This past weekend saw the emergence of a Colorado Buffalo
team that has all the makings for future success. Their 42-35
victory over a strong, mature Colorado State team is proof
that they are finally back. It has been quite a while since
we felt the Buffaloes had any shot at challenging for their
conference, and this year surely won't be a Big 12 crown for
CU. But as long as Joel Klatt is their field general, this
squad will offensively improve and assuredly be on par with
the rest of the Big 12 powerhouses for scoring capability.
look back at these offensive bright spots, though, we must
also realize how far the defense has to come to be on par
with the other side of the ball. Giving up 585 yards is not
going to get any team to that next level. Oh, shootouts may
be won with such a porous stopping unit. But most major programs
will literally have much bigger teams than the Rams, so the
defensive abilities we prescribe for CU's future are a must.
about these numbers: 2002 saw CU allowing 170 ground-yards-per-game,
but CSU got 246 last weekend; their 195 passing-yards-per-tilt
in 2002 ranked the Buffaloes 34th for all I-A, but this number
was eclipsed with the Ram's 339. They did hold CSU's sharp
QB Bradlee Van Pelt to under 50%, but he got those yards on
40 attempts for an 8.5-yards average per pass (not per completion).
Think of what Kansas State and Oklahoma will do, let alone
the Mizzu and Florida State offenses, if the team doesn't
tighten that D.
offensive weapons seemingly were broken until Klatt arrived
as the starter. Last year was a fluke of sorts - head coach
Gary Barnett's orchestration of so many marginal elements
spoke more of his abilities as the team's glue than the players'
determination(s) (talent was there, but not nearly self-fulfilled).
The sophomore Klatt has taken a leadership role many outside
the program didn't see going into the CSU game. Most, including
myself, were so used to the Buffaloes' recent sputters that
this level of unity took us by surprise. But be fooled no
more - this clear-headed signal-caller has the physical and
mental tools for success, at any level. He has that steady,
assured swagger that doesn't offend, yet cannot be taught
or missed. If he doesn't beat one of his conferences' big
three (K-State, Nebraska, Oklahoma), I will be surprised.
not cover many spreads, but the Colorado Buffaloes will play
competitively against all in 2003. They have to, as we here
at NationalChamps.net rank the CU schedule the nations' fourth
hardest for this campaign. Realize this now, though - just
because they're only the sixth- or seventh-best Big 12 team
doesn't preclude them from landing in many Top 25s by year's
end. And if the defensive coaches can herd that back-seven
to play as one
2004's results for any disbelievers.