The 5280 Football Preview
Our rip-roarin’, QB-battlin’, coach-firin’, trash-talkin’ look at the upcoming season on Colorado’s most-storied gridirons
CU Golden Buffaloes
Far From Perfect
Storyline During a spring barnstorming tour across the state, University of Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins held up two fingers an inch apart and was quoted as saying, “Trust me; we’re that far away.” He meant from winning, but after a dismally disappointing 3–9 showing in 2009, the truth is, the Buffaloes are also “that far away” from becoming genuine doormats.
The good news is the Buffs are returning 16 of 22 starters this season; the bad news is, this is the squad that had the third-worst scoring offense in the Big 12 and the second-worst scoring defense. The team’s tailback depth is thin after the departure of two key members of the 2009 squad, but leading passer Tyler Hansen and top receiver Scotty McKnight are both back, as is all-Big 12 offensive lineman Nate Solder.
CU’s schedule is unkind but not impossible, with difficult nonconference games at Cal-Berkeley and at home against high-scoring Hawaii and perennial Southeastern Conference contender Georgia. In an effort to grab some winning juju, the Buffaloes plan to wear throwback uniforms from their 1990 national championship team for all six home games. CU fans—and coach Hawk—can only hope they’re dressed for success.
Hot Seat With a 16–33 record entering his fifth season at the helm, it’s do or die time for Hawkins. Anything short of a bowl bid probably means he’s done in Boulder.
Players to watch With no blue-chip recruits coming in, the Buffs’ fortunes lie with the offensive production of QB Hansen, wide receiver McKnight, and running back Rodney Stewart.
Key Game The CSU opener returns to Invesco Field this year and should set the stage for the season, but consecutive ensuing matchups against Cal, Hawaii, and Georgia could be momentum builders—or killers. —LH
2010 Schedule (all times local)
- Sept. 4: CU vs. CSU neutral site (Denver) noon
- Sept. 11: CU vs. California away 1:30 p.m.
- Sept. 18: CU vs. Hawaii home 1:30 p.m.
- Oct. 2: CU vs. Georgia home 2:30 p.m.
- Oct. 9: CU vs. Missouri away TBA
- Oct. 16: CU vs. Baylor home TBA
- Oct. 23: CU vs. Texas Tech home TBA
- Oct. 30: CU vs. Oklahoma away TBA
- Nov. 6: CU vs. Kansas away TBA
- Nov. 13: CU vs. Iowa St. home TBA
- Nov. 20: CU vs. Kansas St. home TBA
- Nov. 26: CU vs. Nebraska away 1:30 p.m.