Obviously, lots of noise was made early in the season after Coach Prime decided to take the head coaching position at the University of Colorado. Right from the jump, the focus was on Prime and his hard nosed, big mouthed coaching style. In the first meeting with the team he told those who weren’t fully in to get out now.
Then things went bananas when Colorado upset TCU in Week 1 and pulled off two more wins to begin the season 3-0. This lead everybody, including major media heads, to start making all sorts of insane predictions and statements that in hindsight look ridiculous.
Many said Deion was changing college football forever. They said this was the new way to coach, the new style of college football, the way all programs would have to play in order to stay afloat.
They said Colorado would compete for a national championship, they were one of the best teams of all-time. In fact, in one of my favorite asinine questions, FanDuel actually asked what the hypothetical line between the 2023 Colorado Buffaloes and the 2019 LSU Tigers would be…
LSU -67.5 is where I would open it given what we now know.
It turned out, the then #2 ranked TCU team that Colorado beat in week 1 stinks and finished with a 5-7 record. In week 2 they beat perennial losers Nebraska and then eked out an overtime victory against in state rival Colorado State (who also finished 5-7), which should have raised some red flags on the actual skill level of this team, but those concerns didn’t start getting raised until the next week when Oregon absolutely trounced them.
Colorado would go on to drop 8 of their final 9 games with their only win being a 3 point victory over lowly Arizona State, leaving the Buffaloes with a 4-8 final record. To take a step back, this was a major improvement over last year where they went 1-11 (that only win being Nebraska). Quadrupling your wins from a season ago is certainly a giant step in the right direction.
Also, they lost in overtime to Stanford, nearly pulled off a crazy comeback against then highly ranked USC, and lost by 3 to #14 Arizona, so if just a couple of plays went a different way they would be bowl eligible with a 7-5 record and a much better resume.
But “could be’s” and should have been’s don’t count for anything in college football and Deion is left to pick up the pieces and try to keep morale high with his squad to take the momentum they captured in 2023 into next season, but already there are small signs of cracks showing in the program.
Shedeur Sanders was forced to sit out the final game of the year with a broken back after being sacked 52 times during the season. A number of players have begun transferring out and former Colorado stand-out and two time Super Bowl Champion Christian Fauria has been calling out the state of the program for weeks before his son, Caleb Fauria, also decided to leave the team. A number of incoming freshmen have also decommitted from the team of late, including 4-star QB Antwann Hill Jr.
Deion has at times blasted and at times praised the NIL system which allowed him to recruit so effectively, which leaves the current state of the team in flux.
No one really knows what is going to happen next year. Was this a fluke? Has the tide passed everyone by and soon we’ll look back and remember those few strange weeks when we though Deion turned Colorado into a powerhouse?
Or is just just the springboard for what comes next. Will Colorado be an actual contender next season? Will the team gel, get over the hump and turn into a Top 10 or higher team? Will they make the expanded 12 Team playoff next year?
No one knows, but it’s undeniable that it’s been a wild ride of ups and downs for both Colorado and fans of college football everywhere.
At the end of the day, the Buffaloes season closes just how it started: A lot of focus on the coach, a lot of questions about the team.