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Bye Week Recap: Great Weekend for the Colorado Buffaloes

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Some great results for the Buffs in this week of football.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

-- Don't forget to buy your Black Out shirts in time for UCLA! --

Despite not playing this week, your Colorado Buffaloes did something special. They took a half-game lead over Utah in the Pac-12 South. That’s right, CU is now alone at the top of the division. This season just keeps getting better and better. Three of the Buffs’ next four opponents all played on Saturday, and I had a chance to watch each one. So let’s look at the games that CU cares about.

Stanford 34, Arizona 10

This game, at Tuscon in some late night Pac-12 action, was not very fun to watch. I was switching in between WSU and OSU and this contest. And this game started later and ended earlier than the Beavers-Cougars matchup. Stanford, which now has a fully healthy Christian McCaffrey, took advantage of a small Zona front seven and ran the ball at least 200 times. Seriously, I saw them throw it only on third downs or on swing passes to McCaffrey. Hey, it’s a winning formula. So while Stanford looking good ups the Buff’s resume, Arizona being not good is equally as important. Their front seven looked small and ineffective against big uglies, their running back, Semajie Grant, is slight and explosive, but not effective between the tackles, and the quarterback situation seems like a mess. Dawkins has live legs and can scoot, but struggles throwing the ball downfield or on the run. Anu Solomon is alternating between hurt and playing hurt, and I didn’t see Khalil Tate in the game, but he scares me the most. This offense sans Nick Wilson just doesn’t strike fear in my heart. Should be a win when the Buffs visit Tuscon.

Washington 31, Utah 24

This was a fun game to watch. It had the feel of two heavyweights trading blows until the time ran out. The fact that the winning score was a punt return for a touchdown makes all the sense in the world. Jake Browning turned in his worst performance in the year, due in no small part to the quality of the defense he was facing, and wasn’t his usual uber-efficient self. Myles Gaskin had a great game on the ground, and Utah allowed some gashers. Joe Williams continued his campaign for a Retiree Football league by turning in another great performance. 35 carries (!) for 172 yards. That stat actually reflects pretty well on the ability of Washington’s defense, as he’s had much more YPC than that in recent weeks. The key to stopping the Utah offense is stopping Joe Williams. Troy Williams, their quarterback, throws some fantastic balls, but he also has supreme confidence in his arm. Much like Brett Favre, that can throw him into trouble. He’s elusive, but he stays in the pocket more often than not. How fun is it that the Utah-CU game in Boulder will likely decide the South?

Also, Buff fans, count your blessings that Washington is off the schedule this year. Well, until the conference championship game.

Washington State 35, Oregon State 31

This game got a lot more exciting in the second half. The Beavers took a 24-6 lead into halftime on the back of Ryan Nall, their bruising back, and a surprisingly effective passing game led by third stringer Marcus McMaryion. Oregon State had about 400 yards of offense going into halftime, which is good in two ways for the Buffs. One, it shows that CU played Oregon State at the right time, because they are scary right now. Two, it shows that Washington State can still be run on and thrown over. They can be as porous as previous Mike Leach teams when they want to be, especially on the road. When they visit Boulder, if CU punches them in the mouth quickly, I don’t know how well they will be able to respond. The second half of this game was all Cougars. They started to run the ball against OSU’s poor run defense, and would you look at that, they started winning. They still threw for all of their touchdowns, but it was opened up by the working run game. CU will need to stop Washington State on the ground and make become the one dimensional offense it was made to be.

In other great news around the world of college football, the path to a Pac-12 playoff team got easier as the Big 12 knocked itself out. Baylor lost (woohoo!), Navy lost (moves the Buffs up the rankings), Tennessee lost (suck it Butch Jones and moves the Buffs up the rankings), Ole Miss lost (get out of here, 3-5), and NEBRASKA LOST. Almost a perfect day for the Buffs.

-- Don't forget to buy your Black Out shirts in time for UCLA! --