"I feel really good to be here; it was a long process actually getting here," says Fortune, grabbing a volleyball to use as a footrest at the Coors Events Center. "Now that I’m finally here, it feels really good. I’m excited to start practicing with my teammates."
3. Dominique Collier, Colorado – Of all the freshman point guards on this list, Dominique Collier is walking into the best situation. Ranked No. 85 in the 2014 ESPN 100 list, Collier is the star of the Colorado Buffalo 2014 recruiting class and will probably get a shot to start alongside talented veteran starters Josh Scott, Askia Booker, and Xavier Johnson. With those veterans helping Collier come along, he will have no pressure on him to do too much.
"He's done some really good things at defensive end that you, quote, might not notice as much," MacIntyre said.
"He's had some hurries, he's had some big plays inside, he's had some tackles. But, I think with the way we're utilizing him, he's not getting tired out, he's not screwing up on either side of the ball. We're not over-using him both ways so to speak. I think that he can still keep doing the role that he's been doing. We'll keep using him the way the we're using him."
So, what will it be this weekend? Will Colorado continue its upward climb, serving notice the rest of the Pac-12 that the Buffs are not to be taken lightly, that Colorado will be competitive in most – if not every – conference game this fall?
Secondary coach Charles Clark said Wednesday that Thompson's role in the defense actually began to enlarge late last season when he was earning a lot of playing time. He took the opportunity and ran with it and now might be as important to the success of the unit and defensive tackle Josh Tupou or linebacker Addison Gillam.
"I do think they're trying to run the football more. I think that might be why (Mannion's) numbers are down a little bit. I think at the end of the year last year, I think they started to run the football more and I think they felt like that might give them more opportunities for play-action and big time shots, which it does. So, I think that's where they're trying to balance their attack out a little bit more."
Yet among Bobo’s two catches last weekend at California was a key 30-yard fourth-quarter TD reception that sent the game into overtime. It was his first career scoring reception, and in an offense that suddenly has taken flight in record fashion, Bobo saw it as both a personal breakthrough but little more than a business-as-usual moment for this receiving corps.
"It was a big confidence booster for me, just like the spring game," he said. "I think it shows I can make plays as well as some of the other receivers . . . it showed me that working hard paid off."
"One thing I pride myself on is being able to move on, because you have to have a short memory," Oliver said. "There's nothing that can possibly be done about the past, but if I let it affect the future, that's on me."
OREGON STATE (minus-6.5) at COLORADO: Saved this one for last because I have no earthly idea which way to lean. The Beavers are better, but they’re also banged up (to a greater extent than most teams). Pick: Colorado.
"The offense we play in is great, especially for a receiver, but I think the chemistry aspect is definitely there just because at this time last year, Sefo only had one or two games under his belt," Spruce said Tuesday.
"We've had this whole offseason and whole camp to really get on the same page and these games we've been having I feel like that connection has grown even stronger."
Would a win over Oregon State be considered "signature" for the Buffs?
Ted Miller/@TedMillerRK: Absolutely. Oregon State is a quality Pac-12 team that consistently plays in bowl games. Colorado is trying to push out of the bottom of the conference, not to mention energize a long-suffering fan base. While beating the Beavers wouldn’t resonate like a win over Oregon or USC or UCLA or Stanford would, the Buffs aren’t at that point yet. After the heartbreak of the loss at California, a home win over Oregon State would provide ample evidence that this team is moving forward under Mike MacIntyre.
"Now more than ever I just feel like this team is coming together and I truly feel like when we step on the field, we're not hoping to win, we expect to win," Munyer said. "It's great to see that, just by our attitude in practices, and competing in the games is showing up on film."
Oregon State wide receivers coach Brent Brennan has begun to wear the costume of Benny Beaver on recruiting trips to high school football games. Harmless fun? Or a clever plot by Brent Brennan to increase the amount of recruiting trips he can make? Brennan 1, NCAA 0.
"I think it's the footprint. When you look at Colorado, the footprint [of alumni] in the Pac-12 is about two-and-a-half to three times larger than in the Big 12," he said. Colorado's move to a more West Coast-oriented conference put it better in line with where its alumni live. DiStefano referenced the 1,500 people who showed up in Palo Alto, Calif., the first year Colorado played Stanford there.
"It was by far the largest pregame we've ever had for an away game," he said. "In the Big 12, the average for the pregame was 300 to 400 individuals."
Most weeks, throwing seven touchdowns would get you the No. 1 spot. But not this week, for two very important reasons: 1) Colorado lost. It might not have been Liufau's fault, but he's the quarterback, and shouldering blame comes with the gig. 2) Despite first-and-goal at the Cal 2-yard line in the second overtime, the Buffs came away with zero points. The loss overshadows an otherwise brilliant performance from Liufau, who was 46 of 67 for 455 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception.
Pac-12: Jon Embree (26), Colorado. Tenure: 2011-2012. Record: 4-21. Did not inherit a healthy program from Dan Hawkins, but it then got worse in an astonishing hurry under Embree. Nostalgia-addicted alums ignored the fact that former Buffalo Embree had never even been a coordinator, much less a head coach. Colorado gave up a staggering 552 points his second and final season. Dishonorable mention: Paul Wulff, Washington State; Ty Willingham, Washington; Buddy Teevens, Stanford; Walt Harris, Stanford; Karl Dorrell, UCLA.