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The Buffaloes can still make the College Football Playoff

It’s just as ridiculous as you would think.

Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Way back in May, I wrote an article titled "Colorado Football as Leicester City". It detailed how the Buffs could shock the world and make a run at the national championship, similar to how Leicester City won the Premier League last season. (Go on, click it.) Basically, everything had to go right for the Buffs, and then some, and then some more after that. CU’s margin for error is now zero, but the dream is still alive.

CU lost last week at No. 4 Michigan, but their chances at making the College Football Playoff are still alive. Of the two CFPs, only Clemson (2015) and Florida State (2014) were undefeated. The past two champions, Alabama (‘15) and Ohio State (‘14) made it despite early-season losses to the likes of Ole Miss and Virginia Tech, respectively, who are both worse than Michigan.

If Colorado were to make the Playoff, they would have to win out; that much is indisputable. They would have to sweep the Pac-12, give Mike MacIntyre a Ferentzian extension, win the Pac-12 Championship, then hope a few other teams slip up.

So the question remains: Is this possible? Well, no, of course not — it is Colorado we’re talking about after all.

However! Looking at the rest of Colorado’s schedule, only a victory at Stanford would truly shock us. The Ralphie Report staff (Ralphie Reporters?) has already discussed the possibility of Colorado winning this week at Oregon and there was a consensus that the Buffs have a good chance if Sefo Liufau is healthy. We also agreed that Oregon State should be an easy win, with or without Sefo. Let’s go through the rest of the schedule and find out what they have to do to win out.

at USC (10/8)

The Trojans have already been pulverized twice this season, and while those pulverizers were No. 1 Alabama and No. 7 Stanford, USC looked abysmal. There was talk before the season that USC may struggle with depth (or lack thereof) on the defensive line, and that they have. Their offense and back-7 are still explosive, but if CU can dominate their line and make just enough plays outside, this game is suddenly winnable.

Arizona State (10/15)

Two weeks ago, the Sun Devils needed eight (!) touchdowns from Kalen Ballage to beat Texas Tech 68-55 (!). Last week, they almost lost to UT-San Antonio. There is no way the Sun Devils belong atop the Pac-12 South, yet here we are. Considering recent performance, the Buffs should be favored in this game.

at Stanford (10/22)

Here’s how Colorado can beat Stanford:

  • Kidnap Christian McCaffrey.
  • Replace him with Dylan McCaffrey.
  • Say no, I have no idea where Christian is or why I’m wearing his game-worn cleats.
  • Blame Cal and say it’s a weird rivalry tradition the two schools have, how weird?
  • Offer to replace Christian with any one of these state-of-the-art backup offensive linemen.
  • Air it out and take advantage of CU’s speed advantage.

It’s not impossible.

UCLA (11/3)

Nationally televised on a Thursday night, this will be the funnest game of the year, hands down. UCLA can’t handle the cold or the pass rush, so the Buffs should be able to fluster an offense that’s already struggled this season. If the Buffs are then able to score some points on a mediocre defense, this game is theirs.

Arizona (11/12)

Arizona is always fairly good, especially against the Buffs, especially against the Buffs at home. That said, they lost the ugliest game of the year to BYU, barely beat Grambling State at home and allowed 28 points to Hawai`i. They play Washington tomorrow, so we’ll see if mercy rules actually exist. If Arizona and Colorado are truly as bad and good as they look, the Buffs should pick up an overdue win in Tuscon.

Washington State (11/19)

The Cougars opened the year with a loss to a FCS Eastern Washington, per tradition. They followed that defensive failure with a road loss to Boise State, which is moderately impressive in itself, but not what they had in mind with dark horse potential. For the Buffs, this game was winnable even before Wazzu started disappointing; CU may be expected to win now.

Utah (11/26)

The Utes are ranked 24th in the nation, but there’s virtually no way they’ll be this high when they come to Boulder. That’s because the injury bug has gnawed off their feet and are crawling ever upward. Already down three key starters, Utah’s depth and durability will tested to the extreme. In the season finale, the Buffs should outlast their "rival" and pick up their 11th win of the season.

Washington (12/2)

When No. 6 Colorado makes the Pac-12 Championship, they’ll face the undefeated and No. 2-ranked Washington Huskies in a College Football Playoff playoff. These teams finished with a combined record of 10-15 last season, so you can imagine the country’s confusion when this happens.

After Mike Leach does some shady stuff in the Apple Bowl the week prior, the Huskies will limp into this game. That combined with Sefo Liufau having the game of his life against an NFL defense (thus gaining NFL Draft momentum), the Buffs could theoretically win this game as well.


There you have it, the Buffs’ road to the College Football Playoff isn’t impossible, it’s just next to impossible. And yes, this was incredibly stupid, but you knew that coming in.