In years past, Colorado has always used their preseason poll positioning as motivation to prove doubters wrong. They were picked to finish 12th in 2009, 9th in 2010 and last year they were picked to finish 11th in their first season in the Pac 12. Colorado defied expectations by finishing 8th, 6th and 6th respectively.
As far as this season goes, the Buffaloes, the defending Pac 12 champions, were picked to finish in sixth place according to media members during the Pac 12 media day in San Francisco. Compared to previous years, this is actually a show of respect from the media to predict that Colorado will finish in the top half of the league at the end of the year. Even though it’s an improved level of respect for Colorado, head coach Tad Boyle still doesn’t put much stock in preseason polls.
“They picked us 11 last year, sixth this year, so nothing is more irrelevant in my mind,” Boyle said during the Pac 12 media day.
All they have to do is look at the previous years to know that preseason polls really don’t mean much and Boyle is well aware of that. However, despite the highest predicted finish for any Colorado team in recent memory, he will be sure to still use this as further motivation for his young squad as they head into this season. It’s odd to see a defending conference champion picked to finish as low as Colorado is and that will be one of the talking points for Boyle and his staff.
Yes, Colorado lost some of their top players from last year with the graduation of Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault and Nate Tomlinson, but they filled those holes with a tremendous recruiting class. In fact, it was the highest rated recruiting class (rated as the 21st best in the country) that Colorado has ever had in their history. Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson headline the highly regarded group and they are primed to make instant contributions this season.
It does seem that outsiders are still a bit wary of whether or not this team is ready to become a top echelon program in the Pac 12. They will be very young and it’s hard to predict how the young guys will progress as the year moves on but it’s something that the team will have to strive for to prove people wrong.
“We haven’t gained enough respect yet,” junior forward Andre Roberson said during the Pac 12 media day. “We have to go out there and continue to prove everybody wrong, once again.”