The start of the second half of the season will begin on what should be a beautiful Saturday night in a possibly fully packed Folsom Field. After a great 4-2 start to the season, Arizona State comes to town tied for the division lead. Homecoming is this weekend which means a larger than normal crowd, and possibly the first sellout since 2008. Speaking of 2008, this is likely the biggest recruiting weekend Colorado has had in 8 years as well. The DeSoto trio highlights a star-studded group visiting on Saturday, and hopefully we'll have a couple more commitments to talk about by the end of the weekend. So the stage is set, and the lights will be shining brighter than they have in several years. This team wants to prove they are ready to take the next step as a program, and that's why they must win this weekend.
The above reasons are why this game is the most important game for this season. This is a team the Buffs have never beaten, and on paper it's a team that they should beat no matter who's playing quarterback. The offensive line will definitely have to be better at picking up different pressures to give either Liufau or Montez enough time, but, that being said, Arizona State is dead last nationally in passing defense by quite a bit. If Wilkins starts, expect CU to blitz early and often to try and take advantage of his bad ankle. If it's Sterling-Cole, then CU just needs to play the defense they have been playing all season, and he won't be able to make enough plays to win. They need to set the edges and contain Kalen Ballage. If the defense can make a few stops, then I think Colorado will be fine.
Earlier this week, Mike Macintyre said that he respects Todd Graham as a coach and a person. With all due respect, I'm going to agree to disagree with Coach Mac on that one. Todd Graham is a human being that I think many Colorado fans aren't very fond of. He's ran up the score seemingly every year since Colorado joined the Pac-12, and not to mention the whole practice recording fiasco. The crowd will be electric in Folsom Saturday with this in mind. The fan base wants this one bad. Colorado will be confident and be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after a poor showing last weekend. There's a good chance that the captain of the ship, Sefo Liufau, will be back out there leading this offense. I'm expecting a really rowdy environment and a hungry football team. This one can change the outcome of the division. If this team wants to take the next step, then it is time to face this challenge head on and win a crucial division game.
1. Run the rock. This isn't a game in which the Buffs have to rush for 200-plus yards (although it would be nice). But what they must do is establish a running game that is a viable threat, which will then open up the passing game.
1. Energize the crowd. The attendance at Folsom Field on Saturday night could push 50,000. That kind of noisy support could be a key element for CU, especially if the Buffs can get their fans engaged with an early score. Fast starts have been a big factor in CU’s success this season, but it was unable to produce early offense last week at USC.
Graham said earlier this week that he expects Wilkins to play. Graham has flat out lied to reporters before, but for now he says that's the plan. Like I said, if Wilkins does start, expect pressure early and often from Leavitt and Co
“We recruited him hard and got to know his family really well,” MacIntyre said. “His uncle (Howard Ballage) played here and was a good player. I’m happy for him doing well at Arizona State… I don’t cry over spilled milk, we just move on. I love the kids that we have.”
Here is a great article about Phillip Lindsay that was featured in the Washington Post. He, personally, is one of my favorite players on this team because of his playing style and leadership, and this article is a great read.
"It's the same players I've been playing since I was a redshirt freshman, but they've gotten older," he said. "Their offense is a little different, but it's just experience. You give the same guys three years with each other I would hope they're having the season like they're having.
Jaleel Awini has been battling a back injury, and finally returned to practice this week. The senior will be in uniform this weekend and may contribute on special teams this week. He's been through a lot throughout his college career, and it is good to hear that he finally overcame his back injury.
If anyone is interested, there will be an open practice/scrimmage Saturday before the football game. The doors will open at 2:00 Saturday, and the scrimmage is expected to start at 2:45.
Moral victories are for teams with low standards. Those outside the CU program have been more willing to count the moral victories, because, after 10 consecutive losing seasons, it's difficult for most to see the Buffaloes as something other than a team that can't win.
Colorado is expecting a heavy dosage of run this week. Kalen Ballage is scary out of the "Sparky" formation (he had 8 TD's against Texas Tech), and CU needs to be prepared to stop Ballage as well as Demario Richard if they want to have maintained success against ASU.