There are certain moments, in certain places, with certain people that make it feel like the world revolves around that moment.
Being at the University of Colorado Boulder during Deion Sanders’ first season as head football coach has been one of those moments. After a period where it seemed Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff show would never leave Farrand Field, Colorado football’s bye week represents a lull in the season in more ways than one.
As the season comes to a pause, the hype surrounding this team has seemingly abided after a brutal loss to Stanford last Saturday. However, a 4-3 record is a major improvement from the team’s 1-11 record last season. While the future of Colorado football looks bright, the CU Independent is using the team’s bye week to reflect upon and summarize a tumultuous season up to this point.
Week one: Colorado @ 17 Texas Christian, Final score: 45-42 Colorado, Viewership: 7.3 Million
In the nine months since Deion Sanders was named head coach, up until week one of the college football season, Colorado football had become a national curiosity. They were a team consisting of 87 newcomers (that’s 90% of the roster!) matched against the previous season’s national championship runner-up, Texas Christian University. People would watch, but expectations weren’t high.
Then they played football.
Shedeur Sanders passed for 510 yards, an NCAA record for a quarterback’s debut. Dylan Edwards tallied four touchdowns in his first college football game. Travis Hunter accounted for over 100 receiving yards along with one of the most impressive interceptions you will ever witness. Above all else, Colorado won the game and Coach Prime declared to the nation, “We coming.”
Week two: 22 Colorado vs Nebraska, Final score: 36-14 Colorado, Viewership: 8.73 Million
Attention and controversy followed success. After week one’s shocker, Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff headed to Boulder for Colorado football’s sold-out home opener. Colorado had quickly become a media darling and did not disappoint as they routed the University of Nebraska in a 20-point victory. Shedeur Sanders showed out once again, putting up 393 passing yards, and told the media that the game was “extremely personal” because of Nebraska’s pregame presence on the Buffalo logo at midfield.
“All respect was gone for them and their program,” Sanders said after the game.
Week three: 18 Colorado vs Colorado State, Final score: 43-35 Colorado, Viewership: 9.3 Million
After the previous week’s win and Shedeur making headlines for his comments about Nebraska, a massive amount of hype followed the Buffaloes into their rivalry game against Colorado State. ESPN’s College Gameday visited Boulder for the first time in 30 years, setting up behind the business school, while Big Noon Kickoff remained on Farrand Field.
The night game lived up to the attention surrounding it. Colorado State led throughout and looked to have pulled off the upset until Shedeur Sanders led a heroic game-tying drive culminating in a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Horn Jr. Colorado won in double overtime to advance to 3-0.
Week four: 19 Colorado @ 10 Oregon, Final score: 42-6 Oregon, Viewership: 10 million
On a gloomy day in Eugene, Oregon, seemingly the entire country tuned in to watch the fall of Deion Sanders and Colorado. From the start, Oregon outclassed Colorado in every aspect of the game and led 35-0 at halftime. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix had 3 touchdowns and the Colorado offense made it past midfield just once.
To make matters worse, the national broadcast aired Oregon head coach Dan Lanning’s pregame speech at half, during which he proclaimed, “They’re [Colorado] fighting for clicks, we’re [Oregon] fighting for wins.”
Week five: Colorado vs 8 USC, Final score: 48-41 USC, Viewership: 7.24 million
After the embarrassment against Oregon, the Buffaloes faced a top-ten-ranked opponent for the second straight week in Southern California. For much of the first half, it seemed like the same story as the previous week, as reigning Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams torched the Colorado defense for 4 first-half touchdowns. But Colorado mounted an impressive comeback in the second half scoring 21 points unanswered to end the game. Despite falling short by a touchdown, Colorado showed major backbone to make the comeback that they did.
The biggest surprise of the day was freshman receiver Omarion Miller, who had 196 receiving yards. Shedeur Sanders introduced Miller to the media after the game, “Everybody, this is my man, Omarion! He went for a lot of yards today!”
Week six: Colorado @ Arizona State, Final score: 27-24 Colorado
Two straight losses had relegated this game to the Pac-12 network as the media spotlight put on Colorado was dimming. Away in Tempe, Arizona, the Buffs played yet another close game against Arizona State. After trailing at halftime, a sleepy Colorado offense pulled together a game-winning drive that began with a 43-yard deep ball to receiver Javon Antonio. Colorado kicker Alejandro Mata made the game-winning field goal with 18 seconds remaining and Colorado left Arizona with a narrow win.
Week seven: Colorado vs Stanford, Final score: 46-43 Stanford, Viewership: 3.3 million
For the second late-night game of the season (and by far the coldest), Colorado played Stanford at Folsom. It seemed like the week one Buffaloes that had beat TCU had returned in the first half. Travis Hunter was back after missing the past three weeks and had his first touchdown of the season. Colorado led 29-0 at the half and the game seemed all but over. In a wild turn of events, Stanford receiver Elic Ayomanor led his team to an improbable second-half comeback victory. Ayomanor had nearly 300 receiving yards after halftime, including a touchdown catch in overtime in which he planted the ball on Travis Hunter’s helmet.
“They got to make up in their mind, are they in love with this game or are they in like with it?” questioned Coach Sanders about his team after the game.
After an embarrassing loss like the Stanford game, Colorado football sits at a crossroads at its bye week. The schedule doesn’t get any easier to end the season and six wins are needed for this team to be bowl eligible. With all odds against them once again, fans and analysts alike are wondering how Coach Sanders and Colorado will prevail.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Charlie Hewitt at Charlie.Hewitt@colorado.edu.