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Football is finally back and is here to save the day for fans looking to break free from the summer doldrums of minimal sporting activity. For Buffs fans that means one thing: The Rocky Mountain Showdown on September 1.
Entering the 85th game of the rivalry, there is much to be excited about, including head coach Mike MacIntyre’s debut, Junior WR Paul Richardson’s return and a clean slate after the 2012-13 season.
But if the Buffs want to start this year’s campaign on a higher note than last year’s, a number of things need to be done.
Colorado must stop, or at least contain, CSU’s run game. Unfortunately, this is far easier said than done, as CSU brings a potential all-American center anchoring a veteran offensive line, two potential future NFL tight ends and several strong running backs. MacIntyre is aware of all of this, as well as the fact that CU allowed over 200 rushing yards a game last year, but he believes changes in mentality and preparation will make a difference.
“We have to stop the run,” senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe said. “That’s one thing our coaches have been preaching to us. I feel like we’ve been doing a good job out here.”
Another concern is that CSU has yet to name a starting quarterback. Rams coach Jim McElwain’s choices are sophomore Conner Smith, junior Garrett Grayson or true freshman Nick Stevens.
There’s also preparation, simply making sure the Buffs are ready to go. When it comes to longstanding rivalry games, throwing the stats, records and predictions out of the window and seeing who wants it more is what it’s all about.
With that said, the Buffs have to be confident about at least one thing–MacIntyre’s knowledge of CSU. While this particular rivalry may be new for the head coach, the Rams certainly are not. MacIntyre faced CSU three times during his stay with San Jose State, including last year’s 40-20 thumping of the Rams. This bodes well for a CU team that is looking for a reason to be confident going into the 2013 season.
Colorado will be showcasing its brand-new pistol offense system and has been very positive and open all offseason. The biggest thing that the Buffs will take from camp is organization and crisper practices with more progress made than has been seen for quite some time.
Hopefully a new offense, new coach and return of preseason Biletnikoff Award candidate Paul Richardson will add up to a more exciting offense and a more competitive Colorado football team.
The speed and ability to spread the ball around and make more big plays on offense for the Buffs has me believing that the Buffs will win this game in a closer-than-expected 31-27 outcome.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Grayson O’Roark at Grayson.firstname.lastname@example.org.