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Pick a Number … Any Number

Welcome to the “Silly Season” of college football.

Rosters are largely set for the fall, with only a handful of scholarships left for schools to fill (CU has 78 scholarship players as of now, with seven scholarships available). School is out for a few weeks, with the players getting a little respite between finals week and the start of summer workout sessions. Coaches – at least for those schools which still prioritize high school Signing Day – are working on recruiting the Class of 2025.

College football writers, meanwhile, still have to fill space and earn their keep.

Which means its time for college football websites to post rankings, trying to either show their expertise, create drama … or both.

It’s all about the clicks.

Remember when Thumper told us in the Disney classic, Bambi: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”?

Well, that doesn’t apply to college football pundits.

And, with anything said about Coach Prime and Colorado all but guaranteed to get clicks, the Buffs are fair game.

With Coach Prime’s roster building method still to be a proven path to success, the easier (lazier?) choice is to predict dire consequences for Colorado in 2024.

Some recent examples … 

Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … 

The spring transfer window closed last week for football and basketball players. While hundreds of names remain in the portal, the number of impact transfers has dwindled to the point that we feel comfortable drawing initial conclusions.

Some programs fared better than others.

Loser: Colorado football

The Buffaloes have been active again this spring, both with player movement and social media disputes. Coach Deion Sanders managed to fortify his offensive line with a bevy of transfers from Power Five programs. But attrition at skill the positions has been severe with the departures of tailback Dylan Edwards and cornerbacks Omarion Cooper and Cormani McClain. And we view the upheaval itself as a detriment. Cohesion matters, especially up front.

Athlon Sports … 

After two historic programs of the Big 12 opted to transition to the SEC, the Big 12 was in dire need of other teams to fill the void or were at risk of implosion.

They were able to find not just two but four teams to take their spots. The Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils, Colorado Buffaloes, and Utah Utes will all join the Big 12 next season.

The question now is which of those teams is in the best spot for the future. All four teams have qualities that could make them the best of the group but is it enough to overcome their deficiencies? Let’s take a look from least likely to succeed to most likely to succeed.

4. Colorado Buffaloes … It was a tight race for the last spot, but it is hard to argue Colorado will experience the most growing pains next season in the Big 12. Despite the belief in head coach Deion Sanders, the Buffaloes’ recruiting strategy leaves much to be desired.

It is difficult to build a successful program through the transfer portal while ignoring high school recruiting. The Buffaloes have failed to impress on the recruiting trail and will be undergoing another massive roster overhaul, which leaves me concerned about Colorado’s success next season.

247 Sports … 

11. COLORADO BUFFALOES – All eyes will be on Deion Sanders and Colorado again in 2024. However, the chances the Buffaloes are any sort of contender in a return to the Big 12 is unlikely. Sanders continues to try and increase the talent level on the roster with a heavy dose of transfer additions. Consensus All-American Travis Hunter is a two-way standout and Shedeur Sanders proved he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the country when given a clean pocket, although keeping him clean is another major concern Colorado needs to address. The trenches are where the Buffaloes are at a greatest disadvantage. If it can improve both the offensive and defensive line, Colorado might be able to at least get to a bowl game.

CBS Sports … 

  • 11. Colorado … Colorado’s mess of contradictions makes them perhaps the toughest team nationally to project. The Buffs finished last place in the Pac-12 in 2023 but featured two of the best players in the nation in corner Travis Hunter and quarterback Shedeur Sanders. Colorado posted perhaps the worst running game in America, but every offensive lineman and running back are gone. On paper, they appear to have upgraded the OL position, but that was true last year, too, before the historically bad results. The defensive line transfer talent is off the charts, but defensive back is a little shakier. From a depth perspective, there’s almost no way to tell what Colorado has with all the turnover, not even counting turning over half their coaching staff and both playcallers. Ultimately, the unpredictability lands them right around the middle tier of the conference.

But the numbers haven’t been all bad … 

Joel Klatt … 

Joel Klatt at Fox Sports has Colorado in his list of team which “landed just outside of my Top 25”. (Full disclosure: Klatt is, of course, a CU alumnus. Full disclosure II: Klatt has Nebraska as his No. 22 team) … 

Spring football is officially in the books, which means it’s time for my first post-spring top 25 rankings.

First off, let me say, I love doing these rankings, but this one was really tough. I began my process by grouping these teams into four blocks. So, while it looks like this is a cohesive 1-25 ranking, in reality, it’s really four different groups of teams.

The first block of teams was in the 19-25 range, and there were plenty of teams that just missed the cut. Those teams that landed just outside my top 25 were North Carolina State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Colorado.

Recruiting Rankings … 

Much has been made in the national media when it comes to Colorado’s high school recruiting under Coach Prime. From the day he was hired, Deion Sanders has stated that he only wants 10-15 high school recruits per season, preferring to build his team through the Transfer Portal.

So, if you want to look at CU’s recruiting rankings as a hater, then these numbers reinforce your negative comments:

  • CU Recruiting Class of 2023 (high school only) … Rivals: 31st … 247 Sports: 30th
  • CU Recruiting Class of 2024 (high school only) … Rivals: 73rd … 247 Sports: 81st
  • CU Recruiting Class of 2025 (high school only – to date) … Rivals: 52nd … 247 Sports: 64th

But … if you look at CU’s transfer portal rankings, CU is among the nation’s leaders:

  • CU Recruiting Class of 2023 (transfers only) … Rivals: 1st … 247 Sports: 1st
  • CU Recruiting Class of 2024 (transfers only) … Rivals: 1st … 247 Sports: 7th

Which leads to CU’s combined Class rankings of:

  • CU Recruiting Class of 2023 (overall) … Rivals: 18th … 247 Sports: 21st
  • CU Recruiting Class of 2024 (overall) … Rivals: 26th … 247 Sports: 22nd

Yes, CU’s rankings in the transfer rankings and the overall rankings are inflated by the sheer numbers of recruits CU is bringing in. But, when you are looking at roster development, turnover was mandatory for Coach Prime and his staff.

Recall that the Transfer Portal was around for the final year of the Karl Dorrell era. That staff had every opportunity to try and build a program, both through the high school ranks and the Transfer Portal. While Dorrell was watching future NFL Draft picks like Christian Gonzalez, Mekhi Blackmon and Brenden Rice walk out of the Champions Center, what was Dorrell bringing in?

  • CU Recruiting Class of 2022 (high school) … Rivals: 43rd … 247 Sports: 47th
  • CU Recruiting Class of 2022 (transfer) … 247 Sports (78th) … (Rivals didn’t track separate transfer ratings in 2022)
  • CU Recruiting Class of 2022 (overall) … Rivals: 43rd … 247 Sports: 58th

So … Would you rather have a Recruiting Class near the bottom of the list of Power Five conference schools? Or institute wholesale changes, and have a Class ranked in the Top 25 nationally?

The pundits can have their say … but the Buff Nation seems pretty happy with the upgrade in the CU roster.

Just goes to show …

  1. That you can use numbers to justify pretty much any position you want to take when it comes to Colorado football; and
  2. None of know for sure what is going to happen with this team … until it takes the field in August.


3 Replies to “Pick a Number … Any Number”

  1. I think there is something to be said about the negatives of getting your entire team out of the transfer portal. When things go bad, the cohesion to fight through is just not there. That said, I think Prime recognized that and has been emphasizing that the team hang out. There is also a core of guys that are still there instead of the mass turn over at the end of spring that occurred. I am going with Klatt on this one. Good but not great.

  2. Wilner? He still has a job? Thought he was in permanent fetal position with the disintegration of the PAC. In his typical low knowledge and lack of initiative to do any research, he fails to mention that Cormani proved to be overhyped and not willing to work hard, and the losses of RBs Dylan and Alto were unexpected, but the Buffs have Welch a promising freshman (yes, Jon, CU does have freshmen), Offenball (and his new scholarship) and Hayden and Amos as experienced, productive transfers.

    Happy Klatt gave CU some respect, he put the holers at 22 with a true freshman QB, and a flaky one at that? We’ll see. Color me skeptical.

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