

      A few confused ones even claim CU as their second team??? I don’t even see how that works! And I’m betting a few other local transplants were perfectly happy to come to Boulder to see USC, UW or Oregon, AND to watch them beat up on the Buffs.

      And now , they will come to watch Prime and his “Misfits” of cobbled together players from junior colleges, FCS programs, Group 5 schools, “has been blue chips” (injuries or whatever) that fell on their depths chart, along with a few Blue Chips, Shedeur, Hunter, Edwards and… They will come to see the Buffs in Prime Time.

      BUT THE rest that sold were CU fans and speculators!

      Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as the last home game… The Prime Effect seemed to keep some tickets home. I know of one CU fan who got her tickets from a friend who couldn’t go to the game but they would only give/sell to another CU alum. She gladly bought the tickets even though she was going to be at a Bronco wheeling event in Buena Vista that lasted through the same weekend; she left the event a day early and very early in the morning, to make the drive to Boulder in time for the morning tailgating with some friends and the game.

      1. Marcus, do you mean to tell that N.U. fans have bought season tickets to Folsom since our Buffs have been in the PAC-12….just so they would have – an odd chance – of having a seat to watch a future N.U. v C.U. game ???? I DON’T THINK SO.

        Perhaps I’m misunderstanding ?????

        As I’m sure you are a C.U. alum – and a pretty darned sharp fella’ – you have a lot more contacts in the Buff realm than I do….so, is that what you’ve been hearing ????? I’m just an (emphasis) OLD U.N.C. Bear….commonly known as Colorado State Teachers College back then—-but, a solid Buff fan since 1946 at age 8. ( I listened to Starr Yellin, then “Zim” once Starr retired…..lov’d both of ’em.

        I cheered the Buffs on during the John “The Bull” Bayuk, Carrol Hardy, Frank Bernardi, and others’ eras. You were probably still in diapers.

        It still irks me to see all that red in Folsom, especially since we NEVER inundated Memorial Stadium in the same manner.

        Maybe see ‘ya at the SINK someday when I have a chance to buy one of those N.U. season tickets at Folsom.

        GO BUFFS

    3. BuffTrax, I noticed this comment in several forums. I was at the game, and there was not a lot of NE fans, especially compared to the past. However, when I watched the replay later that night, I was surprised at how red the stadium looked. I believe that the red shows up more in the video than it does in real life (maybe filters?). I would estimate that the Corndog fans made up “only” 15% of the fans. Yes, that’s still too much, but not nearly as bad as it looked on TV. – Glen

  2. One thing to note here is that you only catch lightning in a bottle once in generations. CU needs to make the most of this chance from going from oblivion to national spotlight.

  3. So many of these anonymous DCs or whoever have their opinions on Prime, Hunter and everything else that dont know what they are talking about.
    Put a 4th or 5th string WR on him every play? I guess he didnt stop to consider that Hunter is not going to line up on him anyway. Even if he does some bench rider isnt going to tire him as much. Sure hope the Buffs line up against this shadow DC

    1. Thing is, other teams will always have to double team Travis, so right off the bat they’ve left themselves exposed to the myriad of other weapons Coach Prime has at his disposal. A lot of the naysayers are just jealous…

  4. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program. About that CSU line.
    “CU opens as a 17.0-point favorite over CSU – line has jumped to 23.5 points”

    The Buffs beat the bugeaters by 22 and really their last TD with 1 second left against the Buff’s backups was not indicative of the game played before it. I expect the Buffs to be up by more than 24 points when they pull Sheduer for the game and they rest the starters; especially Hunter, he should be sitting by the second half.

    WSU beat the lambs 50-24 with a heavy passing game of 455 yards & 90 yards rushing (QB W/40 yds), similar to CU’s first game. CSU only scored 3 points in the first qtr and no other points for three qtrs. 21 points were scored by the lambs in the fourth, how much you wanna bet WSU defensive players were back ups in the game by then.

    The WSU starting QB numbers ( 37/49 451 9.2 3 0 76.7) were very much like Sheduer’s first game, except he had a better completion ratio with 50 plus more yards… And another TD.

    While the lambs starter looked more like neb’s QB in their first game, (13/20 210 10.5 2 1) but with less TOs.

    I expect the Buffs to hold the rammies to zero for the first half and to pull the starters by the third quarter. I’d really like to see Stuab start the second half and play it like it was a zero score game with meaningful snaps and experience. Some of the skilled offense players will need to stay in for him to get a true game feel, but I expect they can rotate in other players for reps too.

  5. We are far better off now than we were when he left. Yes last year was a train wreck that maybe wouldn’t have happened if he left. But the university finally cares and it took going to the pit of hell to get there. I’m happy he is not our head coach. Ultimately though I am sad for his wife and kids. Surprise kids, your dad is a perv. It’s so beyond football how disgusting this whole thing is.

  6. Tucker isnt the best looking guy in the world but usually fame and especially money will get yer ham bone boiled anyway….consensually of course. Maybe its the personality or lack thereof

  7. Not just fired but they’re going to try to fire for cause and not pay him the 70 or whatever millions they owe.

    Just such a stupid fuckin thing to do. It’s unbelievable.

  8. What a surprise! Lying piece of $h!t Midnight Mel wanted to neak in and out the back door at midnight? We all know how honest he is, right? What an idiot. A lying POS idiot. Michigan State sure can pick ’em. Another new member of their sexual predator hall of shame.

  9. Just deplorable behavior… can’t blame the Sparty fan base for already listing who they’d like as a replacement.

    Buff fans knew that Mel wasn’t a high character individual, but this is just obscene.

        1. Yea, no sex or any kind of “personal relationship” aka an affair is worth what he lost. How a man can attain so much and piss it all away out of stupidity and urges is beyond a simple poor man like me’s ability to fathom.

          Nothing can excuse his behavior and he’ll lose millions over it, but the irony.

          “Brenda Tracy, who operates a nonprofit company that tries to raise awareness about sexual misconduct, especially among college athletes, told university investigators that Tucker sent her gifts, asked if she would date him if he wasn’t married and masturbated while on the phone with her without her consent, ”

          Wow! I’ve never seen a case where the victim was hired to teach the prevention of sexual misconduct and yet he somehow thought this was the person to hit on?

          He’s a complete Dumb ass to cause all this happen to himself, he may have been played for a big payday or he may have been a stupid idiot that was just too aggressive and it got out of control too fast. But the irony that he gets accused of sexual misconduct with a person brought on to teach the prevention of sexual misconduct is pretty ridiculous.

          WOW is all I can say.

    1. Uh, with 77 mil in their pockets…who do you think they’ll be coming after next? I am sweating bullets because I know several Universities are preparing to offer Prime 20 mil for a single year. Let’s see what Colorado does to retain him next year.

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