#90 Colorado Football 2015 Preview

Colorado Buffaloes

Overall Rank: #90
#12 Pac-12

Colorado Team Page#90 Colorado Football 2015 PreviewBuy Colorado Football Tickets

Colorado’s 2-10 season was not quite as bad as it sounds. The Buffaloes played many good teams tight. They lost in double overtime to both UCLA and Cal and were really only blown out in two conference games, at USC and at Oregon. For a team that was extremely young, that does bode well for the future. Still, it is a long way up from 0-9 in Pac-12 play.

2014 Record: 2-10, 0-9
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Mike MacIntyre (6-18 at Colorado, 22-39 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Lindgren
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Leavitt

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Christian Powell, RB, 448 yards
Passing: Sefo Liufau, QB, 3,200 yards
Receiving: Nelson Spruce, WR, 1,198 yards
Tackles: Kenneth Olugbode, LB, 83
Sacks: Derek McCartney, DE, 4.5
Interceptions: Tedric Thompson, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Michael Adkins II, WR Shay Fields, LB Addison Gillam, DB Chidobe Awuzie

Key Losses: RB Tony Jones, WR Tyler McCulloch, K Will Oliver, P Darragh O’Neill, DB Greg Henderson

The offense ranked 37th in the nation in yards per game and Coach Mike MacIntyre hopes to keep improving in that department. Quarterback Sefo Liufau threw for 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2014 and is poised for a big junior campaign. He does need to cut down on his turnovers though if Colorado hopes to turn that offensive production into wins. Senior receiver Nelson Spruce is coming off of a monster season in which he caught 106 passes for 1,198 yards and a dozen touchdowns. With Shay Fields and Bryce Bobo also returning, the opposition will not be able to simply contain Spruce and forget about the rest of the Buffs wide receivers. Concerns on the offensive line and in the backfield could hinder Colorado’s passing game. A couple starters are gone from the line and it remains to be seen if younger players are ready to step up. At running back, Christian Powell once again led the team in rushing, but he was down to 448 yards on 85 carries. Michael Adkins and Phillip Lindsay both rushed for nearly 400 yards as well, but big plays on the ground were hard to come by. Aaron Baltazar, who spent his freshman season with Boise State, will enter the fray and could be the answer at running back.

Colorado ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in rush defense and 11th in total defense and scoring defense. Allowing 39 points per game is not going to lead to many victories. Against conference foes, the lowest point total allowed was 36 against Oregon State. But, to be fair, the Buffs did hold UCLA to 31 points in regulation before allowing a field goal and a touchdown in a couple of overtimes. Yet any way you look at it, the defense must improve. Linebackers Addison Gillam and Kenneth Olugbode are a dynamic duo in the middle of the field, but there is little depth behind them. The front four hopes to build around senior tackle Josh Tupou and sophomore end Derek McCartney. McCartney had a strong freshman campaign, tallying 4.5 sacks. The return of sixth year senior Jered Bell helps a secondary that should again be pretty strong. But they will be tested more often this year if the front four can actually stop the run.  

The Bottom Line:
The Colorado offense will once again be prolific through the air. That does not necessarily mean this group will win any more games though. The difference will come from the turnover margin and the defense. The Buffaloes ranked 112th in the nation with a -0.83 turnover margin. Liufau is to blame for a healthy chunk of that number and he must cut down on his interceptions now that he is an upperclassman. The schedule shakes out decently for Colorado. They start with a trip to Hawaii before playing Umass, Colorado State and Nicholls State. By the end of that run they should be ready to at least compete with their Pac-12 foes. The worst of the Pac-12 (Oregon State and Washington State) are on the road this year and neither Cal nor Washington is on the schedule. It may be another year that ends with three or four wins that is not quite as bad as it looks.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 154.6 (75th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 284.6 (19, 5)
Total Offense: 439.2 (37, 8)
Scoring Offense: 28.5 (64, 10)
Rushing Defense: 204.8 (102, 12)
Pass Defense: 256.2 (100, 5)
Total Defense: 461.0 (111, 11)
Scoring Defense: 39.0 (116, 11)
Turnover Margin: -0.83 (112, 11)
Sacks: 1.83 (86, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (50, 2)


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