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Opponent Preview Series: Colorado Buffaloes

TCU opens the season on the road against a former (and future?) Big 12 program

Washington v Colorado
Quinn Perry will look to lead the Colorado defense to a much improved 2022
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It’s August, fall camps have started around the country, and the college football season is fast approaching. We’ll be taking a pre-season look at each of TCU Football’s 2022 opponents, starting with the Frogs’ season opening Friday night road trip to Boulder.

2022 Outlook

Win Total: 3.5
Odds to win Pac-12: +20,000
Odds to win National Championship: +100,000
Overall Preseason SP+ Rank: 100th (Offense: 94; Defense: 92)

Colorado was a bad football team in 2021 and expectations are low for a successful 2022 campaign. After Michigan State lured Mel Tucker away, Karl Dorrell was brought back to Boulder after a long career as an assistant across college football and the NFL. In 2020’s Covid-shortened season the Buffs impressed, going 4-1. Colorado looked to keep the success rolling with a lead on Texas A&M deep into the 4th quarter to start 2021….then the wheels fell off, getting shut out by Minnesota at home the following week and ultimately winning just 3 FBS games. One might think the full 2021 campaign is more representative than the truncated 2020 season, but there are reasons for optimism with new Offensive Coordinator Mike Sanford bringing a fresh look to a unit that was one of the worst in the country in 2021.With a QB competition between Tennessee transfer JT Shrout and 2021 starter Brendon Lewis, the offense has many question marks. The defense is going to be very inexperienced, with just a 47% defensive returning production (#121 in the country), with potentially multiple true freshmen starting in the secondary. The Buffs are strong up front, with Terrance Lang off the end and Jalen Sami up the middle, providing the best chance to slow offenses.

History Vs. TCU

Despite both fielding football teams since the 1890s, the Horned Frogs and Buffaloes have never battled on the gridiron. TCU did experience road trips into the Rockies while in the Mountain West, going a combined 6-1 on away games at fellow Centennial State squads Air Force and Colorado State.

Key Departure:

Jarek Broussard, RB

Colorado’s leading rusher the past two seasons has left for the greener pastures of Michigan State, hoping to take over some of the role Kenneth Walker excelled in in 2021. His former backfield mate and 4-star recruit Ashaad Clayton also hit the portal, departing for Tulane. Broussard came on very strong near the end of the season, with 151 yards vs. Oregon State and 108 yards at UCLA.

Key Newcomer:

RJ Sneed, WR

The super-senior grad transfer joins the Buffs after 5 seasons at Baylor. In his three games against TCU, he secured 6 receptions for 60 yards and no TDs. he was a solid contributor to the Big 12 Champions in 2021, with big games against Texas (8-94-1) and BYU (6-72-0) and will bring experience to an otherwise raw unit.

Match Up vs. TCU

Frog fans are anxious to get a first look at the Sonny Dykes offense and Joe Gillespie defense, and the season opener will be a great opportunity to put these units on display. Opening on the road against a Power 5 opponent at altitude is no small task, but the expectation will be for the Frogs to amass yards and points on offense while the defense shuts down the Buffs. If the Frogs’ O-Line can sufficiently keep a stout defensive front contained, Quentin Johnston and the TCU receiving corps should have a field day against an inexperienced, overmatched Colorado secondary. We should get a strong gauge right out of the gate whether this new era will be able to compete quickly or if we’ll need to be more patient and ease expectations.