Click below for the list...
1) The schedule is easier than in 2011.
CU did themselves no favors last season. Through a combination of the conference switch, a misguided contract with the local safety school, and a quick cash grab, the 2011 schedule was a nightmare.
It started with a 3,500 mile trek to the Hawaiian Islands, swung through a pimp-tastic trip to Columbus, OH, included a shocking total of 10 conference contests, and only featured five true home games. In isolation, the reasoning behind the individual games that made up the schedule makes sense, but, in total, it was something out of the Bataan Death March. The result was a 3-10 slog to the finish.
|No guaranteed losses on the non-con schedule this year.|
2) The defensive backfield cannot get any worse.
Last season the defensive backfield was awash with injuries and suspensions. By the end of the season, 5th string WR's were being turned around, with one week's notice, into DB's. This situation was far from ideal, and it translated to CU being one of the worst passing defenses in the country. 115th in opponent completion percentage, 97th in passing yards allowed, 102nd in opponent 3rd down conversion percentage... it goes on like that.
|An infusion of young talent should help improve the defensive backfield. From: the BDC|
3)The winner of a QB battle will feel legitimate for the first time since 2006.
Not that it was his fault, but Cody Hawkins was never seen as a legitimate winner of any QB competition he competed in during his tenure in Boulder. Regardless of the records he set, good and bad, his father holding the whistle left a cloud of doubt hovering over the position for years. The continuing roster gymnastics played with Tyler Hansen's career certainly didn't help matters.
Thankfully, that is all in the past.
|Wood, along with Webb and Hirschman, will all get an honest look at the #1 job. From: the BDC|
4) The O-Line boasts plenty of experience.
The loss of NFL draftee Ryan Miller notwithstanding, the O-Line is shaping up to be the veteran strength of the offense. David Bakhtiari is turning heads, and the rest of the corps is battle-tested, and comfortable with their designated roles. What was once a constant rotation of new faces finally has some seasoned depth to it, and that reality should form the backbone of an offense in the midst of larger transition.
|Bakhtiari is the left side anchor of a tough, veteran line. From: Scout|
5) The coaching staff has a full year under their belt.
This may be the key. The players now go into a season knowing exactly what is expected of them. While other teams, specifically half of the schedule, will be dealing with neophyte coaching staffs, CU enters the 2012 season in the unusual position of returning all of their coaches from the previous year. While coaching continuity isn't always an indicator of future success, it can't hurt.
|We won't see this deer-in-headlights look from Coach Embree again.|
Let's go bowling!
Have a happy and optimistic Friday!