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June 02, 2020

Betting on the Colorado Buffaloes 2020 Regular Season Win Total

It’s going to be a long season in Boulder so fans of the Colorado Buffaloes might want to visit a dispensary or one of the area’s fine craft breweries before home games.

The Buffaloes are projected to be one of the worst teams in the Pac-12, according to the oddsmakers at SportsBetting.com. After a somewhat promising first season under Mel Tucker, the former Georgia defensive coordinator bailed for East Lansing after Michigan State doubled his salary.

Tucker departed in the middle of February, leaving the program in a bind. Colorado approached Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and CU alum Eric Bieniemy about the vacancy but he declined so the program opted for a retread in former UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell.

Dorrell has been an NFL position coach for all but one year since being fired by UCLA at the end of the 2007 season so there is warranted skepticism regarding his ability to coach and recruit at the collegiate level.

Colorado Buffaloes Season Win Total

Over 3.5 Wins (+150)

Under 3.5 Wins (-170)

Buffaloes Offense

Colorado will be starting a new quarterback in 2020. Three-year starter Steven Montez graduated after throwing for nearly 10,000 yards in his college career, and neither of the signal callers set to take over have any experience.

Sophomore Tyler Lytle threw one pass during the 2019 season, while redshirt freshman Blake Stenstrom threw three passes. Stenstrom entered the transfer portal earlier this year and recently announced that he would be enrolling at Princeton, leaving Lytle and incoming freshman Brendon Lewis to fight for the starting job.

Lytle is a three-star pro-style prospect out of Anaheim, while Lewis is a three-star dual-threat quarterback out of Melissa, Texas. Lewis probably has the edge due to his youth and mobility, but both players have a steep learning curve.

The Buffaloes won’t have Laviska Shenault Jr. or Tony Brown in 2020, depriving the starter of this team’s best two receivers last season. K.D. Nixon is the team’s leading returning receiver, and he will likely be the No. 1 option. However, there are questions about how much of a role he can handle as he is only 5-foot-7.

There is experience at running back, fortunately, as Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham return for Colorado. Fontenot and Mangham combined to rush for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns last season, and they are likely to see a lot of carries this year with a raw quarterback at the helm.

Three starters return along the offensive line, and there is some depth there too. Will Sherman is the best of the bunch and figures to move from guard to tackle, helping shore up the unit.

Colorado Defense

The Buffs surrendered 31.8 PPG in 2019 with a defensive-minded head coach in Tucker, but this side of the ball should improve with another year of experience. Eight starters from last year return, and that is likely to lead to better performances in 2020.

Colorado has two solid defensive ends in Mustafa Johnson and Terrance Lang. The two players combined for 11 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last season, and they were the top two players on the team in the latter category. Former five-star recruit Antonio Alfano could be a major factor as well if he returns to the Buffaloes after being suspended by Dorrell in March.

This defense has plenty of experience at the second level too with linebackers Nate Landman, Akil Jones and Carson Wells leading the way. All three players are upperclassmen that saw plenty of time on the field last season, and Landman led the team with 113 tackles.

Safety is a concern for this defense, so don’t be surprised if one of the cornerbacks makes a move to safety sometime during the offseason. Chris Miller and Mekhi Blackmon were the starters at corner heading into the 2019 campaign, but both players missed the majority of the season due to injury. That led to freshmen K.J. Trujillo and Tarik Luckett seeing significant playing time, and Trujillo in particular looked sharp.

Betting on Colorado Buffaloes 2020 Schedule

There are no gimmes on Colorado’s schedule. The Buffs take on Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown to start the season before facing Fresno State and Texas A&M in their other two non-conference games. They will face every school but California and Oregon State in the Pac-12, and the absence of the latter program hurts as the Beavers have been the worst school in the conference over the last decade.

Prediction

The Buffaloes have finished 5-7 for each of the last three seasons, but it’s unlikely they reach that mark in 2020. They could start the season 2-0 as Colorado State and Fresno State are in the middle of major rebuilds, yet it’s hard to find another game where Colorado will definitely be favored. Dorrell never finished worse than 6-6 during his time at UCLA, but this feels like a 3-9 season.