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Alamo Bowl: Five Things To Know About the Colorado Buffs

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Oklahoma State takes on Colorado two weeks from today. Let’s get to know the Buffs as The Pokes head for their 11th consecutive bowl game.

1. Colorado is a Babe

When you thought about the Big 12 Exodus, Colorado was always the team that you weren’t too bummed about losing. You thought, “hey it’d be nice to go skiing the same weekend I see a game”, but never really did.

Colorado, if you’re the Big 12, is that girl that unexpectedly got a lot prettier. If you’re (nerd alert) into Harry Potter, it’s the moment where Ron figures out his best friend Hermione is a babe. This Colorado team looks like a total babe.

Not only is Colorado now attractive on their own, but wouldn’t a BYU argument be more palatable? Pairing BYU with Colorado State versus pairing 2016 Colorado is the difference in having chips and queso versus chips with anything else. The Buffs would boost academic profile (AAU school) and give you a solid team to go with BYU in the mountain time zone. This breakup was not is hard.

2. Defensive Beauty

So what’s to miss about the Buffs? A secondary that the OU football team would sell what soul they have left for and a solid rush defense (sans the Washington game).

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Now, how much the competition has to do with that? Oregon fired their coach, Stanford lost their senior quarterback and never found a passing attack and they didn’t have to play Texas Tech ex-pat Davis Webb who was demolishing Pac 12 secondaries all year.

They did hold Mike Leach’s high-octane offense to 24 points, two touchdowns behind their average and held Stanford’s Christian McCafferey to 92 yards on 21 carries.

Losing defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, as well-respected of a defensive coach as there is in college football, isn’t good. But the schemes and personnel are in place for a unit that went from No. 120 to No. 8 in yards per play allowed in the span of a couple of years.

This CU defense held Heisman-hopeful Jake Browning of Washington to 9 completions for 118 yards, Rudolph and friends will have a challenge awaiting them at the Alamo Dome.

3. The Third Lindsay

The Buffs learned their lesson about not recruiting a Lindsay brother (after Tony, quarterback at OSU from 1997-2000) and brother Gabe, and locked down cousin Phillip to man the ground game in Boulder.

After missing out on keeping Christian McCaffery at home in the Denver area, the Buffs moved on to a 5’9″, 175 pound back out of Denver South. Some situations work out well for everyone involved. Lindsay, the Pac 12’s regular season leader in touchdowns on the ground, packs a punch and has the speed to get away.

With 100+ yard games against Stanford, Arizona, Washington State and a 219 yard, three touchdown performance against Arizona State, the “tasmanian devil” is one of the better backs the Pokes will face this year.

4. Sefo and Co.

The Michigan game perfectly describes senior quarterback Sefo Liufau. Part of what makes him King Buff is that the dude just keeps coming back from injury but he still gives them a shot against anybody. A Lisfranc (foot) injury and shoulder issues marred much of 2015 for Liufau and a hip injury sprinkled in with recurring right ankle issues have cost him valuable time in this banner 2016 season.

The Buffs rely on his power run game as a quarterback and his rapport with stand out wide receivers Chay Fields and Darron Ross to balance out the offense. All of the CU losses have come in incomplete games from Liufau this year, as Liufau goes so goes Colorado.

Early on teams were getting burned by the earlier-mentioned speedsters but as the season has gone on, teams have kept them in front of them and limited the explosiveness of the Colorado offense (think James Washington pre and post Pitt game).

The most appropriate comp for Liufau is a stronger-armed, bulkier General Walsh, a galvanizing force that rallies the troops. Just check out this quote from teammate Lindsay on the Polynesian Player of the Year.

“Sefo, he is a dog… That man puts his body on the line, day in and day out, he has to take the most criticism, he has to remember everything on the field, he has to tell me what to do half the time, there are no words that I can say to express my feelings towards that man, that dude is the man and my guy to the end and I’ve told him that and I just want to let him know again. He’s our leader, we’re going to ride with him.”

With that being said, and he seems like a great dude, the poor guy has been held together a bit with glue and duct tape and he’s thrown 11 touchdowns to six picks… The backup is a freshman who’s played descent but when Sefo goes out the offense looks like…

5. Surprise Season

It’s hard to think that someone outside of Boulder (or under the influence of substances legal there) really saw this season coming. Ten wins in four years total, then ten wins in one year. The biggest one-season turnaround in Pac 12 history: 1-8 to 8-1.

The stunning turnaround merited head coach Mike MacIntyre numerous national head coach of the year awards and watching this incredibly well done video series done by CU is almost eerie given that it predates one of the more dramatic rebuilds in college football.

MacIntyre has been doing a good job over the last couple of years and the experienced team he’s been building just broke through all at once.

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Over the last two years, the Buffs have lost eight games by seven points or less. After hiring a new offensive coordinator to go with Leavitt’s revamped defense, the offense this year has gone from 24.6 to 32.8 points per game. It’s been an expert rebuild to take a team from five last place finishes to the Pac-12 title game and facing a team like that is what makes bowl games so fun.

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