Colorado Football Predictions

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Colorado Football Predictions

The Colorado Buffaloes rebounded from their disastrous 1-11 campaign in 2012 with a respectable record of 4-8 in the first year under head coach Mike MacIntyre. While the improvement is nice to see, the Buffaloes clearly have a long way to go before being a serious threat in the PAC-12. Colorado was -188 yards/game inside conference play and two of their four wins last year came against FCS opponents.

You would expect Colorado to continue to move in the right direction with 16 starters returning from last year (8 on each side of the ball), but it won’t be easy with the loss of star wide out Paul Richardson (2nd round draft pick). Losing that kind of playmaker on a team like this can be difficult to overcome. Richardson’s 10 touchdowns were nearly a third of the offenses total output in 2013. The good news is that the Buffaloes are high on sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau, who became the first true freshman to start at Boulder since 2008.

Last Season
Pac-12 (South)
Record
ATS Record
Over/Under
Points For
Points Against
6th
4-8
7-5
7-4
25.4
38.3
2014 Colorado Buffaloes Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/29 Colorado State (Denver)
-3.5
0.61
9/6 @ UMass
-14
0.85
9/13 Arizona State
+14
0.15
9/20 Hawaii
-14.5
0.87
9/27 @ California
-2.5
0.54
10/4 Oregon State
+7
0.30
10/18 @ USC
+28
0.00
10/25 UCLA
+20
0.00
11/1 Washington
+10
0.23
11/8 @ Arizona
+17
0.00
11/22 @ Oregon
+38
0.00
11/29 Utah
+4.5
0.37
Estimated Wins: 3.92

It’s not so much the offense that figures to hold back Colorado in 2014, it’s a defense that likes playmakers. The Buffalo’s stop unit hasn’t allowed fewer than 30 points and 400 yards of total offense since 2009. Getting back 8 starters on that side of the ball should help them improve on last year’s 38.3 ppg and 468 yards of total offense, but when you have the 75th ranked recruiting class in 2014 and your top four recruits are all on the offensive side of the ball, it’s hard to see this unit making a huge jump.

It is worth noting that the Buffaloes had a horrible defensive yard per point of 12.2 last year. For most teams that’s a good sign of better numbers the following season. That’s not the case for Colorado, who is averaging a 12.1 ypp over the last 5 years. On the flip side of things the offense posted an average ypp of 14.6, yet that was a marked improvement over the 17+ ypp they put up over the previous 2 seasons.

Something else to consider in regards to last year is that the Buffaloes had a -3 turnover margin, which was a drastic improvement from 2012 when they -19. Rarely will you see a team go up double-digits, let alone 16, from one year to the next. Don’t be surprised if they fall back in 2014, as they haven’t finished positive once in the last 7 years.

Taking a look at Colorado’s schedule, you can make a strong case that it’s slightly easier than what they faced last year. While they don’t have two cupcake games against FCS opponents, they replace those with a couple of winnable games against UMass and Hawaii. They also go from having to play 5 road games inside conference action to getting to play 5 home games. It’s also worth noting that the majority of their games against the top teams in the PAC-12 all come on the road, which means they could be poised for an upset or two at home. They also draw California out of the North, who they beat 41-24 for their only conference win last season.

Odds
Regular Season Win Total
Pac-12 Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
4.5
300 to 1
2000 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Season Predictions

While I like MacIntyre and believe he will get this program back to being competitive, I don’t think the Buffaloes are going to be able build on last year success. A lot of BCS teams can afford to lose a player like Richardson, but it can devastating to a team like Colorado. As good as Liufau looked last year, it’s hard to see him putting up the same numbers with the loss of an NFL-caliber receiver. With a defense that can stop anyone, I just don’t see this team scoring anywhere close to enough to win a single game inside the PAC-12. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and calling for them to win all 3 of their non-conference games, but I could just as easily see them going 1-2 in those games. Needless to say, I think the UNDER 4.5 is the way to go with Colorado’s win total in 2014.

The Buffaloe’s are clearly getting some respect going into this season, their win total is a .5-game higher than the number of games they won last year and that’s with a near for-sure loss to Fresno State getting canceled and replaced with an easy win against Charleston Southern. I really have my concerns with the offense and for that reason I will be looking to fade Colorado early and often this year, especially if they are laying points. Unfortunately it won’t take long for the books to adjust. A string of ugly losses and the value will no longer be there.

2014 Projections
Pac-12 (South)
Pac-12 Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
6th
0-9
3-9
UNDER 4.5
Colorado Football Resources
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