How can you go against history. Take the points Buffs fans! CU is going into Lawrence tomorrow and coming out with a victory. Call me crazy but read the preview from yesterday. Now the Buffs need to follow these "Keys to the Game." Tomorrow won't be easy but I don't think it is as hard as the Texas game or the FSU game. In recent years, CU has had trouble with more athletic teams and I am of the opinion that Kansas does not have the athleticism of FSU and by no means Texas. I grade this game harder than West Virginia though and the Buffs will still need to play their best game of the year (not saying much because they haven't played a complete game this year yet). Kansas is a team capable of blowing the Buffs out early but Hawk should have this team ready to go. Plus, the Buffs seem to win these games when their backs are against the wall. Either way, this contest is big for the rest of the 2008 Colorado Buffaloes season. My feelings are that if CU wins, it is reasonable to expect that the Buffs can reach that 7 win mark with wins against Texas A&M, Kansas State and Iowa State with a possible 8 win season if they go into Lincoln and take care of business. We would all love those results. Lose this game, who knows how a young team will respond? A three game losing streak with a dangerous offensive team coming into Boulder against what would be a demoralized CU team could turn into a big five game slide...then who knows? This is the biggest swing game I can remember in Boulder in quite a while; definitely of the Dan Hawkins era.
Last week I put together offensive and defensive keys to the game and you know what, we got ahead of ourselves. Like the current CU offense, we need to simplify and streamline things. I take the blame for the loss last week. I had too many points going towards too many things that we got ahead of ourselves. It is time to get back to basics!
Put Your Keys Up: "The Basic Keys to the Game"
When in Doubt, Look in the Past:
I am sorry for harping on it but the symmetries between the game against Texas Tech and this game tomorrow is ridiculous. The main point I would take away from history is the turnover margin. Kansas has lost two games in the past 2 years and should have lost last week. Coincidentally, those are the only three games the Jayhawks lost the turnover battle in the last two years. Morale of the story: Kansas is human. They win by being a mistake free football team. The Buffs need to play a cleaner game. If they do, history shows Kansas will lose!
Keep Weaknesses As a Weakness:
The Buffs defense has made a habit of letting their opponent turn a supposed "weakness" into a strength or better said, not exploiting a weakness. Against FSU, the dirty elephant in the room was QB Christian Ponder. Everyone and their mothers knew if the Buffs could make Ponder try to beat them, the Buffs would come out victorious. The Buffs allowed FSU to be successful on the ground and the offensive didn't help the defense by putting up points on the board. Ponder wasn't forced to beat the Buffs. Last week, RB Chris Ogbonnaya was able to shine from the running back position, something that Texas did not have in the four previous games. Kansas' running game is not strong, as much as the press wants to say they are back after last week (see why here). Make this Kansas team even more one dimensional than they want to be. Force a quarterback to throw 40+ times and let the defense pin back its ears to pressure Reesing...that will lead to turnovers.
...continue to read this preview and prediction after the jump...and hey, give us your prediction! Go Buffs!
Get a Lead:
Nothing is more important than this point. The Buffs only wins against D1 opponents this year have come when they scored first. And the only two loses were when the opponent scored first. In fact, in the last 18 games, (I am not counting the debacle that was the 2006 season) the Buffs win 70% of the time when they score first. The Buffs lose 75% of the time when the opponent scores first.
Getting a lead is also important for this teams confidence. CU is full of youth and I have a sense that this team doesn't have a great deal of senior leadership, especially on offense. This team needs something to go right on offense for it to get a little swagger back.
JFly Needs to Be Fly:
Many in the so called "CU Nation" is down on WR/KR Josh Smith. But I ask you, where would this offense be without him? Surely McKnight and Williams have not proven that they have improved since last year...only Josh Smith has. He is the only bona fide touchdown play maker on this team right now. Why Hawkins and this coaching staff refuses to play him exclusively is beyond me. This offense is so constrainted when he is not on the field, I have a hard time breathing just watching it. Keep getting the ball into his hands. But Josh, do yourself a favor and be smart on special teams...and return one to the hizzy!
I love that number. Who doesn't that lives in Colorado. It's a number of a Denver legend. The man, the myth, the legend. The good thing for CU's #7 is that they don't need him to be John Elway to win this game...he just can't be Brian Griese. Cody needs to have "it" this week or the heat will get amplified around the decision to keep him as the starting quarterback. What is "it"? Keep it simple, Cody. Protect the ball, make good decisions and get rid of the ball quick. Get the offense moving forward and in a rhythm. Gain control of the flow of the offense, don't rush and be confident. Show us all you are the quarterback for this team because right now you have shown no improvement from last year. I want to be back on the Cody Hawkins' bandwagon.
Alright Buffs fans, we know you are out there. Leave your prediction in the comment section and tell us what you think about the game Saturday morning.
Roll Up A Mighty Score/Never Give In/Shoulder to Shoulder/We will Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight