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Buffs Preview 2014: Schedule breakdown and prediction

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Taking a game-by-game look at the Buffs schedule in 2014.

Doug Pensinger

Schedule/predictions

Aug 29

Colorado State

Denver, CO

Sep 06

Massachusetts

at Foxborough, MA

Sep 13

Arizona State

Boulder, CO

Sep 20

Hawai'i

Boulder, CO

Sep 27

California

at Berkeley, CA

Oct 04

Oregon State

Boulder, CO

Oct 18

USC

at Los Angeles, CA

Oct 25

UCLA

Boulder, CO

Nov 01

Washington

Boulder, CO

Nov 08

Arizona

at Tucson, AZ

Nov 22

Oregon

at Eugene, OR

Nov 29

Utah

Boulder, CO

CSU: The Rocky Mountain Showdown kicks off the season, as per the new norm. This game, which many Buff fans are reluctant to take part of, is one of the hardest to read for the new season. CSU lost almost all of their production on both sides of the ball (4 OL starters, Kapri Bibbs, Shaquil Barrett, 4 D-linemen, Austin Berk), but CU lost Paul Richardson and is still relatively young. That being said, I predict that CU will beat CSU handily. They just lost too much to replace and we can at least mitigate our losses, if not exceed them.

Umass: Not much to say about this one. Colorado will win (if they don't, even though it's a road game, the Buffs are in trouble). This is essentially playing another FCS team.

Buffs Preview 2014

ASU: Ah, the first underdog game for CU. Also, the supposed unveiling of the new seats for the stadium. There is a good chance, a very good chance, that CU will be 2-0 entering this game. There is also a very good chance that ASU will be 2-0 entering this game, making a match of the unbeatens. This is a popular upset pick among the Buff faithful, as ASU lost a lot of starters on D and this is the home opener for CU. However, I don't see it this way. The Sun Devils unfortunately have a Heisman candidate in Taylor Kelly and the offense to let him thrive. They won't be losing to Colorado this year. Side note, ASU is my least favorite PAC program and if Tempe sunk into the cesspool of Hell it emulates, I wouldn't mind. Another side note, this projected destroying of CU will be nationally televised, so at least we get money to get killed.

Hawaii: A home game that CU can, and should, win. Finally, a thumping of another team from CU. Similarly to the Umass game, this is another game against a glorified FCS opponent, where the Buffs were not long ago.

California: CU's only PAC-12 win last year will be their first this year. California is a team on the ropes, off the rails, and on thin ice. Whichever metaphor you use, Cal is falling apart. The worst major conference team in college football last year, Berkley lost a lot of players to graduation and declaration for the draft. I am still baffled by sites and writers that have Cal "rising up" this year and overtaking CU and Utah to be top-10. They have talent, but they have a second year coach, tons of attrition, and a young QB who's rattled taking the helm. Sounds a little like us last year, doesn't it? That is why I am taking CU to win this game, even on the road. I put faith in Coach Mac's ability to make Colorado win the games they should, and this is one of them. There is no reason to lose to the dumpster fire that is Cal-Berkley, and we won't.

OSU (UPSET ALERT): A return trip to Boulder to play the Beavers, who crushed us last year. Things have changed since then, but not enough. They still have a top-10 college QB in Sean Mannion, and still have talent on both sides of the ball. They did, however, lose all everything wideout Brandin Cooks and nine starters on defense. For that reason, added to CU's home advantage, I am calling this game close, but no cigar. We are still not strong enough, big enough, or fast enough to compete consistently in the PAC, and this game will show it. This is another trendy upset alert by fans.

BYE WEEK- time for 5 Bold Predictions

  1. Sefo Liufau will exceed expectations and become a top half PAC-12 QB.

  1. Michael Adkins will rush for 800 or more yards this season and overtake Christian Powell.

  1. Derek McCartney will get more sacks this year than Chidera Uzo-Diribe did last year.

  1. Colorado will win 6 games (!!!) and become bowl-eligible.

  1. The RDE spot performs better this year than last year, even without Uzo-Diribe.

USC: Not much to say about this one. CU will most likely get creamed, USC is just too talented and at home. Let's move on before this gets more depressing.

UCLA: This will be another Colorado loss, and I'm saying it will be bigger than last year's moral victory.  Brett Hundley is an amazing quarterback, and UCLA has the talent around him to really do some damage  They did not lose much, comparatively, and they have the depth to weather those losses. Second straight blowout for CU.

Washington (UPSET ALERT): It seems like no one is picking this game as an upset because of the drubbing they put on us last year. However, almost significant skill player (Price, Sefarian-Jenkins, Sankey) from last year is gone. They won't be able to pick a starting QB until August due to Cyler Miles getting arrested. They still have upper-tier talent, so don't be surprised if this backfires, but I think CU can, and will, pull this one out. It's at home, coming back from two stompings, and I think Mac and Co. will be tired of being stomped on. They will come out aggressive and hard-nosed, and I predict a monster game for Josh Tupuo. The more I think about it, the more I see a Colorado team taking the fight to them for once. We must take revenge for Juice Dotson. We must win.

Arizona (UPSET ALERT, WINSTREAK ALERT): Another pick for a CU upset, seeing as they lost almost as much as Washington did this offseason, but I don't see it. There are two main reasons why this game ends badly for the Buffs. One, it's a PAC-12 road game. This team has not traveled well, in this conference, and going to Tuscon doesn't help much. That automatically lowers out chances. Two, the dreaded read-option. CU got shredded by the read-option last year, and while taking steps to defend it this year (read: practicing against it all the time and Leo Jackson), I think that Rich Rodriguez will game plan to run all over CU. The talent levels between these teams are more comparable, however, so this may end up going in the Buff's W column.

Bye Week- 5 Not-Bold Predictions

  1. Josh Tupou will be the best player on our defensive line.

  1. Cu will start 2-0, with wins against CSU and UMASS.

  1. Nelson Spruce will be the team's most consistent weapon on offense.

  1. The defense will perform better than the offense this season.

  1. The interior of the O-line will be the best it's been in four years.

Oregon: We lose. Badly.

Utah: The matchup we have been waiting for. Our supposed mountain rivals. The team that was/is almost as bad as us. The game that decides our bowl fate. The main difference between our current coach and the coaches of the last 8 or so years is winnability. Coach Mac seems to never put his team in a position to lose games that they should win. And this game, they should win. It will be decided in the trenches, as it always is with the rival Utes. However, this year, they don't the big advantage over us. Our O-line will not be dominated and our D-line may actually get some penetration. With that in mind, Liufau and company will ne put in a position to succeed.Hallelujah! With a rousing thumping, yes, thumping, of Utah, at Folsom, the last game of the regular season, Colorado fans will rejoice with their team. The fight song will be shouted from the mountaintops as finally, finally, CU becomes bowl eligible.

Closing thoughts

This is a very optimistic offseason, and that is reflected by (some would say) this sunshine-pumping season prediction. But the winds of change are sweeping through Boulder. As Coach Mac says, "you've got to believe before you can achieve." They have the first part down, now it's up to them to do the second part. I believe that CU will become bow eligible this season, and maybe even win one. If that happens, expect the 2015 season preview to be happier still. As always, leave any comments, suggestions, and complaints in the comments below. Go Buffs.