Monthly Magazine: Colorado Edition

September 25, 2023

Colorado Buffs Face Uphill Battle Against No. 8 USC Trojans

© Lucas Boland/The Coloradoan / USA TODAY NETWORK

Through the first three weeks of the season, there was no bigger story in college football than the University of Colorado. The Buffs were hot, turning into must-see TV with Deion Sanders at the helm.

Coach Prime turned the program around in the blink of an eye. After going 1-11 a season ago, the new head coach had CU on the national stage, with all eyes on Boulder. Beating TCU, Nebraska and TCU to start the season had the Buffaloes back on the college football map.

That all came screeching to a halt on Saturday, however. Not only did the Buffs lose at Oregon, but they got blown out. Their 42-6 loss to the Ducks popped the balloon, knocking CU out of the top 25.

Now, Colorado has to regroup. They have No. 8 USC coming to town on Saturday, providing a chance to get things back on track.

What to like about the Buffs…

  • Colorado has been great offensively in three of their first four games. They scored 45 against TCU, 36 in their win over Nebraska and 43 in double-overtime versus CSU. Led by Shedeur Sanders, the Buffs offense has looked unstoppable at times, as the quarterback has spread it around to a cast of talented wide receivers, tight ends and running backs for most of the season.
  • CU has taken advantage of the “lack of respect” card all season. They were a big underdog against the Horned Frogs, with most observers doubting Coach Prime in his season debut. They turned Matt Rhule’s offseason comments into motivation for their game against the Huskers. And they used Jay Norvell’s quip about wearing a hat and sunglasses to add fuel to the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Now, they’re a 24.5-point underdog at home; that’ll provide them with plenty of motivation.

What not to like about the Buffs…

  • In three of their four games, Colorado’s defense has been non-existent. They gave up 42 to TCU, 35 to Colorado State and 42 to Oregon. Against the Ducks on Saturday, CU didn’t come close to getting their opponent off the field early in the games, falling behind 21-0 in the blink of an eye. With Caleb Williams and the Trojans coming into town, the scoreboard operator should be plenty busy at Folsom Field.
  • Colorado doesn’t run the ball very well. While Shedeur Sanders has been prolific through the air, throwing for 1,410 yards and 11 touchdowns through four games, the Buffs haven’t been productive on the ground. Dylan Edwards is their leading rusher on the season, racking up just 157 yards on 28 carries. As a team, the Buffs average just 55.8 yards rushing per game.

Bud Parmalee’s Pick: Colorado +24.5 (-110)

It’d be silly to pick the Buffs to pull off the upset, although that’d provide a ton of value. But it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that CU can keep it close. This line is the result of recency bias, with the Oregon game fresh in everyone’s mind. But Colorado has been a surprise all season. They’ll be able to stay within three touchdowns at home against Southern Cal.