After a 4-8 season under first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre, the Colorado Buffaloes are looking to turn a corner in the 2014 season. The Buffs will meet their in-state rival, the Colorado State Rams, to open the season on Aug. 29. This is the 86th meeting all-time between the Buffs and Rams, with Colorado holding a 62-12-1 advantage.
After a come from behind win against Washington State Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl last season, the Rams finished the 2013 season with a 8-6 record. CSU head coach Jim McElwain doesn’t feel his team is an underdog and believes the only goal for the Rams is to win against the Buffs. “I’m confident every time we go play, it doesn’t matter who we play. The one thing that I believe is that you don’t go into a game thinking you’re going to lose. Look they’re a Pac-12 team, they’ve got better resources, they’ve got more money, they recruit top players, I get all that. At the same time it doesn’t matter who we play.” McElwain said in a press conference this week about facing Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
The Buffs are led by starting sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau, who had a busy off season attending the Manning Passing academy. Liufau learned valuable skills from the Mannings along with other college quarterbacks that he hopes can translate over to the field. Colorado is the youngest team in the Pac-12 and the tenth youngest in all of college football. That’s something MacIntyre hasn’t shied away from by naming Liufau and fellow sophomore linebacker Addison Gillam as captains for the 2014 season, the first time ever in Colorado’s history.
Colorado’s offense was the worst in the Pac-12 last season and ranked 95th overall in the nation. The Buffs still managed to scrap away with one conference win against the California Bears, the only team in the Pac-12 to have a worse record than Colorado at 1-11. The Buffs have 15 starters returning on both sides of the ball (seven on offense and eight on defense) but lost playmaking wide receiver Paul Richardson to the NFL.
The Rams are returning 14 starters from a good offensive squad last season that ranked second in the Mountain West Conference behind the Fresno State Bulldogs and 13th in the nation. The only thing better for Colorado State last season was their defense, ranked fifth in the country in tackles and second in the Mountain West behind second-ranked Utah State Aggies. The Rams are led by senior quarterback Garrett Grayson who threw for 3,696 yards last season with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The Colorado State Rams and Colorado Buffaloes meet in Denver, Colo. for the Rocky Mountain Showdown at 9 p.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 29. The game will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.
PREDICTION: Colorado 34, Colorado State, 24