BUFFS

CU Buffs go unranked in six major way-too-early polls

Jan 10, 2024, 12:53 PM

Not ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo, Pro Football Focus, 247 Sports or Sports Illustrated, ranked the Colorado Buffaloes as a top 25 team in the country for the 2024 season in their way-too-early post-championship game poll.

The college football world has seemingly struggled to figure out what to make of the Buffs since Deion Sanders took over as the head football coach. In 2023, the team was a laughing stock, turned hype machine to a No. 18 ranking to losers of eight of their final nine games. Meanwhile, Vegas had their preseason win total at 3.5, Colorado finished with four wins. Despite a pretty solid offseason thus far that win total is only at 4.5 right now. More eye-popping is that no major outlet is drooling over the Buffs despite having some of the most recognizable returning players in the country.

At first glance, Colorado’s schedule and conference does appear to get easier next year. Sure, they’ll have to face both their rivals in Colorado State and Nebraska out on the road, but the move to the Big 12 should give the Buffaloes some hope. The Pac-12 had maybe its strongest year ever in its finale and the Big 12 projects to maybe have one fringe top 10 team, and only one outlet picked two teams to make the extended college football playoff.

Here’s who ranked whom in the Big 12 and where they ranked by each:

ESPN AZ 9, Utah 13, OKST 18, KSU 21, KU 23
USAT AZ 13, Utah 16, OKST 20, KU 22
Yahoo KSU 13, Utah 14, AZ 19 OKST 22
PFF: AZ 10, Utah 12, KU 21, KSU 22, OKST 23
247: KSU 15, Utah 16, AZ 17, OKST 25
SI: AZ 10, Utah 13, KU 19, OKST 20, KSU 22

The Buffs are slated to play their likely toughest opponent, Arizona, on the road in 2024. Jedd Fisch the Wildcats from a 1-11 season in 2021 into a 10-game-winner in 2023 behind freshman quarterback Noah Fifita. The Alamo Bowl winners bring back a ton of key pieces. They beat the Buffs 34-31 at Folsom Field in 2023.

By the early ranks, it appears as though Utah will be the next toughest conference foe and that game will be in Boulder. As will the Buffaloes harder matchups against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Colorado will travel to Lawrence for football for the first time since 2010 and the Jayhawks are expected to be solid with Lance Leipold and Jalon Daniels still on the Kaw.

The college football world seems to have overcorrected on Colorado and maybe not accounted for their second-ranked transfer portal class and 21st-best class overall when accounting for preps. Sure the Buffaloes had similar class numbers last winter, but they were also starting off at one win. Now that a foundation has been built and it’s undeniable that Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter are great at this level, let alone the next one, there are way fewer questions about this year’s team. It seems pretty evident Colorado will take another step forward in 2024 under Coach Prime. But just remember he’s not trying to launch CU into a true top-25 team, Sanders has his sights set on the College Football Playoff.

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CU Buffs go unranked in six major way-too-early polls