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The Colorado Buffaloes hope their easy non-conference schedule can propel them to a surprising bowl appearance.
No one is expecting the Colorado Buffaloes to do anything this year, so it figures they'd go under the radar with all the other Pac-12 fanfare that the rest of the conference is dealing with. As Colorado prepares to try and keep the Centenial Cup, there is not really much buzz surrounding the Buffs.
You know what's crazy though? Their early schedule affords them a decent opportunity to go to a bowl. We break it down after the jump.
Colorado's non-conference schedule is one of the easiest in the Pac-12, playing lowly Colorado State for the Centenial Cup, then a home date with Sacramento State and a road contest with Fresno State. Then comes a trip to Pullman and winnable games at home against UCLA and Arizona State.
Things do get brutal at the end of October with USC and Oregon, but getting four early wins could put Colorado in a good spot. All they'll need to do is win two more and they can get to a bowl game (and Stanford, at Arizona, plus home dates with Washington and Utah isn't that bad). They have a solid shot to get to five wins; the question will be getting that sixth one.
The Buffs are relying on a lot of true freshmen this year, and with no Paul Richardson and a new quarterback under center they will be extremely vulnerable in every contest. But the schedule does give them a decent (if not great) shot to get to six wins. And that would have to be a successful year.
SB Nation Snippets
Jon Woods of Ralphie Report breaks down the keys to the Cup for Colorado. Here's one of them.
Dominate The Line Of Scrimmage
Every unit on the offensive side of the ball for the Buffaloes is a mix of inexperience, question marks and unknowns. Except for one, the offensive line. The Colorado offensive line has to come out and make a statement that they will lead this offense while it grows up. A smallish Rams defensive line running a new defensive system for the first time is the perfect opportunity to step up. Give Tony Jones some gaping holes to charge through. Allow Jordan Webb all day long to find his young wide receivers. Send a message to the entire Colorado State roster that strength and skill will rule the day and it all resides on the CU offensive line.
Parker: Kenneth Crawley. Greg Henderson proved last year he's a good cornerback and it's hard to believe that CSU won't be testing Kenneth Crawley from the start. ESPN ranked him as the 18th best cornerback in the nation and he's got good size for a corner at 6'1" and good speed. If Crawley can't cover the CSU wideouts, Colorado could be in for a long day. However, the Colorado coaching staff has faith in him and so should CU fans.
David: Since Kenneth Crawley and Josh Tupou are just about already there since they've been named starters, I won't say either of them. I'm going to say John Stuart. He's backing up Juda Parker and I have a feeling that, at least in this game, he's going to get a surprising amount of playing time.
Ash: I'm gonna say Christian Powell. I really hope that he becomes the unsung hero of a successful bruising rushing attack. So that we can then sing about him.