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Weekly Staff Discussion - "What If" Colorado Actually Beats Missouri?

Welcome to our weekly discussion amongst The Ralphie Report's staff. Same format as last week, so dig right in.

Feel free to throw your answers to the same questions into the comments below.

Buffs Questions:

1) All of the media discussion around the Georgia is revolving around the Bulldogs losing and A.J. Green's day (rightfully so on Green) as opposed to the Buffaloes pulling off a hard fought win (some are still referring to CU as "hapless"). After a 3-1 start, the Buffs aren't getting any credit for a 3-1 start that no one really expected/predicted. Would a road win over Missouri all of a sudden reverse that trend and make some people stand up and notice that Colorado may be onto something this year? 

Bob: Yes...this would be an absolutely huge win for the Buffs given the past history against Missouri as well as the struggles on the road. You would have to take notice at that point and believe this team has matured. If Dan Hawkins were to get fired at the end of the season, you can point to the lack of road success and Missouri as two of the top reasons he was replaced. Killing two birds with one stone would show progress. It is also hard to gauge this Missouri team right now. From an outsiders perspective, the stats are there, they look impressive on paper and then you look at games against San Diego State and Illinois and start to scratch your head a little about how good this team is. Then you think about not having Aldon Smith. Not going to get ahead of myself and say the Buffs win (considering how poor Colorado has fared over the last three years) but if there was ever a time to win, it would be now.

Ash: Yes, but I don't think it'll reverse the trend--there'll always be haters. I expect that we'll be sports-media-underdogs against everyone but Kansas. It's all about consistency, and we're only now broaching that concept. What WOULD reverse the trend is if we go out on faurot field and beat the ever-living-crap out of Mizzou; then people would take notice.

David: I don't know if it would change how the folks in the media see us, but I think it would give us a pretty good indication of where we are. If we can go on the road and beat Missouri, a team that has had our number the last few years and comes into the matchup undefeated and ranked 24th in the nation, we might have to call our performance against Cal a fluke. Of course, we all know how well we've performed on the road recently...

Jon: I put two questions in this week that ask "what if we beat Missouri", but I think that this game is such a huge swing game for this team. While I think both the Georgia and Hawaii games will look a lot better at the end of the year then they currently do (root for the Warriors to upset Fresno this weekend), a win here would take away the media's ability to say "they haven't beaten anyone worth a damn" and "they still can't win on the road".  Lose and we will continue to be "those terrible Buffaloes" whether it is true or not.

2) Almost all of the CU - Missouri previews that I have read have predicted that the Tigers will carve up Colorado's 99th ranked passing defense. We all know we have two of the better corners in the conference, but we also know that we haven't gotten any breaks at the nickelback position. What do you think of our passing defense at this point in the season, are the numbers right? 

Bob: I think Colorado certainly needs to improve in getting pressure on the opposition's quarterback. I also think the numbers are a little misleading. Hawaii only had 7 yards rushing, they didn't even attempt to run. Georgia has AJ Green, no one is going to stop him. I think Jimmy Smith is playing better than any corner in the country right now. That being said, I am certainly worried about the nickel back spot. I don't want to pick on the guy but a few times last week, Georgia could have further exploited Colorado with AJ Green by leaving him in the slot and getting him one on one with Patrick Mahnke. Watch for Missouri to really work the slot and tight ends this weekend. I don't think Colorado has an answer for it.

Ash: I think the numbers are 'right' in that they accurately represent who we've faced so far. If you look at the passing yards from each game, we've yielded: CSU-196, Cal-197, Hawai'i-330, and Georgia-221. Now, Hawai'i is First in the nation in passing, and we held them to 100yds less than their Average. We also gave up the least passing yards of anyone they've played. Georgia on the other hand has an 10' octopus with NFL talent playing at WR who can pluck the ball out of Murray's hand from 20 yards away. We've also held each of our opponents below their season passing average. I think we've managed well against passing attacks better than what Missouri will bring on Saturday.

David: The numbers are probably a little skewed after going up on CSU and Georgia early, and shutting down the run against Cal. Not to mention playing Hawaii, who racks up yards against everybody. But we're not perfect and Missouri is definitely a team that can throw the ball around. But mostly, I think finally finding a running game will help as much as anything. Being able to keep the Missouri Offense off the field will make our passing numbers better.

Jon: If you take out the Hawaii game (and the Warrior offense has pretty much shredded everyone they have played) then we have held everyone to 221 yards or less and that 221 can pretty much all be attributed to the best wide receiver in college football. Another thing that the stats don't show is how many times the offense has put the d in terrible situations this year. I think the Buffs have a much better defense then the numbers let on.

3) If (yes, it's a big if) the Buffs pull of the very large road upset this weekend, how will it change your outlook on the rest of the 2010 season?

Bob: I will certainly have a rosier outlook. Colorado has played six straight quarters of impressive football. Haven't been able to say that during the Hawkins era. Throw four more solid quarters on the road, we are in uncharted territory. Win this week, you have to look at the rest of the schedule and feel pretty good. Excluding Nebraska and Oklahoma, the rest of the schedule would look very winnable. Talk about a pivotal game! Yes, it is a big IF they win this game!

Ash: I actually thought we'd only be 2-2 coming into this game, but I pegged this one as a win for us. My expectation is still for CU to win; so When We Do (positive thinking!) we'll be where I think we should be: in line to steal the North.

David: Like I said before, it would make me reevaluate the Cal game. But how many of us think the Cal game was the exception after the way we've consistently performed poorly on the road?

Jon: A win over Missouri would mean a 4-1 start and a very realistic chance of at least a lower tier bowl game. Kansas would like a win, but Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa State all look much improved while Texas Tech looks to be down. If we beat the Tigers I would be very disappointed if we didn't get to seven wins.

CFB Questions:

1) Rank the BCS conferences based on the season so far.

Bob: Pac-10, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Big East.

Ash: It pains me to type these three letters first: SEC. Then Pac-10, Big Ten, Big XII, ACC Mountain West, ACC, Big East.

David: It's still early, so I'm going to cheat on this question. I say SEC, Pac 10 and Big 10 seem fairly even (depth vs talent at the top), so they're tied at 1. After that is the Big 12 and then the ACC. Sorry Big East, but you haven't impressed me at all

Jon: Pac-10, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, ACC, Big East. The middle of the SEC is just not as strong this year as they normally are. In a neutral site game do you think Stanford would beat Florida? I do. Also, the MWC is definitely better than the Big East.

2) AZ Desert Swarm brought up a very good point about start times in the new Pac-12. The gist of the story was that the Pac-12 is considering moving up start times to make the games more accessible to the east coast. For Arizona and Arizona State fans that could mean sitting through games in 100+ weather. If you were a Wildcat or Sun Devil fan/student how would you feel about that?

Bob: All I know is I have seen the co-eds at both schools on TV and I must say, there may be some advantages to the additional heat. It sucks to play in November if your Nebraska, it'll suck to play in the desert in September

Ash: Scott seems committed to making the Pac-12 nationally relevant as a conference, and I think moving games up is a great way to do it. It's not fair to strand fans, students, and athletes in the heat, so perhaps during the first month or so of the season, the 'Desert games' can be in the evening and be the 'West-Coast Primetime' games to keep the temperatures reasonable and keep the Western US tuned in. [sarcasm] Or they can all go play at the University of Phoenix dome... [/sarcasm]

David: Well it depends. I'm sure that means even less clothing for all of the coeds...But seriously, they'll get more TV exposure, and even the kids can appreciate that. They already live there, so I'm certain they can handle it.

Jon: I understand that it's for the good of the conference and all but I have sat through some early season game in Oklahoma that were absolutely BRUTAL and it's not anywhere near as hot as Arizona. Unless the teams were playing a big OOC game you would have to think that the heat would really hurt attendance which wouldn't be helpful for the conference at all.

3) Give me the final scores:

- Alabama @ South Carolina
- LSU @ Florida
- Florida State @ Miami
- Michigan State @ Michigan
- USC @ Stanford

- Alabama @ South Carolina 24 - 12
- LSU @ Florida has there ever been a game that you are less excited for pinning two top 15 teams against each other? 12-14...both offenses are bad
- Florida State @ Miami 21-24
- Michigan State @ Michigan 20-21
- USC @ Stanford 14-41 Harbaugh kills

- Alabama @ South Carolina - Bama 28-13 - I don't see a real contest here. Sorry Spurrier
- LSU @ Florida - Florida 12-11 - There has to be something crazy in this game, how 'bout eleven points?
- Florida State @ Miami - Florida St 28-24
- Michigan State @ Michigan - Michigan St. 41-35
- USC @ Stanford - Stanford 34-31

- Alabama @ South Carolina 33-27 Alabama
- LSU @ Florida 24-17 LSU
- Florida State @ Miami 37-17 Miami
- Michigan State @ Michigan 44-37 Michigan
- USC @ Stanford 41-17 Stanford

- Alabama @ South Carolina 21-24
- LSU @ Florida 20-17
- Florida State @ Miami 31-27
- Michigan State @ Michigan 38-31
- USC @ Stanford 10-35

Awesome Question:

1) Which Pac-12 road trip are you most looking forward to these coming seasons?

Bob: UCLA or Cal. Boy, does LA and San Fran blow the Big 12 cities away

Ash: With the band I attended games in the LA Coliseum and Sun Devil stadium, and later got to attend a game in the Rose Bowl. All three were awesome, but I'm most looking forward to returning to Tempe as an away game. That said, I'd also like to attend a game at Oregon after we've beaten them once.

David: Pullman: A WINABLE ROAD GAME! Just kidding. I'll be living in LA, so those won't count for me. If we go there early enough in the season, it's got to be Seattle, because I've never been and I want to go down and check out Mt. Rainier. I've climbed Mt. Whitney down in California, which is the tallest in the Continental US, but Rainier is only a few feet shorter. By then I should be completely recovered from my ankle surgery, and that's on my bucket list.

Jon: Because I have never been (to the state at all), I am going to have to say Oregon. I can't wait to see that stadium in action, and hopefully the Buffs can give them a run for their money.