2022 Colorado Buffaloes Preview

by Matt Fargo

Colorado Buffaloes

2021-22 Season Record 4-8 (3-6 Pac 12 South) - 6-6-0 ATS - 5-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 7
Defense - 5

Overview

There was a time when Colorado was a national force in college football back when it was part of the Big 12 and a move to the Pac 12 would have thought the Buffaloes could bring those days back. Instead, it has been nine losing seasons in 10 years not counting the 4-2 COVID-shortened campaign including a 4-8 record last season. They have gone through five coaches and in the second year of Karl Dorrell in 2011, expectations were high in Boulder as 17 starters were back but a 1-4 start derailed any of that and when they lost, they lost big with seven of the eight losses coming by at least 22 points. Dorrell is now on the clock and tried to buy some time by revamping his coaching staff but it will take a big effort to likely keep his job. The early schedule is not in their favor and with just 12 starters back and a poor recruiting class, it could be another tough season.

Offense

The offense was one of the worst in the country last season as Colorado averaged 257.4 ypg and 18.8 ppg, No. 129 and No. 121 respectively and that was with an offense with nine starters back following a breakout the previous season. The Buffaloes do bring seven starters back this season so they should see an improvement and it will come down to quarterback Brendon Lewis, that is if he even wins the job. He was unable to get the ball downfield as he averaged a paltry 5.0 ypa and threw for just 1,540 yards with 10 touchdowns and J.T. Shrout could take over coming back from injury. The running game was better, but not much, as Colorado averaged only 126.2 ypg on the ground with the leading rusher gone. The two top receivers transferred out which they cannot be blamed for, and a young group takes over. The offensive line is also a work in progress and could struggle early.

Defense

Defensively, Colorado was not much better. It was ranked 91st or worse in total defense, passing defense and rushing defense and while allowing 17 points or less four times, the other eight games resulted in giving up an average of 35.8 ppg. With only five starters back, there is work to be done and that starts in the secondary. The passing defense was bad and three starters transferred out so this is a raw back end that needs to grown up in a hurry in the pass-happy Pac 12. The defensive line is big and athletic but needs to get a bigger push in not only stopping the run but getting to the quarterback as the Buffaloes had only 14 sacks, tied for No. 126 in the country. Linebacker Carson Wells and his 5.5 sacks have moved on so this group has to come up big and the whole defense needs to take the ball away more after forcing only 14 turnovers last season including just four fumbles.

2022 Season Outlook

There are some good parts in place for Colorado but not enough to contend in the South unless the quarterback situation has a miraculous turnaround. The Buffaloes are in the bottom half of the country in returning production so many newcomers will be asked to step up. The schedule sets up for a 0-4 start as they will be underdogs in all four games as they open at home against TCU as a nine-point underdog and then travel to Air Force and Minnesota to close out nonconference play. UCLA comes to visit in the Pac 12 opener and then it finally gets a quick break with games against Arizona and California before closing the season with six games against teams projected for winning seasons. The Buffaloes win total is set at 3.5 which seems about right based on the strength of this slate and it will take some upsets in the second half of the season to surpass that total. 

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