The expectations for the 2020 CU Buffs football season are not very high from the outside looking in. Now that the Pac-12 has decided to play a conference-only schedule, the Buffaloes may not be talked about as a legitimate contender. However, there are reasons to think that the Buffaloes may be able to be competitive in a Pac-12 only schedule.
First Four Games of 2020 Season a Tough Outlook In Dorrell’s First Year As CU Buffs Coach
There are teams within the Pac-12 that the Buffaloes simply do not have as much talent as. The Colorado Buffaloes have to open up the season on the road against Oregon on September 26. It is not a stretch to say the Ducks are the best team in the conference. The Buffaloes had arguably their most impressive win of the past decade at Autzen Stadium in 2016 but have generally struggled against the Ducks.
This game was originally scheduled in Boulder for the 2020 season, but the conference decided to switch the venue. As a fan, this is frustrating from the standpoint that the Buffaloes had to play in Eugene last year also. The Buffaloes lost that game, 45-3. If there are no future schedule changes due to the schedule changes this season, the Buffaloes will be in year two of a three-year stretch where they have to play AT Oregon every season.
After playing Oregon, the Buffs will have their home opener against their natural conference rival, the Utah Utes. Utah also made the Pac-12 championship. After playing the Utes, CU will have to travel on the road against Arizona and USC. An optimistic Buffaloes fan may have the team at 2-2 after these games, but CU was not given any favors for their first four games. The Buffaloes most assuredly will not be favored in any of these games. It is very frustrating that the team has to start the season playing against the best teams in the conference. They could possibly be starting a freshman quarterback in Brendon Lewis. Colorado will be forced to find their best football very early in the season if they want to win any games.
CU Buffs’ 2020 Season Becomes Somewhat Easier After Bye Week
The Buffaloes will face Arizona State at home after their bye week on October 31. Recently, the Buffaloes have had their best games against the Sun Devils. In 2018, CU beat ASU 28-21 to improve to 5-0. Last season, the Buffaloes had possibly their best win of Mel Tucker’s one-year tenure in Boulder as they won on the road against the Sun Devils 34-31. Having more time to prepare for this game, along with the confidence of playing a team they know they can beat, should help the Buffs in this game.
The second half of the season for the Buffaloes also includes road trips against Washington and Stanford, and home tilts against UCLA, Oregon State, and Washington State to close out the season. The Buffaloes went 2-2 against these teams last season, as they had home wins against the Huskies and Cardinal in November. The Buffaloes should be able to compete in their home games even though they may not be favored in them. It may not be a stretch to say that the Buffaloes will be able to win the majority of the last six games on their schedule. Having road games against Washington and Stanford is tough, but the team will also have the confidence boost of having beat both those teams in 2019.
Getting to .500 May Be a Stretch for the 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season, But It Could Be Done
From the outsider’s perspective, Colorado is not on any national radar this season. However, the confidence gained from how the team played down the stretch last season may help them in being able to be competitive early in the season. The Buffaloes will probably have to win one of their first four games to have a realistic shot at getting to .500 this season. Out of all the early games, the most winnable game for them in the early going is probably the road game against Arizona, even though Khalil Tate has posed major problems for the Buffaloes the past few seasons. It will be interesting to see how Karl Dorrell’s footprint on the team affects how they compete against the top teams in the conference early in the season. Even though having a winning record may not be in the cards for the Buffaloes this season, they should be able to build a strong foundation for Dorrell to help this team possibly achieve winning seasons in 2021 and beyond.