#92 Colorado 2018 Football Preview

Colorado Buffaloes
Overall Rank: #92
#11 Pac-12
 Colorado Logo
Colorado had a rough 2017 season. After beating Colorado State, Texas State and Northern Colorado to begin the season, the Buffaloes only managed to win two Pac-12 games and failed to reach a bowl game. With a trip to Nebraska on September 8th, Colorado will likely need to win four conference games to reach bowl eligibility and that seems like a tall task.
2017 Record: 5-7, 2-7
2017 Bowl: None
Coach: Mike MacIntyre (25-38 at Colorado, 40-59 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Klayton Adams, Darrin Chiaverini
Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Eliot
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Steven Montez, QB, 338 yards
Passing: Steven Montez, QB, 2,975 yards
Receiving: Jay MacIntyre, WR, 396 yards
Tackles: Drew Lewis, LB, 119
Sacks: Drew Lewis, LB, 2.0
Interceptions: Evan Worthington, S, 3
Other Key Returnees: LB Rick Gamboa, DB Trey Udoffia
Key Losses: RB Phillip Lindsay, WR Bryce Bobo, WR Shay Fields, DL Leo Jackson III, LB Derek McCartney, DB Afolabi Laguda, DB Isaiah Oliver
The loss of Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 1,474 yards and 14 touchdowns, is a huge blow to the offense. Lindsay was also very involved in the passing game, catching 23 passes for 257 yards in 2017. The Buffaloes want to pick up the pace of their offense this year. While that sounds well and good, it remains to be seen if they have the weapons to be effective. Travon McMillan, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, hopes to fill the big shoes of Lindsay. Other than McMillan, Colorado lacks experience at running back. At quarterback, Steven Montez returns after throwing for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns during his sophomore season. Montez is an experienced signal caller now and with new starters all over the offense, it will be up to him to lead this team.
The defense was the big problem last year, but there should be some improvement during coordinator D.J. Eliot’s second season leading the unit. The front seven will be led by Drew Lewis, who recorded a team high 119 tackles in 2017. Fellow senior Rick Gamboa added 117 tackles. Those two are solid inside linebackers. With safety Evan Worthington also back for his senior season, Colorado has a few very good pieces to build around. The potential problem is that many of the holes that need filled will likely come from unproven junior college transfers and freshmen.
The Bottom Line:
After their great season in 2016, Colorado took a big step back last year. They will want to prove that they are capable of competing for a South Division title on a regular basis. Getting to six wins would be a good step, but that is a bit of a stretch in 2018 barring a few surprise newcomers who are ready to fill a few major roles.
Projected Bowl: None
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 157.2 (74th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 260.4 (39, 4)
Total Offense: 417.6 (48, 7)
Scoring Offense: 26.4 (81, 11)
Rushing Defense: 208.0 (108, 10)
Pass Defense: 242.6 (94, 9)
Total Defense: 450.6 (109, 9)
Scoring Defense: 28.2 (74, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (64, 7)
Sacks: 1.58 (102, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 3.25 (122, 11)