Last week I previewed the upcoming seasons of all nine of the Pennsylvania Division I college football teams. This week I take a look at the college teams in Colorado.
The Centennial State has a much smaller group of top college football teams with three. That doesn’t mean the Colorado teams should be taking lightly. The Air Force Falcons, Colorado Buffaloes, and Colorado State Rams are all storied programs and should be competitive in their respective conferences.
This season, however, the pride of Colorado college football rests solely in the hands of Air Force. The namesake universities are ready to disappoint for yet another year and therefore the Falcons are the only Colorado team with a chance at a strong season.
Let’s jump right in and see how each team should look this season in comparison to last.
Air Force Will Try to Run Away with Conference Title
The Falcons were 10-3 last year. This year Caesars Sportsbook has their win total at 8.5 and +450 to win the Mountain West.
Air Force had a very unique offensive approach a season ago. The team hardly threw the ball and instead used their quarterback, running back, fullback, and multiple wide receivers to lead an aggressive rushing attack which would go on to lead the country in rushing yards per game.
The team lost its top two receivers, Brandon Lewis and Micah Davis, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue since they run so much. QB Haaziq Daniels and RB Brad Roberts are the stars of this offense and will get another shot this season to put up crazy stats on the ground.
WR DeAndre Hughes also ended the season on a three-game tear playing running back and figures to feature much more into this season’s offense at that new position. Expect this offense to pick right back up where it left off and maybe even improve on its output this season.
The Mountain West Conference was a pretty competitive conference a season ago, featuring seven of its 12 teams finishing above .500. The overall talent level in the conference should see a slight decrease this season, as top players gravitate to the high-end programs and conferences and the elite talent moves on to the NFL.
This is good for Air Force, as its roster is largely the same and should be able to take advantage of a weaker Mountain West slate. The Falcons will be facing Northern Iowa Panthers, Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights in out of conference play and should easily be able to win two of those games, if not all three.
Coming off a strong season and not losing much talent, this team can be expected to pass the 8.5 win total and make a serious run at the Mountain West title. There are some strong teams at the top of the conference so a bet on the title may be a little risky , but you can confidently lock in the over on that Air Force win total this year.
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Transfer QB Key to Colorado State Success
This team’s lone bright spot a year ago was the play of QB Todd Centeio. He threw for just under 3,000 yards and was second on the team in rushing yards and TDs. The Rams finished 3-9.
Unfortunately, Centeio took off for James Madison in the offseason and now the Rams will move forward with Nevada transfer, redshirt freshman Clay Millen at QB.
Oddsmakers have the total wins at 5.5 and the Rams are +2200 to win the Mountain West.
The offense will be almost completely different this year, with the new QB, two new starting wide receivers, a new tight end and four new starting lineman. This just seems like too much to adjust to for a team that already had enough struggles last season. Don’t expect much from this offense.
The Rams struggled in Mountain West play last year, winning just two of eight conference matchups. In a top-heavy conference, it is easy to sink rather than swim and this team seems headed for the bottom yet again.
To make things worse, Colorado State has a very tough out of conference slate to start the season. The Rams open with Michigan Wolverines, Middle Tennessee Raiders, Washington State Cougars and Sacramento State Hornets, all four of which were over .500 teams last season.
This team could easily start 0-4 and spiral downwards from there over the conference schedule. I just don’t see them coming up with six wins this year. Take the under and feel good about it.
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Departures Hurt Colorado Buffaloes
The Pac-12 is another sink or swim conference that is only getting better this season. A year ago, Colorado went just 3-6 in conference and finished tied for third-worst in the Pac-12. They were 4-8 overall. Oddsmakers have their total victories at three and are +30000 to win the Pac-12.
This offseason the team saw a lot of its top talent leave for greener pastures, including starting RB Jarek Broussard and starting WRs Brenden Rice and Dimitri Stanley. The Buffaloes also have QB J.T. Shrout listed as their starter despite missing all of last season with a knee injury. It will be a season of adjustment and discovery despite not really being able to afford that in such a strong Pac-12 conference.
The Buffaloes begin the season with three out of conference matchups with the TCU Horned Frogs, Air Force and Minnesota Golden Gophers. Similar to Colorado State, this team may very well head into conference play winless. All three opponents look to be better than Colorado, and it only gets worse in Pac-12 play.
Three wins might even be generous for the Buffaloes this year and I would lean towards the under. In all likelihood, the team will end with three wins and the bet will push so it’s probably not even worth taking.
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