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Texas A&M Football

Around CFB: Colorado stays undefeated but also untested

October 9, 2018

Colorado is undefeated, untested and, quite frankly, unimpressive. The Buffaloes are among a group of just eight “Power 5” teams that remain undefeated.

However, questions persist of whether they’re a powerful team or just beneficiaries of a powder puff schedule? Colorado’s 5-0 record has come against teams that are a combined 6-21. Indeed, the only team Colorado has faced that doesn’t have a losing record is 3-3 Arizona State.

The Buffs needed a goal line in the fourth quarter stand to hold on for a 28-21 win over the Sun Devils. Still, they’re atop the Pac-12 South Division standings. They have a chance to topple one of their primary challengers on Saturday when they travel to the Los Angeles Coliseum to face (3-2) USC. 

“We know we’re going to have to win a ton of Pac-12 games to win the conference, to win the Pac-12 South,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre told the Boulder Daily Camera this week. “Also, (USC) is a Pac-12 South team, so that makes it a little bit bigger. They’re all big … but if you can beat a Pac-12 South opponent, that puts them a notch behind you. It’s a big game for us.”

Colorado’s 5-0 record has come against teams that are a combined 6-21. Indeed, the only team Colorado has faced that doesn’t have a losing record is 3-3 Arizona State.

That’s how weak the schedule has been. Colorado looks to validate its start against the Trojans, who were battered by Stanford, blown out by Texas and edged Washington State and Arizona. Still, the Buffaloes have already equalled last season’s win total and are rightfully celebrating their fast start.

“Our mindset is different from last year," star receiver Laviska Shenault, a product of DeSoto, said after last week’s win. "We have a better mindset, a winning mindset, and a dog mindset.”

Too often, the Buffs have been lap dogs for the Pac-12. Colorado did not post a winning season for a decade from 2006-2015. Then in 2016 — their fourth year under MacIntyre, they rose up to a 10-4 finish. They faltered last year, but appear to have bounced back strong.

Colorado has a chance to post two 10-win seasons in three years. That’s significant because 10-win seasons are a rarity in Boulder. Bill McCartney, Colorado’s legendary coach, managed three 10-win seasons in 13 seasons. Rick Nueheisel, who replaced McCartney in 1995, had consecutive 10-2 records in his first two seasons.

Colorado didn’t manage another double-digit win total until Gary Barnett’s Big 12 championship team went 10-3 in 2001. That was Colorado’s last 10-win season until MacIntyre’s ’16 team.

“We are more mentally and physically tough as a whole team than we were last year, there's no doubt," MacIntyre said after defeating Arizona State. "We didn't win those type of games last year. We wouldn't have put them away like we did. We wouldn't have kept battling.”

No one would doubt whether the Buffaloes are better than last year. There is doubt, however, that they’re as good as their current record suggests.

Heisman watch

1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama, QB: Though once again playing just three quarters, Tagovailoa passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 10 of 13 attempts. He’s thrown for 1,495 yards on the season. More impressively, he has 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State, QB: Turned in a huge performance in a 49-26 victory over Indiana. Haskins passed for 455 yards and six touchdowns. Two touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter an were needed to hold off the pesky Hoosiers. Haskins has thrown for 1,919 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions. He ranks among the nation’s Top 10 in passing and total offense.

3. Will Grier, West Virginia, QB: Has exceeded 330 passing yards and has at least three touchdown passes in each of the Mountaineers’ five games. Last week he passed for 332 yards and four touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions in a win over Kansas. Grier averages 363.8 yards per game to rank second in the nation in passing.

4. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, RB: He’s averaging 169.8 yards per game to lead the nation in rushing. His 849-yard rushing total is the second-highest in the country. In last week’s win over Nebraska he rushed 24 times for 221 yards. That included touchdown runs that covered 3, 21 and 88 yards.

5. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, QB: He made a couple of big mistakes in the Sooner’s 48-45 loss to Texas. However, he also passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 92 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown run. He’s passed for 1,764 yards and 21 touchdowns with 3 interceptions.

Predicted playoff participants

1. Alabama: Only one opponent held Alabama to fewer than 51 points or stayed within 23 of the Tide. That team … Texas A&M.

2. Ohio State: No. 12 Michigan is the only currently ranked team remaining on the Buckeyes’ schedule.

3. Clemson: As usual, Clemson has had close calls. As usual, the Tigers keep winning.

4. Notre Dame: The Irish’s remaining opponents are a combined 17-16. An unbeaten Notre Dame will not be left out of the playoff.

This week’s biggest games

No. 2 Georgia at No. 13 LSU:  LSU was ranked No. 13 the last time Georgia visited Baton Rouge. That was 2008 and Georgia won, 52-38. There won’t be as many points, but the Bulldogs figure to post another two-touchdown victory.

No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon: Washington is No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense. Oregon is 12th in the nation in scoring offense. Looks like this game will test the theory that defense wins championships. 

Michigan State at No. 8 Penn State: The Nits need a win to keep Big Ten and playoff hopes alive. But Michigan State has won three of the last four in the series.

No. 10 UCF at Memphis: The Knights of have 18 straight dating back to last year. They’re making another case for the playoff, but Memphis is no pushover.

No. 15 Wisconsin at No. 12 Michigan: The Badgers’ Jonathan Taylor may be the best running back in college football. He’ll need to be against Michigan’s sixth-ranked run defense.

Idle thoughts

  • Texas may actually be back … to relevance in the Big 12. But what does that mean? The Longhorns may win the Big 12 title. But they still lost to Maryland and their biggest victory is over Oklahoma, which went into overtime with Army.
  • Misleading stat of the week? Missouri is ranked 15th in run defense. But three of its four FBS opponents are ranked 74th (Purdue), 75th (South Carolina) and 96th (Wyoming) in rushing offense. The other, Georgia, which is ranked 16th, rushed for 185 yards against the Tigers.
  • Considering the Missouri stat above, expect Kentucky to finish 10-2. The run-oriented Wildcats figure to fall to Georgia. However, their remaining opponents — except Missouri — are ranked between 65th and 118th in rushing defense.
  • The firing of Mike Stoops as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator is surprising only in that it didn’t come … well, sooner. The Sooners have allowed no fewer than 364.5 yards per game since 2014. This season they are 96th in the nation in total defense, allowing 421.1 yards.
Discussion from...

Around CFB: Colorado stays undefeated but also untested

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Why is UCF given such a higher ranking? The Buffs have a "Strength of Record" of 14 in FPI vs 31 for UCF. No UCF opponent is above .500, either.
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Arizona State may be 3-3 but they are a much better team than everyone poo pooing the Herm hire thought they would be. They took down Michigan State and only lost by a TD to Washington in Seattle. You could say losing to SDSU was bad but they have been pretty darn good under Rocky Long so it's not like they lost to a horrible G5 school.
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