Colorado has historically been one of the worst programs in the P5 the last decade or so, but a ten-win blip in 2016 after winning ten games the previous three years combined gave Buffaloes fans hope, so much hope that they fired the guy that did it after two 5-7 years the next two years, a mark they hadn’t hit since 2010 until 2016. Granted, I love the hire they brought in to replace him in former Ohio State/Georgia DC Mel Tucker.
1,000-yard rusher Travon McMillian is gone, but the Buffs do bring back QB Steven Montez (7.1 YPA, 65%, 19 TDs, nine INTs) and stud WR Lavishka Shenault, who racked up 1,000 yards receiving before going down with an injury. KD Dixon and Tony Brown (combined 969) return as well and the Buffs add Auburn grad transfer Jalen Harris at tight end.
The leading returning back is sophomore Alex Fontenot, who had just 43 yards last year, incoming freshman Jaren Mangham could challenge for that spot, but needless to say, this group will be unproven
On the line, three starters are back and they add in Oklahoma State grad transfer Arlington Hambright at tackle. The receiving corps, line, and QB situation look solid, they just need to find a reliable rusher, but this will be an improved offense.
Mel Tucker is a defensive genius, so I’ll trust his hire of former Georgia Southern head coach Tyson Summers to run the D. Just four starters are back from last year, so Tucker and Summers will get to rebuild this defense in their image.
The four starters back are maybe the four you would choose if you had your pick. End Mustafa Johnson (7.5 sacks, eight TFL!), LB Nate Landman (four sacks, 11 TFL, three PBUs, two INTs), NB Davion Taylor (nine TFL), and CB Deldrick Abrams (five PBIs). They also return backup Carson Wells you racked up 4.5 sacks in limited playing time last year.
Tucker brought some JUCOs in throughout the defense, most notably four-star Jash Allen at will linebacker. A lot of this defense is made up of unknowns, but with just two seniors in the projected starting lineup, this feels like a group that Tucker can build around for the future.
I feel pretty good about the Pac-12 having a good year, so even if the Buffs do end up improving (which I’m not sure they will) it might not show up in the record as they’ll face one of the toughest schedules in the country by drawing the top four out of the North division and being stuck with three of the top four in their own division on the road.
|Date||Opponent||opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|30-Aug||vs. Colorado State (denver, co)||103||6.1|
|21-Sep||at Arizona State||33||-7.1|
|19-Oct||at Washington State||41||-5.9|
Average Projected Record: 4.6 wins, 7.4 losses (2.7 wins, 6.3 losses)