BUFFS

Full CU Buffs schedule drops as Prime’s path to playoff is revealed

Jan 30, 2024, 9:12 AM | Updated: 12:06 pm

Deion Sanders made it clear, he expects to see the Colorado Buffaloes in 2024’s expanded College Football Playoff. If Coach Prime’s unit is to get to the postseason, we now know the exact path, as the Big 12 dropped the conference’s full schedule on Tuesday morning.

The Buffaloes roam back to their traditional Big 12 in the fall and it looks a little different after 13 years out west. Gone are old rivals and powers and in are some fellow former Pac-12 schools as well as upstarts from the east. CU will have a taste of it all in the coming years, as the conference announced matchups back in November for the next four years.

What the Buffaloes will be getting one last chew of is some of their biggest rivalries in 2024. Colorado has its final game in its series with longtime rival Nebraska and in-state foe Colorado State isn’t on the slate again until 2029.

Colorado Buffaloes 2024 schedule

Aug. 31: North Dakota State, Folsom Field, Boulder
Sept. 7: AT Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Sept. 14: AT Colorado State, Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins
Sept. 21: Baylor, Folsom Field, Boulder
Sept. 28: AT UCF, FBC Mortgage Stadium, Orlando, FL
Oct. 12: Kansas State, Folsom Field, Boulder
Oct. 19: AT Arizona, Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Oct. 26: Cincinnati, Folsom Field, Boulder,
Nov. 9: AT Texas Tech, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Nov. 16: Utah, Folsom Field, Boulder
Nov. 23: AT Kansas, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO

Nov. 29: Oklahoma State, Folsom Field, Boulder

Dec. 7: Big 12 Title Game, AT&T Stadium, Dallas

Breaking down the Buffs schedule

It will be CU’s first time playing in a 16-team conference. Among the oddities of Colorado’s new old conference, is an in-conference trip to Florida — a first in Buffs history, and maybe the first time they’ll play a conference opponent at their home stadium in the eastern time zone. Many Buffaloes players, and coaches, happen to be from the Sunshine State. This fall will also be the first time CU does not face Arizona State in a season since 2010 (besides 2020’s COVID season).

The Buffs are slated to play their likely toughest opponent, Arizona, on the road in 2024. Coach Jedd Fisch bolted the Wildcats for Washington where Kalen DeBoer left to replace Nick Saban at Alabama. The Wildcats went from a 1-11 season in 2021 to a 10-game-winner in 2023 behind freshman quarterback Noah Fifita, and finished with their highest rank in the AP Poll in over 25 years. The Alamo Bowl winners bring back a ton of key pieces. They beat the Buffs 34-31 at Folsom Field in 2023.

By the very 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 squad.

What’s interesting is once the Buffs get to Big 12 play, they’ll alternate home and road games the entire season. There’s also no Thursday games, and just one Friday contest. That’ll be the very last regular season game of the year, at home against Oklahoma State. It comes the day after Thanksgiving.

But the focus for many will be on the early games with dates we already knew; trips to Lincoln and Fort Collins. Both the Cornhuskers and Rams lost in Boulder in 2023 and are expected to be much better in 2024. Nebraska signed the top high school quarterback in the country and Matt Rhule has some positive momentum. Up north, Jay Norvell is making steady improvements to a Rams team that won two of their final three games.

Meanwhile, the college football world seems to have overcorrected on Colorado and maybe not accounted for their fifth-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 from 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, not just the 4.5 wins Vegas has set for the Buffaloes

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