When the Pac-12 released its’ revised football schedule Friday, the new format perked up some teams and deflated others.
Colorado is one of the teams that didn’t receive any justice from the news and has arguably the toughest slate of all the 12 teams this fall. It’s bad enough the program will be breaking in a new coach for a second-straight year. Not to mention the Buffaloes are replacing a four-year starter at quarterback and had three other players selected in the NFL Draft.
Now Karl Dorrell’s team will have a gauntlet to navigate through when conference play kicks off in the fourth week of September. The league likely spared the Buffaloes an embarrassment by cancelling the trip to College Station in week two.
However, instead of hosting Oregon, Colorado opens up the season on the road against the reigning Pac-12 champs. The Utes have clinched the South Division for the past two years and come to Boulder the following week. Colorado has lost three-straight to bad Arizona teams and will need to get over the hump for game three.
Colorado has never defeated USC and travels out to the Coliseum for game four before receiving what will be a much needed bye week. Still, a talented Sun Devil team looking for revenge looms when the Buffaloes return to action, followed by a road trip to the Huskies and they are no pushovers.
In hindsight, Colorado could potentially be staring down the barrel of a 0-6 start for the first time since 2006. Leaders will need to emerge for a Buffalo team that has been fragile the past two seasons. Colorado lost seven-straight to end 2018 and suffered a five-game skid in 2019.
There are senior leaders on both sides of the ball in wide receiver K.D. Nixon and linebacker Nate Landman. The two have witnessed the program on its’ knees and would like to bring back some respectability to the brand by the time their eligibility is used up.
No doubt the Buffaloes have a tough road to climb this upcoming season. Not being able to play the Rocky Mountain Showdown for the first time since 1994 was a crushing blow, but what benefits the Buffaloes is Dorrell’s familiarity with the league. The style of play hasn’t changed much since he was at UCLA.
Unfortunately for all Pac-12 teams involved the pandemic will make team preparation difficult. The Buffaloes will need all the time they can get to prepare and learn a new system they missed out on this past spring. Five home game and five on the road seems fair, but it’s clear the Buffaloes schedule is the most daunting.
Regardless of the matter, Colorado still has plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. It’s time for the fans to rally around the new coach and not be afraid of the challenge that lies ahead for the Buffaloes. After all, at this point in the year all 130 FBS teams are undefeated.