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    Ranking Colorado's Toughest Games For Next College Football Season

    By Scout Springgate,

    19 days ago

    As Deion Sanders enters his second season as the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, the program will certainly be intriguing as the Buffs attempt to sustain their early-season success in 2023 for the 2024 season.

    The Buffaloes program has been under the spotlight during the offseason due to the plethora of transfer portal departures and the criticism Coach Prime and his son Shedeur have poured out at former teammates, which may or may not hinder the program's future potential.

    With the Buffaloes beginning their first year as Big 12 conference members since their departure following the 2010 season, Coach Prime will also be tasked with transitioning Colorado to the new conference while still building on the foundation established in 2023.
    Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders

    John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

    Below are how we rank the toughest opponents for the Buffaloes' 2024 college football season:

    12. Colorado State

    Sept. 14, Fort Collins, CO. (TBD)

    The Buffs beat Colorado State in overtime last year, which was the game in which Travis Hunter suffered a lacerated liver after a more than questionable play. Colorado will be seeking vengeance with another victory over their in-state rival. The talent advantage that the Buffaloes possess on both sides of the ball should allow them to do just that.

    11. Baylor

    Sept. 21, Boulder, CO. (TBD)

    Baylor is an interesting matchup as the Bears are coming off an extremely disappointing 3-9 record in 2023 with head coach Dave Aranda potentially on the way out if the Bears don't improve this year.

    The early season contest will also serve as Colorado's first Big 12 conference game, so the Buffaloes should have a chip on their shoulder to prove they belong (back) in the conference.

    10. Cincinnati

    Oct. 26, Boulder, CO. (TBD)

    The Bearcats come to Boulder following a disastrous 3-9 season in their first year under head coach Scott Satterfield, during which they finished last place in the conference.

    Poor quarterback and secondary play plagued the Bearcats last season, and the Buffaloes should be able to take advantage of those weaknesses, especially with a program still attempting to discover itself under a new coaching regime.

    9. North Dakota State

    Aug. 29, Boulder, CO. (8 p.m. EST, ESPN)

    The Bison serve as the season opener for the Buffaloes, which has been viewed critically by some as a major upset threat. The Bison are considered one of the top-tier FCS programs and have given FBS teams a tough challenge in recent years. The Buffaloes should have enough to get past the Bison, but it could get dicey if they let North Dakota State hang around late.

    8. Nebraska

    Sept. 7. Lincoln, NE. (8:30 p.m. EST, NBC)

    The Cornhuskers pose an interesting matchup. They have added some talent to the program over the offseason. Although they finished last season with a 5-7 record, the program played relatively competitively against Big Ten competition.

    With the game scheduled as a primetime matchup in front of the Cornhuskers' faithful, who seek redemption from last season's 36-14 defeat, the Buffaloes may be in for a battle.

    7. Texas Tech

    Nov. 9. Lubbock, TX. (TBD)

    The Red Raiders will be challenging for the Buffaloes as their defense was the stronger side of the ball last season and could stymie the Colorado offense. The Red Raiders could pose a legitimate threat if their offense can match their defensive skillset.

    6. UCF

    Sept. 28, Orlando, FL. (TBD)

    The Knights are coming off their first year as a power conference member, where the program often jumped out to early leads but allowed too many of those games to slip away. The Knights have the potential pieces in place to be a potent offense, which could cause headaches for the Buffaloes' defensive unit.

    With the Knights' offense averaging better than seven yards per play, it will be pivotal for the Buffaloes to keep plays in front of them to slow down the Knights' attack.

    5. Oklahoma State

    Nov. 29, Boulder, CO. (TBD)

    Mike Gundy's Cowboys return 85 percent of last season's offensive production that guided the Pokes to an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game. Headlined by 2023 Doak Walker Award winner Ollie Gordon II in the backfield, seventh-year quarterback Alan Bowman, and a talented group of receivers, the Cowboys could potentially put a test on the entire defensive unit of Colorado.

    4. Arizona

    Oct. 19, Tuscon, AZ (TBD)

    The Wildcats will be a tough out for the Buffs as the team is coming off a 10-3 record in their final season as part of the PAC 12 and have positive momentum for the program's future, While the Wildcats will need to navigate the attrition of former head coach Jedd Fisch's late-cycle coaching change which saw him take numerous players with him to the Washington Huskies, the Wildcats confidence as a program should translate into 2024.

    3. Kansas

    Nov. 23, Kansas City, MO (TBD)

    Lance Leipold's Jayhawks are finally rounding the corner into a legitimate force with dynamic quarterback Jalon Daniels entering his senior year and a defense that made major improvements in 2023. Based on coach Leipold's resume of building powerhouse programs during his tenures like he did with the Buffalo Bulls and DIII-level UW-Whitewater, the Jayhawks could be a major thorn in the side of the Buffaloes this season.

    As an additional factor, the game will be played in Kansas City's GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium due to Kansas' David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium undergoing season-long renovations.

    2. Kansas State

    Oct. 12, Boulder, CO. (TBD)

    Kansas State will certainly present a problem for the Buffaloes offense as the Wildcats could potentially have one of the best defenses in the conference this season as they return seven starters to the team.

    It will be critical for the Buffaloes to get an early lead and stay on par if they would like to come away with a victory against an experienced Wildcats program.

    1. Utah

    Nov. 16, Boulder, CO. (TBD)

    The Utes come in as the toughest game on the schedule for the Buffs as quarterback Cam Rising returns after missing all of the 2023 season due to injury and they return seven starters to their strong defensive unit.

    With the matchup with the Utes occurring late in the season, they should be running at full power heading into Boulder and provide the biggest test to the progress of Coach Prime's Buffaloes.

    Time will certainly tell whether this list will be reflective of the strength of Colorado's opponents, but at the moment the first-year Big 12 members will have quite the tall task in 2024.

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