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Advanced stats love the Colorado Buffaloes

If you look at the numbers, they’re smiling back at Buff fans.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Seems like there is a lot less room to stretch on the Buffs bandwagon these days. It’s getting crowded with all of these fans jumping on, and even more crowded with these dumb numbers in the way. They have all these weird shapes that make it hard to get comfy on the way to the Rose Bowl. If I can’t sleep, I might as well talk to them and see what their story is and if they’re true Buff fans. Looks like they are.

Let’s start and end at Bill Connelly’s stat profile. Wanna get optimistic? Here’s what the cold, hard numbers have to say about CU’s next five games now that preseason projections are completely phased out:

  • The lowest margin of victory projected is @Stanford at one touchdown.
  • The lowest chance of victory is also @Stanford at 66%.
  • The toughest team left on the schedule is supposed to be a downward-trending UCLA.

There’s plenty more juicy nuggets in this stat profile. The most likely record, according to Bill Connelly, is 9-3, at 38%, followed by 8-4 at 29%, and 10-2 at 19%. 10-2 IS THE THIRD MOST LIKELY RECORD THIS YEAR, EVERYBODY. NOT A DRILL. Similarly, the most likely conference record is 7-2, which would be...*does the math* 5 more wins than he has had in his career. I love this year, man.

Let’s go a little deeper. This team is extremely balanced overall. The offense is ranked 23rd in offensive S+P, and 27th in defensive S+P. On offense, CU has the 6th fastest adjusted pace. When the Buffs go fast, they win way more often than not. The Buffs still own the first overall passing offense and the 27th overall rushing offense. This is a testament to the talent on offense, but it’s more of a testament to the great job that the offensive line has done. They have dominated teams and the only letdown game thus far has been USC (and the end of Michigan). Some other offense stuff:

  • They are the 28th most explosive offense and the 16th most explosive passing offense.
  • They are the 18th most efficient offense overall and are 18th best at finishing drives
  • Sefo Liufau is averaging 8.8 yards per attempt. That’s fantastic.

Switching to the defense. They are also super sweet.

Some quick notes again:

  • This team is #1 in expected turnover margin in the country at +7.68. That’s good.
  • This team is #8 and #9 in LB and DB havoc rate, respectively. That’s also good.
  • They are 24th defensively in rushing S+P. That’s a huge turnaround and a great rank.

This defense is thriving largely because of the huge guys up front. Jordan Carrell, Samson Kafovalu and Josh Tupou have eaten blockers for breakfast and their running backs for second breakfast. This allows the linebackers to run free and make those havoc plays (Jimmie Gilbert with 6.5 sacks) and run down rushing plays (Kenneth Olugbode seems to fill every hole). This also allows the secondary to cover for less, not that they need help, which lets them roam free. Ahkello Witherspoon has been a rock on the outside, which lets Chidobe Awuzie impose his will on the game rather than let the game come to him. Ahkello Witherspoon and Tedric Thompson have 10 and 6 pass breakups, respectively, and that doesn’t even account for the throwaways they cause. This defense just works. It’s aggressive, stout, and now it has one of the best second-level playmakers in the country coming back. That’s right, it’s not in the advanced stats, but ADDISON GILLAM IS OFFICIALLY BACK! He plays with his hair on fire and the Buffs missed his closing speed. This defense is about to demoralize some teams. If the offense doesn’t do it first.