IT’S ALMOST TIME. After a taxing week, month, year, whatever time is, I’m ready to be hurt again. Given all the new and surprising ways 2020 has decided to completely suck, I will take solace in the Colorado Buffaloes. Even if they are bad, it will be a familiar kind of disappointment, and you take what you can get right now.
We don’t know how much of the 7 game season will be played, but based off rising case counts just about everywhere, it won’t be all of it. I’ll try to break down how each opponent looks heading into 2020 and how the Buffs might fare in each of these games.
The first game of the season might be the best chance the Buffs have at a victory this year. UCLA is still relatively inexperienced under third year head coach Chip Kelly, and their talent level is nothing to be scared of. Dorian Thompson-Robinson returns under center for the Bruins and he has some nice (but not game-breaking) pieces around him. Demetric Felton out of the backfield is someone to watch. He’s very athletic and he started out at WR, so he’s a natural pass-catcher. The offensive line looks to be relatively shaky, so they may not run the ball that often at UCLA.
I like their defense much more than their offense at this point. It’s loaded with some experienced talent, like DE Osa Odighizuwa and FS Quentin Lake, with some pretty big question marks. This defense completely shut down a relatively toothless CU offense in 2019, and they might be able to do the same this year.
I think that the CU defense will be the best unit on the field in this game, and I think Nate Landman will be the best player on the field. I like CU in a close, gross game.
David Shaw has slowed his momentum in recent years. After a charmed run taking over for Jim Harbaugh, Shaw has been the most consistent force in the Pac-12. His star power has lost some of its luster recently, but Coach Shaw still pilots the most consistently successful program in the conference.
After CU’s surprise win against this team last year, people may be expecting a repeat performance. it’s certainly possible, given all the consternation around Santa Clary County this year, but I am not expecting any such W. Davis Mills is a good quarterback, and they have done a great job surrounding him with weapons like Connor Wedington. On defense, they are experienced, but lacking some of the upper tier talent of recent past.
Once again, Steven Montez pulled an amazing performance out of nowhere against ASU last year. That is a win in 2019 that I would not count on in 2020. Herm Edwards and the Sun Devis have possibly the most exciting QB in the conference with Jayden Daniels, and Herm has stacked the cupboard on defense, against all odds. The loss of Eno Benjamin and Brandon Aiyuk on offense are not immediately replaceable, but ASU has recruited very well at WR, so I don’t expect much of a drop off from the passing game.
The defense is still led by superstar LB Merlin Robertson, in his 3rd year starting. They really miss some of the pass rushers from Todd Graham’s past, and I don’t expect them to be that strong up front. Chase Lucas is in his 20th year at CB, and he should be a tough out, but I refuse to be scared of throwing to Jack Jones.
ASU should have more than enough firepower to take the win.
Clay Helton is doing OK now, they still have Kedon Slovis, and they have the best athletes in the conference (other than Oregon). This will be a blood bath.
OK, realistically this is where the Buffs have to use all their ammo and go for broke. Arizona is a wayward program right now, and they are on a similar talent level as CU. I don’t consider Kevin Sumlin to be a coach that can get his team above their talent level, so I think this is the worst team in the conference. As such, CU needs to get a win here.
Grant Gunnell is seen as more dangerous by the rest of the conference than Khalil Tate, but I don’t think there’s any actual way that Gunnell can do more damage to the Buffs than Tate did. With the Bad Man gone, this offense gets a little less scary. Watch for TE Bryce Wolma to be a consistent threat in the passing game.
On defense, they don’t have much to mention as threats here. Jalen Harris (older brother of Buffalo Jason Harris) can get to the QB, and they are pretty solid at CB with Lorenzo Burns at senior starting his 4th year and sophomore Christian Roiland-Wallce. I don’t trust their ability to hold up against the run, even though their typically undersized front is a little bigger this year.
If Colorado can run the ball effectively, I think they take it to Arizona pretty convincingly.
This will not go well, even with Utah’s complete loss experience from last year’s team.
Well, we don’t know who the 7th game will be against, but it will likely by a cross-divisional team. If we suppose that CU finishes 5th in the Pac-12 South, then it might be a team like Washington State or Oregon State. Between the two, I’d prefer to play Washington State.