By guest writer Phil Oscarson
This early in the football season, it’s still difficult to get a clear idea about the strength of any given team. Most of the major conference teams have been playing against lesser competition, making it precarious to pinpoint exactly where the team sits as far as talent is concerned. It’s kind of like doing a 5 Dimes review without ever visiting the website.
The Colorado Buffaloes
After last year’s 4-8 debacle, the Colorado Buffaloes have looked extraordinary so far this year. With a record of 2-0, they have absolutely destroyed the competition, beating Colorado State 44-7 and Idaho St. 56-7. In the process, they have averaged 587.5 YPG to rank #9 in the nation in total offense. With that said, one has to wonder whether or not the Buffaloes really have one of the best offenses in the country.
Upon closer examination, Colorado State might not have been much of an opponent. After getting stuffed by the Buffaloes in its season-opener, they struggled to beat a University of Texas – San Antonio team that finished last year 3-9 in a conference that most experts would agree pales in comparison to all of the major Bowl conferences. As for the Idaho State Bengals, this is a team that finished last year at 2-9 while facing a mixture of Division I and Division II schools. Based on this level of competition, it’s difficult to gauge just how good Colorado might be.
The Michigan Wolverines
The Michigan Wolverines entered this season with high expectations behind Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. With a bevy of returning players from last year’s team that finished 10-3, Michigan started this season ranked #4 in the nation. So how good are they two games into the season?
In its season-opener, Michigan easily dispatched of an over-matched Hawaii Rainbow Warriors team 63-3. With starters only playing in the first half, one gets the feeling the score could have been 100-3. Unfortunately, Hawaii was 3-10 last year and opened this season getting destroyed by the Cal Bears 51-31. They did manage to squeeze out a 5-point victory over Tennessee-Martin last week at home.
Last week, the Wolverines again won easily, this time over the University of Central Florida 51-14. All UCF did last year was finish dead last in the nation with a record of 0-12. They might be a tad bit better this year as they opened the season with a 38-0 win over South Carolina State, not exactly a bastion of football talent. Again, the competition does very little to expose how good Michigan might be.
Colorado Buffaloes (2-0) at Michigan Wolverines (2-0) in Ann Arbor
This is the first game of significance for either of these two teams. Michigan fans with a long memory will certainly remember how Colorado stunned Michigan in 1994 on a “Hail Mary” pass that created the legend of the “Miracle at Michigan.” Could revenge be a factor since this is the first meeting between these two teams in Michigan since 1994?
The Wolverines have a balanced offensive attack led by QB Wilton Speight, who has completed 70% of his passes for 457 yards and 7 TDs while only playing 5 quarters. They also have a real nice running back in Chris Evans, who has 147 yards rushing and 2 TDs with only 17 carries. The defense is currently ranked #11 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just over 8 PPG.
The Buffaloes will counter the top-ranked defense in the nation, giving up a mere 160 YPG. However, the two teams they played are among the worst in the nation on offense. Plus, Michigan is no Idaho State. They are loaded for bear with some of the best “blue chip” players in the nation.
With Michigan having home field advantage, a revenge motive and superior talent, Colorado is going to be hard pressed to stay close enough in this game to get the chance to heave another Hail Mary. Taking everything into consideration, the final score figures to be somewhere around 45-20.