The University of Colorado is ranked #23 in the Coaches poll, and #21 in the AP poll this week. The Buffaloes are 2-0 in the PAC-12 South, and are alone atop the standings in their division. That’s not a typo, this isn’t the mid 90’s, this is The Rise, and every week it seems to become more and more real. The players are walking around campus with CU hats that have the slogan “Make Colorado Great Again” on the back, and they’re well on their way to making the Buffaloes relevant again.
After getting their first signature win in the Mike McIntyre era last week against Oregon, and a big game against USC looming this Saturday, Colorado easily could have looked past the Oregon State Beavers, and played down to the level of a team who is in a serious rebuilding phase. Not these Buffaloes, and not this year. Colorado dismantled the Beavers 47-6 at Folsom Field on a beautiful day in Boulder. Steven Montez got his second consecutive start, and continued to impress, going 19/27 for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Shay Fields was all over the place, catching 7 passes for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns. The defense didn’t allow a touchdown, and forced two fumbles, which extended their streak of forcing a turnover to 18 games, the longest current streak in the entire country.
Maybe the most important thing Colorado found against Oregon State, was a kicker who can replace the injured Diego Gonzalez. Freshman walk-on Davis Price from Evergreen, Colorado booted a 54-yard field goal, and had no problem with the kickoff or extra point duties either. He was named PAC-12 Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts.
This week the Buffaloes head to Hollywood, to take on an unranked USC Trojans team starting to feel confident after a beat down of Arizona State last week. Colorado has never beaten the Trojans, going 0-10 in history. Sefo Liufau has practiced this week, but coach McIntyre hasn’t given any clarity on whether Liufau will regain the starting quarterback role or if Montez will get his third consecutive start. Colorado must start fast and play sound football if they want to pull off an upset on the road. The matchup to watch is the talented Buffaloes secondary against the athletic duo of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson.
Colorado has continued to surprise the country with their play, and I think that will continue this week. They will compete, and prove that they’re not content with just being ranked. With that being said, this is the week that special teams bite the Buffaloes again, and they come up just short on the road 30-27. Their goal of winning the PAC-12 South will still be possible, but beating a USC team starting to click on all cylinders will be too tough, even for the new look Colorado squad.