On the strength of Steven Montez‘ right arm, Laviska Shenault Jr.‘s magic hands and an opportunistic defense, Colorado Football is 5-0 and 19th in the AP poll.
A small trivia bit: Colorado Football is the only 5-0 team in the PAC-12, currently. Even mighty Washington lost to Auburn to open the season. Still, the Huskies are ranked seventh and sit atop the North division while the undefeated and South division leading Buffaloes rank 19th.
It’s been one of those seasons for Colorado, similar to the 2016 campaign, where the feeling is that we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. They haven’t played top competition, they haven’t won by large enough margins, all the familiar song-and-dance that teams outside the SEC or top-level Big 10 have to endure.
Two men traveling from Milwaukee to Denver to watch the Brewers clinch the NLDS commented that they didn’t know who Steven Montez or Laviska Shenault, Jr. were. Professed, die-hard Wisconsin Badger fans, they had little information or awareness of the PAC-12 beyond the fact that Washington is a top-10 team.
So it goes for the Buffaloes and coach Mike McIntyre, regionally, the Rockies, Avalanche and Nuggets struggle to garner support, by the time it gets down to Colorado and Colorado State, there’s little left, save alumni, to populate fan bases. The Buffs and Rams are not without their responsibility, Colorado football has been so bad at times in the last decade that some had suggested ending the football program altogether.
While that step is extreme, it does illustrate both how fickle Colorado sports fans can be and as previously mentioned, how bad the football team had become.
This season feels different than even last, when the Buffaloes started out 3-0 before a dismal PAC-12 showing and limping to a 5-7 season record.
McIntyre is in year two of a roster that’s fully his. He’s avoided the landmines associated with having his son on the team, something Dan Hawkins was unable to accomplish, He also has a trio of award-level studs in Montez, Shenault, Jr. and middle linebacker Nate Landman (though Saturday belonged to Senior Drew Lewis). The three have maintained a superior level of play for five games, now, it’s hard to imagine that will dissipate.
Of course, there are always factors, weather and stiffer competition can derail a team that’s struggled to remain relevant in the Conference but these Buffaloes seem to have a different feel. Colorado should have the talent and confidence to get to the October 20th game at Washington undefeated, from there, the sky is truly the limit.