Deion Sanders gets real about college football playoff expansion

Jul 10, 2024, 1:25 PM

Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders speaks on SiriusXM at Super Bowl LVIII...

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The last time the Colorado Buffaloes won a national championship in football there was no title game. If Deion Sanders leads the Buffs to glory—there will be more than just a title game as now college football has an entire playoffs system.

Expanding from just a title game to a four-team playoff in recent years to now the debut of a 12-team playoff this season—the Buffs will have a chance that felt unthinkable just years ago. Not only have the Buffs only been to one bowl game in a full season since 2007, they haven’t won a postseason contest in the last 20 years. But CU did climb to a No. 18 ranking in the AP poll last year and back during The Rise in 2016, they finished No. 10 in the College Football Playoff ranking.

That 2016 team was led by a bunch of upperclassmen who went on to play in the NFL. The Buffs roster makeup is better this season, with arguably better skill position players and a more touted quarterback. In fact, EA ranked Colorado as 16 in their preseason ranking—meaning the Buffaloes might be way closer to the postseason than the typical team coming off a 4-8 season. And that’s due to the team’s giant roster turnover over the last two years that have involved two regarded transfer classes to supplement the team’s stars of Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter.

“I’m excited, I want to be part of the four, okay, not just the 12,” Buffs second-year coach Sanders told ESPNU from Big 12 Media Day on Wednesday. “But I’m happy just to get in. So we’re elated because now there’s opportunity and you show any man or woman an opportunity and they have the right ingredients on their side they’re gonna seize the moment and they’re gonna try to go get it. So I’m happy and elated that more teams have the chance because some teams get hot late, and they just don’t get in. You see all these teams sitting by the TV and they don’t get selected like Florida State didn’t last year and there’s no telling what they would have done. And you don’t have that now. Now you have 12 teams going in and then I pray to God to be one of them.”

Sanders in the past has outlined CFP as the goal for this year’s Buffs team. He didn’t quite go that far this time but did vouch for the school he suited up for in the Seminoles, who were the fifth team in the four-team playoff last winter.

With the move to the Big 12, Colorado should have a slightly easier slate, though their rivalry games to start the season will make it a tough road to begin. Still, even if it’s a bit lighter overall that shouldn’t hurt the Buffs now as the Big 12 winner will get an automatic bid plus there’s likely room for at least one more team atop the conference.

So unlike in the past, when a team could go undefeated and still not have a chance at a time—the Buffaloes destiny is now within their own control. Can they actually accomplish the monumental feat of turning a one-game winner in 2022 to a playoff team just two years later? The sharps just blocks from Sanders press conference in Las Vegas are betting against the Buffs, but hey it’s actually possible now and it certainly wasn’t just a short time ago.


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