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Colorado Buffaloes

College Football

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Some still can’t believe how last season played out for Colorado, going from four total wins and 1-8 in the Pac-12 in 2015, to 10-4 overall, the conference title game and the Alamo Bowl. Sure, the Buffaloes were blown out in their final two games of the campaign, but they at least got there. The test will be if they can at least keep a winning record and challenge for the South division again.

Colorado returns a lot of pieces on the offensive side, but one of those isn’t quarterback with Sefo Liufau gone. Steven Montez was fine in limited duty last season and as long as he can match what Liufau did for this team, they should be even better. That’s made possible with four offensive linemen returning to go with top backs and receivers. Phillip Lindsay (1,252 yards, 16 TDs) returns to the backfield and will try and improve on his 5.1 yards per carry, while the Buffs return all of their top pass catchers, Shay Fields (883 yards, 9 TDs) and Devin Ross (787 yards, 5 TDs) included. As long Montez doesn't turn the ball over on every possession, this group should be as good as last year’s version that scored just above 31 points per game.

The biggest question for the Buffs is on the defensive side as Mike MacIntyre has only three starters back. They’ve been much better in recruiting in recent years and we’ll get a good sense at just how good as this group was stout last season. The secondary will have a hard time matching what the 2016 version did even with safety Afolabi Laguda still back there. The corners are fresh, while Ryan Moeller is expected to come in at the other safety position. The one area that Colorado can actually count on is middle linebacker Rick Gamboa, who led the team in tackles. Without much experience around him in the front seven, he’ll have a lot on his hands.

These questions may not need to be answered too early with three favorable non-conference games to open the season. However, games against Washington and at UCLA open the Pac-12 season and that should be a good barometer for the rest of the campaign. The Buffs get Washington and USC at home and if they can’t grab an upset in one of those, it’ll come down to winning some road games against viable competition, including a trip to Washington State also on the schedule from the North.

The Buffaloes have the eighth-best odds (+2000 at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the Pac-12, showing not much faith in this team to keep last year’s good luck around. The Buffs should stay competitive with all of the top teams, but it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to reach the title game again with eight wins feeling like the goal and nine would be considered a good season.


2017 Colorado Buffaloes Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Colorado State
Sept. 9 vs. Texas State
Sept. 16 vs. Northern Colorado
Sept. 23 vs. Washington

Sept. 30 at UCLA
Oct. 7 vs. Arizona
Oct. 14 at Oregon State

Oct. 21 at Washington State
Oct. 28 vs. California
Nov. 4 at Arizona State
Nov. 11 vs. USC
Nov. 25 at Utah

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