What’s your projection for the Deion Sanders era in Boulder?
Russ: I have to believe the first season under Deion will be a massive adjustment with such a large number of new players on the roster, so many outgoing players from the previous roster as well as the leap from FCS to FBS football. Thankfully, Colorado was arguably the worst Power 5 program in the nation last season, so any semblance of a winning record would be greatly welcomed by most Buffalo fans, although expectations may outweight the final results due to Deion’s celebrity status and the presence of players like Travis Hunter.
Miles: I think Colorado has more success than many are predicting this year. I’m in the camp that Deion is a good coach. The Buffaloes were one of the worst programs in the country last year, and there was a lot of change on the roster, but this team is definitely more talented than last year’s.
Anthony: He may win small at first, but if Coach Prime sticks it out in Boulder through multiple recruiting cycles, there’s no reason Colorado wouldn’t be able to win and eventually win big. The bluster and circus surrounding the program will have everyone excited when it’s going well, but interest may wane - from the national media and within the locker room - if the wins don’t arrive quickly
Where will Colorado stack up in the New Big 12 in 2024?
Russ: I think the Buffaloes will need a year or so to stack recruits and transfers onto whatever roster Deion and his crew will create this season. For that reason, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buffaloes are in the bottom half of the new Big 12 Conference when 2024 comes around, but I could see Colorado rise in the rankings if the team has a successful campaign this fall and has continued success in recruiting and in the transfer portal.
Miles: If Deion is in this for the long haul I think Colorado has a shot to return to national prominence. If Deion has proven anything during his time as a coach it’s that he can recruit! And everything starts there.
Anthony: Getting back into the Big 12 and putting Coach Prime back into the Texas recruiting waters, he’ll assuredly continue to attract strong talent to Boulder. With that foundation being built, the Buffs could come in with a roster in the top-half of the conference; the challenge will be converting that talent into wins against a very competitive league.
Which Colorado player will cause TCU the most trouble on Saturday?
Russ: Travis Hunter is the athlete I’m most concerned about. He’s a star cornerback and a former five-star recruit who will likely be matched up against Savion Williams or whoever TCU chooses to throw on the outside. The Horned Frogs may not yet have a gamebreaking weapon like Kendre Miller or Quentin Johnston, so I’m interested to see how Hunter stands against TCU’s deep and talented wide receivers. I think Hunter is Colorado’s best player.
Miles: I’m going with Shedeur Sanders. He’ll be one of the better QBs the Frogs play against this year, and with Travis Hunter as a target in the passing game he’ll have plenty of options to distribute the ball.
Anthony: I just can’t quit Alton McCaskill, the running back transfer from Houston - I highlighted him in the summer preview series and in our preview podcast. He sat out the 2022 season with a major injury, but flashed incredible ability in his Freshman season with the Cougars. He’s still been practicing in a non-contact jersey through fall camp, but now with the Buffs he has a chance for a resurgence on the national stage. If he’s at 100% on Saturday, he may be the best RB TCU sees all season.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Russ: Chandler Morris. I think Morris will come out with an explosive effort after struggling and missing the second half of the contest against the Buffaloes last season due to his knee injury. The 2023 season will be a make-or-break season for the fourth-year sophomore and I believe he’ll take advantage of TCU’s new weapons to turn in a strong all-around effort.
Miles: I’d like to see Chandler Morris have a big game in his first start of the season. The key will be him getting out of the game healthy.
Anthony: RB Emani Bailey. I’m looking for a big game on the ground from the TCU offense. The Frogs will look to bully the Buffs up front while also using misdirection and the short passing game to give TCU’s RBs the space to make big things happen. While Trey Sanders is expected to get plenty of work and will pound the rock, I see Bailey providing the explosive game-breaking moments on Saturday
Defensive Player of the Game:
Russ: Damonic Williams. The standout nose tackle was a disruptor during last season’s contest against the Buffaloes and I’m excited to see what he can do as a second-year player this season. Colorado will likely look to establish new quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son, so the Horned Frogs will need Williams, who I think steps up and creates the pressure.
Miles: Josh Newton will most likely be tasked with shutting down Travis Hunter. If the Frogs are to win this one it’ll be because Sanders struggles in the passing game, and Hunter is is best option.
Anthony: LB Jamoi Hodge is ready for the spotlight, earning a team captain honor and stepping into an even bigger role on the defense. I can see him being extremely disruptive to everything Colorado tries to do offensively on Saturday. He has the speed and power to blow up run plays, stalk Shedeur Sanders when he’s outside the pocket, and frighten any receiver attempting to run a route over the middle.
Russ: Jared Wiley. The Horned Frogs will look for their 6-foot-7 tight end and newly-minted team captain inside the red zone, where the former Texas transfer was effective last season.
Miles: Savion Williams gets behind the Colorado defense and wins a jump ball in the end zone.
Anthony: Shedeur Sanders. The Buffs’ QB scampers in from a few yards out after Colorado reaches the red zone thanks to a series of questionable penalties. The entirety of TCU Twitter begins to melt down. It’s the only points CU scores until late in fourth quarter garbage time.
Russ: TCU 41, Colorado 20
Miles: TCU 35, Colorado 24
Anthony: TCU 41, Colorado 14