NR (Coaches Poll)
Heading into the season this game looked like a sure loss. It's not significantly better at this point, but this is a Stanford team that can be exploited. Is there anyone on this Buffaloes team that can take advantage? Perhaps...
Spare our poor quarterbacks
Remember how the Arizona State and USC and Oregon defensive lines were going to have a field day rushing the passer and, well, did against the Buffaloes? So an argument could be made that this Cardinal front is better than any of them. Chase Thomas and Trent Murphy are a nasty duo up front and Shane Skov is there waiting to clean up anything left over. This Buffalo offensive line has improved every single week (I repressed the memory of the Oregon game) so far this season, but we're going to need a big leap forward for Webb or Hirschman to have time to get rid of the ball.
Attack Nunes and Hogan
One area that Stanford has in common with this Colorado team is a complete and utter frustration with the quarterback position. Josh Nunes was surprisingly named the starter over Brett Nottingham coming into the season but he has been wildly inconsistent. Great against USC and Arizona, rather horrible against everyone else. Kevin Hogan is a redshirt freshman runner who has thrown a single pass all year, but is expected to get 10-15 snaps on Saturday. The Buffaloes defensive line has been able to get pressure at a pretty decent rate this season and has, at times, looked like a pretty damn solid unit. Will Pericak, CHUD and Kirk Poston need to be in the face of either quarterback all game long. These guys will make mistakes if you give them something to think about.
Shut down (slow?) Ertz and Toilolo
Stanford has two very, very good tight ends. Their offense may have struggled at times this year, but Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are two guys that can light up this Colorado defense. Greg Brown had better pull a 180 and draw up a game plan that keeps these two from running free in the middle of the field like so many opponents have this season because otherwise, the Buffs don't stand a chance of keeping points off the board.
Webb, Hirschman, Wood, Ghost of Koy Detmer. Someone, anyone play the game of your life
I haven't mentioned it yet here, but this is not a good match-up for the Buffs. Colorado has, at times, looked decent running the ball and they struggle when they get too far away from it. Stanford destroys the run. Like one of the best in the country destroys it. However, their pass defense has struggled all season long. Whoever plays quarterback for this CU team is going to have to play a significantly better game than we have seen over the last few weeks. Colorado is going to have to air it out and hope that something good happens.
What are your keys to today's game?