If, before the season, you had suggested to me that the Buffs would still be undefeated heading into Week 5, I would've told you that it would require an Act of God. No offense to the team and their effort, but the non-conference schedule seemed guaranteed to produce at least one loss. A 1000-year rainfall event later, and here we sit, proudly cheering on one of only 29 squads still unblemished by defeat.
Layoff impact: Colorado is playing for the first time since its Sept. 7 win over Central Arkansas, which seems like months ago, though it actually has been only 20 days. After their Sept. 14 game with Fresno State was called off because of the flooding, the Buffs had a bye in Week 4. This is Colorado’s first trip to Corvallis. The previous two meetings (1931, 1963) took place in Portland. This is the last Pac-12 team Colorado is yet to play since joining the league (though the Cal game in 2011 was the back end of a home and home that didn’t count in the conference standings).
"I think the primary aspect is they have to go into it with a mindset that it's not a trip," MacIntyre said when asked how he approaches road games with his players. "It's a business. You always hear coaches say it's a business trip. Well, you're going there with one thing in mind and one thing only, win the football game. And you have to understand that. You can enjoy all the stuff and take it all in so to speak, but you have to always have the mindset and perspective you're going to win the football game at all odds."
"I learned a lot," said Henderson. "I had to gain experience fast. It's evolved my game to get better each and every year. To be able to make plays, react faster, know different formations, different routes, the game has developed in my mind. "It's easier for me now."
"If anything, we've been cranking it up in practice, competing with our first-team defense against the first-team offense and keeping score on first downs and turnovers and touchdowns," quarterback Connor Wood said. "Coaches have not let us get out of sync, get out rhythm since we've been having so much time off."
That’s the quarterback the Buffs will face in Corvallis. "We’re going to have to kind of disrupt their routes and then we’re going to have to mix it up," said CU head coach Mike MacIntyre of the defenses the Buffs will run against the Beavers. "Hopefully we can mix it up enough that it will confuse them a little bit and help us make plays and hopefully create some turnovers in the passing game for them."
Mannion has two main weapons. Brandin Cooks leads the nation in receiving yards (639) and receiving touchdowns (7). But it is the other receiver, Richard Mullaney, which has caught coach MacIntyre’s eye on film. "(Mullaney) makes big play after big play after big play", said MacIntyre of Oregon State’s other main threat – who was added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list just this week.
OSU will try to establish a running game, but I don't see much of that happening with the piecemeal offensive line that will start against Colorado. The Beavers probably will be forced to throw for most of their yardage against a Buffalo defense that can't be considered among the Pac-12's elite.
Before the season, I said the Buffs would win five games, best-case scenario. I could not find a coveted sixth win on their schedule. Didn't see them beating Oregon State. Didn't see them beating Arizona State. Didn't see them beating UCLA, Washington, USC or Fresno State. Or Oregon. As of Wednesday, however, I think they have a good shot at 3-0.
Colorado has only played two games this season while every other Pac-12 Conference team has played at least three, but true freshman linebacker Addison Gillam leads the conference in tackles per game. Gillam is averaging 10.5 tackles a game through the first two games of his career. He is the only player in the conference averaging double digit tackles per game to this point.
"I think the conference is very good from top to bottom," MacIntyre said following Wednesday morning’s practice. "I think a lot of other teams in the league are excellent and I think it looks like anybody can beat anybody on a given Saturday right now. Maybe except Oregon. They’re kind of pummeling everybody still, which is good for national pub but for the Pac-12, hopefully it’ll be competitive as it goes along with them, too."
Howell blog: Catching up with ex-CU Buff Nick Kasa - Buffzone - Brian Howell catches up with tight end Nick Kasa.
"We’ve got to find somebody who needs a game for a very specific reason, either, I need the money. I need it because I need one more game to try and be bowl eligible," Senter said. "Maybe they lost a game they didn’t think they were going to lose." Added MacIntyre on a team that would be interested: "If you needed another game to win that you thought you could win to come to a bowl game. That would be my thought process on it. If you don’t think you can win, they’re probably not going to play us."
5. Colorado: The Buffs aren’t going as young as they did last year, but they are still getting production from their rookies. And they have found something special in linebacker Addison Gillam. Through two games he’s the Buffs leading tackler with 20 stops -- including a sack, two tackles for a loss and five stops on third down. He also blocked a punt. Defensive end Jimmie Gilbert should also continue to see time. In 64 snaps he has three tackles and a sack.
Tad Boyle enters his fourth season as coach with four returning starters from an NCAA Tournament team. I was court side in Waco during Colorado's last season in the Big 12 when Boyle's first Colorado team took our squad (PJIII'sfreshman/Lace's Senior year) to the wire in a tough game and therefore was shocked when the following year they wouldn't have been able to find Brady Heslip even if he was wearing neon yellow ... errr, wait.
Colorado apparently tried to line up the entire Big 12 in its crosshairs, but ended up with just the top of the conference. The Buffaloes open their season against Baylor on a "neutral" court in Dallas, Texas. They also host the Kansas Jayhawks on Dec. 7 and take on Oklahoma State in Las Vegas on Dec. 21.