2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 41 Colorado Buffaloes
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Colorado Buffaloes
No. 41: Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado Buffaloes Prespring Status
It was the biggest shocker of the 2016 season as Colorado went from Pac-12 doormat to the conference title game, but it all crashed with a thud. Forget for a moment that the Buffs only had a few nice wins and lost to USC, 10-4 was a special run considering how bad they’ve been since joining the conference. But they lost to Washington and Oklahoma State by a combined score of 79-18 to close out the year, couldn’t get the offense going against the better teams – except for, maybe, Washington State – and now have to prove it all over again.
QB Sefo Liufau might be gone, but most of the other key parts of the offense are back. Eight starters return on O, including almost everyone who did something meaningful for the passing game. However …
Colorado Buffaloes Biggest Issue
The defense that was so fantastic in the run to the Pac-12 South title has to all but start over. The defensive front three needs three new starters, two of the four starting linebackers are done, and three starters are gone in the secondary including star Tedric Thompson at one safety spot and both corners Chidobe Awizie and Ahkello Witherspoon. Eight of the top 12 tacklers, 11 of the 15 interceptions, and 25.5 of the 36 sacks have to be replaced.
Colorado Buffaloes Biggest Positive
286 of last year’s 289 receptions are back, including Shay Fields, Devin Ross, and everyone who caught more than one pass. This was a big play, efficient passing game that should be terrific again, going along with the returning 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground from Phillip Lindsay. It doesn’t help to lose Liufau, but Steven Montez occasionally filled in and was fine, hitting 59% of his passes with nine scores and just five picks.
Really, Why Are The Colorado Buffaloes Ranked Here?
That was great – now do it again. The offense should be able to hang around with just about anyone, but there are way, way too many key losses from the nation’s 19th-ranked defense to expect the same results. The D might not drop off the map to get back to 2014 and 2015 levels – the 2016 defense improved by over 100 yards from the one two years go – but it’s asking for way too much to be as good.