After fluctuating throughout the week, Vegas had the Buffaloes as big home favorites against the Beavers. This made me really nervous. Colorado has had no expectations against conference foes in recent history, and this was the first week in quite some time where we were supposed to not only beat a conference team, but beat them handily. For me, this had all the feelings of a proverbial trap game. I was uneasy leading up to the game and it took the Buffs all of about 5 minutes to alleviate my worries. It was clear from the opening kickoff, to the end of the game that Colorado was just a much better team than the Beavers. Shay Fields was balling all first half, Montez maintained his streak of good play, and the defense did an incredible job to not allow a touchdown (even though predominantly backups were in for the last quarter). The Buffs met the aforementioned expectations head on, and after taking a 37-6 lead into half, I would say they once again exceeded them. This team has refused to take any game lightly, and they continue to fly around offensively and defensively with intensity. Colorado did everything to get a sizable victory against a Beavers team that we should sympathize with (Colorado was deep in the basement of the Pac-12 not long ago), and now have themselves off to a better start than any other Pac-12 South team.
Something unthinkable happened in the day following the game though: the Buffs ended up ranked nationally in both polls. Saturday worked out perfectly for CU with Utah, ASU, Iowa, and Michigan State, among others, taking crucial losses, but that's fine with me. This is something that seemed impossible to accomplish just a season or two ago, and yet here they are getting the 21st and 23rd spot nationally in the AP and Coaches polls respectively. It marks the first time CU has been ranked in 11 years, and it is making for a fun year to be a fan. The coaching staff and veteran loaded squad is exuding confidence, and they are firing on all cylinders as we head into the thick of the conference schedule.
Moving past this week's victory though, the next couple games for the Buffs include trips to the Coliseum to take on USC fresh off their obliteration of ASU, and the Sun Devils at home for the first night game at Folsom this year. Colorado is 0-17 combined all time against the two (0-10 vs. USC and 0-7 vs. ASU), but I certainly would not bet against them being able to right those wrongs. These next couple weekends have massive implications on how the South division could shake out. A couple big wins could put the Buffs in the driver seat for the rest of the season. Regardless though, now that the wins are coming, there's actual concrete evidence that The Rise IS real. The first five games so far have been immensely exciting, and I expect the same down the stretch. The team's goal all year has been to win the conference, and at this point I'll pull out the old cliche: why not us?
Frontrunner in the South: Until the standings tell us otherwise, Colorado is the pick. The resurgent Buffaloes are the only remaining unbeaten team in the division (in conference play) and jumped into the AP poll for the first time since 2005 after their 47-6 destruction of Oregon State. If there is reason to be skeptical about Colorado’s rise, it has nothing to do with anything they’ve done on the field this year. Both quarterbacks -- Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez -- have been excellent (their stats are nearly identical) and its defense has held opponents to single digits in three of five games this year.
Davis Price looks like he may be able to amend some of the Buffs kicking issues. The freshman walk on made a 54 yard field goal to top off his perfect kicking day and several kickoffs that went for touchbacks.
Colorado, Steven Montez & Shay Fields - The Buffs avoided the big win hangover and showed they are for real by destroying Oregon State. Hats off to true freshman Montez for stepping for Sefo Liufau and keeping the surging Buff train going and to Shay Fields for being the big play receiver Colorado has sorely lacked for years.
The current No. 1, Alabama, won the 1992 national title. No. 5 Washington split the 1991 title with Miami. No. 8 Texas A&M won four conference titles. No. 11 Wisconsin went to three Rose Bowls. And the Colorado Buffaloes, new poll entrants at No. 21, were 10th in the 1990s.
ESPN showed a little love this week by placing Colorado at number 2 in their PAC 12 power rankings.
The Wolverines beat a tough Wisconsin team. Michigan struggled on offense converting on just 3-of-15 third downs, but they faced a very good D. Also, their early-season win over Colorado is starting to look better as CU keeps winning and emerging as, perhaps, the best team in the Pac-12 South. Wait, did I really just write that?
The LA Daily News provides a preview of the Colorado-USC battle coming up this Saturday.
As for the rest of the projections, Colorado continues to surge and is alone atop the Pac-12 South, USC moves up the pecking order but still has more to prove, and the Cougars are back in the picture. Arizona State suffered a blow at the hands of the Trojans, while Arizona fell out entirely.
Colorado’s on top, which is pretty much all you need to know – the greatest example of the bizarre nature of the season. If you had the Buffs to win the conference … Eh, never mind. Nobody had the Buffs to win the conference, not even that Leicester City fan. That’s why they were +5000 prior to the season.
The football team was not the only program to get big wins for Colorado this weekend. Freshman Taylor Korniek's 8th goal of the season gave the Buffs their 7th win in a row and gave the a 3-0 record in conference. Also, the volleyball team took care of business against UCLA at home in 4 sets to keep maintain their success this far into the season.