Well, well, well. A couple hours from now, CU will take try and save their season. A win and there is a great chance the Buffs will be bowling and, with a good chance of beating Iowa State and a punchers chance at beating Nebraska, the Buffs could actually get to that 7 win mark. What does seven wins mean? Improvement and progress even though we might not see it on the field. 7 is better than 6. And even though we can't see improvement on the field, 99.6% of this teams offense is generated by freshman and sophomores. 99.6%. That unenviable for any coach. Throw in a couple of big injuries and Buffs fans can put a pretty nice spin on this year, even with blow out losses to Missouri and Texas. Lose this game, no bowl game, no marked sign of improvement and a questioning fan base. Fair or unfair, that is what will happen. Some of the criticism will be fair, some will be unfair but it will all be in the direction of desired results. Buffs fans don't want to keep saying, "next year." This is also a big game for recruiting. If the Buffs can string together 2 wins in a row and 3 in the last 4 going back to the Kansas State game, interest begins to go up for the Buffs. Lose, the Buffs have 5 commits which is not a strong base in the Big 12. Not saying they will lose any of the them but concern will grow about increasing that number to 15 or 18 commits. Not to sound doom and gloom on all of you but this is a spring board/pivotal/must win/really freaking big game that must be won. It's a game that I believe the Buffs should win. Texas A&M has beat Army, New Mexico and Iowa State on the year. Do you think the Buffs are better than those teams? The Aggies have lost to Arkansas St. and Kansas State. Yes, A&M has been accumulating stats like a fat kid accumulates Halloween candy but that is not the substance of this Aggie team. This Aggie team is young, slow and very beatable.
Nothing new here, just pleading for the Buffs to look at how they played Kansas State and they will win. So "Keys" will be really similar to that game. In honor of offensive coordinator Helfrich's wish, let's simplify:
Stop the Tex Ags Rushing Attack: The Buffs can give up two touchdown passes to Jerrod Johnson and still win the game. What the Buffs can't do is let the A&M rushing game get going. A&M is the worst rushing team in the Big 12. With the health of leading rusher Mike Goodson up in the air, A&M is an even worse rushing offense. The Buffs need to shut it down early and force Johnson to throw the ball a ton. I like the way our defense matches up with A&M. I think the CB's can keep pace with the Aggies WR's and with a little extra commitment to LB's at the line of scrimmage, I believe the Buffs can get to Johnson. But if CU starts giving up big runs, look for the CU defense to struggle against the pass as well. Stopping the run, limits a team's momentum and it also forces a young team like Texas A&M into long 2nd and 3rd down situation where the Buffs can start the turnover train.
the other keys to the game and prediction after the jump...
50 is the Magic Number - 50: The number of rushes the Buffs should attempt today. Texas A&M ranks dead last in the Big 12 against the run giving up a whopping 203 yards/game. The defensive line has 3 of its four starters under 260 lbs and they only have 11 tackles for loss the whole season. The Buffs offensive line has now been together for four games now and should be performing better. More reasons to keep the ball on the ground include:
- It will make Cody Hawkins/Tyler Hansen's life easier and will keep the turnovers down
- Extend drives, take time off the clock and wear down a defense that has been bad all year
- Keep the hot Jerrod Johnson sidelined and the Texas A&M offense out of rhythm
- Give confidence to the offensive line while they play assignment-based football.
This should be Helfrich's simplify plan this week.
No More Three Man Rush: If Colorado brings pressure like in the Kansas State game, the Buffs win. If CU let's Reesing and Daniel play against a soft zone defense with a three man rush, the Buffs lose. It is that simple. Today is your season Buffs. Play to win, don't play to contain.
Sustain Drives: One of our readers said it best. Football is a game of momentum. The Buffs need to start getting some continuity on offense. I am telling you, this Texas A&M defense is bad. I know the Buffs offense is just as bad but if there was ever a week to roll, the Buffs need to do it now. Limit the three and outs, limit the turnovers, don't get cute and march down the field with assignment based football. If the Buffs start getting into that vicious circle (thanks Dane Cook) of 3 & outs and Texas A&M gets hot like Mizzou did, there is no doubt in my mind we could see another blow out.
Out Coach Them: Best way for Hawk to make everyone a believer again is to have his best coaching performance at Colorado. A team that is excited, motivated, hitting hard and being flawless executing the game plan. Has Hawkins got this team to forget about last week and focus on this week? Does Hawkins still have this team's attention? He needs to answer that call today. This is a very winnable game. Again, A&M has a bad defense and a young offense. They have beat Army, New Mexico and Iowa State.
Colorado 28 - Texas A&M 17
Offensive Explosion! Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart get going, Josh Smith gets the ball 8 - 10 times on offense and Tyler Hansen plays the whole game. Brad Jones has a couple of sacks while the boys in the middle reek havoc all day. That is my pipe dream. That is my wish for the Buffs season to be relevant for the rest of year!