So, with that in mind, can we all just agree to show up on time this weekend? As BSN Denver's Ted Chalfen so eloquently wrote this week, BuffNation's Southern California-esque attitude of arriving to games well after kickoff is no longer acceptable. If we're going to have a good team on the field, then we need to have a good fanbase in the stands, as well. Make a point of it, and get to the stadium early. Please.
Hype Music for the Week: "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire
As is tradition, Homecoming Week comes replete with throwbacks to my collegiate career. Released at the start of the winter semester of my senior year, 'Ridin'' from Chammillionaire was all over the place the entirety of 2006. I am not ashamed to say it even found its way into my iPod... which, for you youngsters, was a kind of music playback device us old types used to use before our phones could just stream music for free. Enjoy!
Happy Homecoming Week! Since CU hasn't won a homecoming affair since 2007 (against #3 Oklahoma, no less), it's high time #TheRise gives the returning alums a thrill. Speaking of old people, if you're going to the game Saturday, look over behind the band, and you'll see yours truly plugging away on my tuba as part of the alumni festivities. I apologize for my general ineptitude in advance.
Kickoff from beautiful Folsom Field is set for 6pm Saturday night. Is there anything better than a night game in Folsom? Oh, so much fun. I expect the student section to be roiling with electricity. The forecast is clear and cool, so bring a jacket. Coverage for those unable to attend will be on Pac-12 Network, because the nation still can't handle #TheRise. The radio call will be on 850 KOA.
Click below for the teaser...
Colorado has never beaten Arizona State in football, 0-for-7. It's one of only two series played more than three times that CU is winless in; the other being with USC, now 0-for-11. Unlike the futility with the Southern Cal series, however, which dates back to before World War II, ours is an entirely modern frustration with the Sun Devils. It wasn't until the start of the Troubles in 2006 that Colorado and ASU first met on the field, and it's been downhill ever since. Hell, CU hasn't even been within two scores in any of the seven games played so far. In fact, if you're superstitious (which I totally am), you could be convinced to say that starting to put the Devils on the schedule was the black cat walking across the program's path all those years ago.
Last year's meeting was typical of Colorado's loosing ways in this divisional rivalry. ASU's first score was entirely flukish, completely out of left field, and devastatingly back-breaking. On their opening possession, after a long-pass-and-penalty combo had them in Colorado territory, Sun Devil running back Demario Richard took a hand-off off the left side for the second straight play. CU swarmed to the ball well, and knocked him around for a short gain, seemingly on their way to setting up a 3rd-and-long situation. Instead, Richard fumbled (normally a good thing) into the waiting hands of ASU TE Kody Kohl. With the Buffs busy gang-tackling Richard, there was no one left in front of the junior, who simply waltzed into the endzone untouched. 7-0 Sun Devils, and the floodgates began to open.
|Last season's affair was situation: normal for this series. From: the BDC|
There's a lot of hope, however, that this is the year, finally, that the losing streak to those from Tempe ends. Even though Arizona State will come in 5-1 overall, ranked in the top-25, and co-leaders of the Pac-12 South (with CU and Utah), they've been winning with a lot of smoke and mirrors, and are possibly down to their 4th-string QB. If you're Jim Leavitt, that last little bit ought to fire you up a bit...
|If Wilkins is still out, the Sun Devils could be in trouble. From: GoJoeBruin.com|
Those aren't the extent of the injury issues for the Sun Devils, either. There are five other players listed as out indefinitely, with four more, including defensive stars Christian Sam and Kareem Orr, named as questionable by media reports. A further defensive back, Armand Perry, has also been limited in practice this week. Orr and Perry, at least, are expected to play, but the walking wounded situation in the desert has become a persistent concern.
|Todd Graham has been dealing with a number of injuries this season. From: Alchetron.com|
As ugly as that defense has been, though, you won't hear too many complaints from the desert, where ASU has been solid in the only stat that counts: wins vs losses. Thrilling, high-scoring wins over Texas Tech and Cal shine brightly against just the lone loss to USC, but even that one comes with the caveat of a QB injury. The key has been an offense that can score in bunches to overtake the sputtering defensive efforts. It's a balanced unit, but I'm mostly worried about what they can do on the ground to sustain drives and cash in past the redzone. Look out here for the dual-threat QB Wilkins (if healthy), and the running back tandem of Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage. The trio play well off each other, and average a total of 183 yards per game. Overall, they're tallying 40 points per game, converting almost every redzone chance (96% conversion rate), and don't shoot themselves in the foot with excessive flags (18th nationally in fewest penalties per game). Even with the QB issues, that is a winning formula.
|An aggressive, blitzing defense has saved them while the QB situation shakes out. From: LA Times.|
So, with all that said, let's look at the lines...
My 2016 record: 4-2. Against the spread: 3-2. Optimistic/pessimistic: CU -2.5 pts/gm.
Line as of Tuesday @ 8pm - CU -13.5, O/U 66
The line opened at eight points for CU before ballooning even farther in the direction of Boulder. Seems like a lot of the sharps are wary of the ASU QB situation. Regardless, I'm not so sure that this is the blowout you were looking for. Sure, there's the possibility that Todd Graham is bullshitting, and that Wilkins has no chance of playing, but I'm expecting to see him under center Saturday. If he is, he won't be looking to pass through CU's strong secondary; no, he'll be doing the dual-threat dance with Richard and Ballage, looking to chew up Colorado on the ground. More to the point, I think CU is susceptible to a determined spread rushing attack and a scrambling QB. The Sun Devils will take advantage here, keeping the Buffs on off balance on defense.
Lucky, then, that the offense is back on familiar ground. Arizona state is more akin, quality wise, with Oregon and Oregon State than Michigan and USC, leaving the Buffs to get back to their high-flying ways. Regardless of the QB, Liufau or Montez, Colorado should be just fine with the ball Saturday night, enough to overcome the pesky ASU scoring machine.
Give me the Buffs, but in a closer one than Vegas expects.
CU 45 - ASU 37
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND BEAT THE SUN DEVILS!