As September approaches, so does the return of Colorado Buffaloes football. The mark of a new season means that the Buffaloes have an even 0-0 record, but this unblemished record may not last very long.
The Buffaloes enter Friday night’s home game against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs as heavy underdogs. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have listed the Horned Frogs as 13.5-point favorites, which is not a good omen of things to come. Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there either. Oddsmakers have set the over/under for the Buffs’ win total at a concerningly low 3.5 wins. In short, very few people believe in the Buffs against TCU and this season. The public’s expectations for this team are very low, and it will be Colorado’s job to prove them wrong this Friday night at Folsom Field.
Despite the negativity, there is some good news. None of this expected doom and gloom has happened yet. This week’s game against the Horned Frogs is a golden opportunity for the Buffs to kick off their season on a high note and immediately prove the doubters wrong. If the Buffaloes wish to pull off the upset victory, their offense needs to be much stronger than it was the prior season.
In the simplest terms, the 2021 Colorado offense was not good. They were the worst offense in the Pac-12, finishing in last place in both total offensive yards and passing yards by a wide margin. This offensive inadequacy would lead to the firing of offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and the transfers of top offensive players like running back Jarek Broussard and wide receiver Brenden Rice. These transfers have immediately put the Buffaloes in a rough spot heading into the season, but actions have been taken to try to fix that, like installing a new play caller and a new playbook.
Not only have productive playmakers left, but a distinction between sophomore Brendon Lewis and junior J.T Shrout as the starting quarterback has not been announced by head coach Karl Dorrell, making the offensive on Friday even more of an exciting watch.
“We decided not to announce a starting quarterback,” Dorrell said. “It helps us in our process of what we do for this week and it keeps them having to prepare for both … we did talk to both of them. They know what our game plan is in terms of who’s starting. But I think it’s wise for us not to do that announcement at all.”
Continuing to retool the offense, Dorrell has added Mike Sanford as the new offensive coordinator and play caller. Sanford, fired from the same role at the University of Minnesota at the end of last season, will take control of most of the offensive decision-making this season. This week’s game will be Sanford’s first time in command of Colorado’s offense, and some growing pains should be expected. A new offensive mind like Sanford may be just what the Buffaloes need to revitalize their offense this coming season, and that is one of the biggest things to keep an eye on during this week’s game.
When a new offensive coordinator comes to town, a brand new playbook accompanies them. This is no different for the Buffaloes this season. Sanford will be giving the offense a new look this season, which has the potential to shake up the CU offense. Last year’s playbook was straightforward and predictable, hurting the offense throughout the season. Sanford’s new playbook may be the shot in the arm that the Buffaloes need. This week’s game is so pivotal because onlookers will get our first look at this brand-new playbook in action.
The matchup against TCU is the perfect opportunity for the Buffaloes to show off how much progress they have genuinely made on offense this offseason. TCU’s defense should not be too much of a threat as they ranked second to last in points and touchdowns allowed last season within the Big 12. Friday night’s game is a chance for the Buffaloes to shock the college football world and pull off an upset. However, that will all depend on Colorado’s offensive efficiency throughout the game.
Although the Buffs’ offense has a great opportunity ahead of themselves Friday night, Dorrell was more hesitant to dismiss the woes of the TCU defense from a year ago.
“It’s a challenging defense because it’s built not to give you a big play,” Dorrell said. “It’s built to make offenses take the long road and sometimes offenses aren’t patient enough. They make a mistake, and somewhere [the defense] gets a chance to capitalize on that poor decision.”
If Mike Sanford and company can churn up long drives, this Colorado team has a chance to tire out the Horned Frogs’ defense and make in an exciting contest on Friday, September 5 at 8 p.m MST.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ryland Scholes at email@example.com.