Will the Colorado Buffaloes win a football game in 2012?

By Justine Hendricks

The Colorado Buffaloes fell to 0-3 with Saturday’s 69-14 beatdown at the hands of Fresno State, and with their three “easy” games ending in the loss column, the Buffs are facing the very real possibility that they might not win a game this year.

Their first three opponents were supposed to be non-conference cupcakes to help them get a few wins early. Instead, they lost the rivalry game to Colorado State and lost at home to Sacramento State on a last second field goal before being absolutely slaughtered by the Bulldogs.

To be fair, Oregon State lost to Sacramento State last season, and Fresno State is no pushover, but things look downright bad for the Buffaloes for the rest of the year.

In 2011, the team was blown out by six Pac-12 teams (StanfordWashington, Oregon, Arizona State, USC and UCLA) but they managed to win over Colorado State and, inexplicably, Arizona and Utah.

The rest of the schedule looks a little like a gauntlet, but it does offer Colorado nine more chances to notch a win – although some of the games give them better odds than others.

Here’s a game-by-game look at what’s next for Colorado – and when the team will have the best chance to pull off an upset and save itself from a winless season.

9/22 @ Washington State – These two faced off in Week 4 last season, too, and Colorado almost won. The Cougars are supposed to be a better team than they were last season, but WSU is still one of the weaker programs in the Pac-12. The team hasn’t been impressive yet, particularly on defense. Then again, Colorado has struggled to get things done on offense. Still, if Mike Leach‘s guys have a bad day, the Buffaloes might be able to get rid of the goose egg in the win column.

9/29 vs. UCLA – The Bruins have been on fire the first three weeks of the season, coming out strong in the opener at Rice, upsetting ranked Nebraska, and rolling right over Houston. Last year, UCLA put up 45 points on the Buffaloes in Pasadena – and they weren’t nearly as good as they’ve looked in 2012. Colorado might want to cross its fingers and hope Jim Mora doesn’t run the score up too high.

10/6  BYE 

10/11 vs. Arizona State – The Thursday night game will be another tough one for the Buffs. Arizona State narrowly lost to Missouri this weekend, but in the first two weeks, they scored again and again on Northern Arizona and Illinois. Those two wins were home games for ASU; so far, the team’s only loss has been on the road. The Sun Devils’ next two games – against Utah and at Cal – will be telling, but it’ll be a surprise if the Buffaloes can win this one.

10/20 @ USC – It doesn’t matter if the entire offensive line is comprised of backups, USC isn’t losing this one at home.

10/27 @ Oregon – Autzen Stadium is one of the toughest places to play, and the Ducks’ high-powered offense will have a field day against CU.

11/3 vs. Stanford – The Buffaloes, probably the worst team in the conference, get to face three of the Pac-12’s best back-to-back-to-back. Yikes. A week after Oregon runs wild, the Cardinal will manhandle whatever’s left of Colorado.

11/10 @ Arizona – Arizona was one of the few teams CU beat last season, and it was the Buffs’ biggest margin of victory, 48-29. Don’t expect a repeat in Tucson next month. The Wildcats have looked better than expected, but even if they drop off before mid-November, they’ll still be looking for payback after last year’s embarrassing loss.

11/17 vs. Washington – The key to Washington’s success in 2012 is keeping Keith Price healthy. If the Huskies do that, they’ll have no problems with Colorado. If Price gets beaten up week in and week out, the Buffaloes might have a slight chance to upset UW.

11/23 vs. Utah – The day after Thanksgiving, CU might just be thankful the season is finally over. The Buffaloes shocked Utah 17-14 last season, but it will be an even bigger shock if they repeat. The Utes lost quarterback Jordan Wynn but didn’t seem to lose any momentum, with new starter Jon Hays picking up the win over ranked BYU this weekend.

Unless something crazy happens in the Pac-12 over the next month, Colorado will be the underdog in every game for the rest of the year. If the Buffaloes finish 0-12, they’ll be the first team from a BCS conference to have a winless season since Washington in ’08.

Justine Hendricks is a Pac-12 and ACC Columnist for Rant Sports and is the founder and editor of Sports in StilettosFollow her on Twitter: @SportsStilettos

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