Colorado was so close to a momentous victory over Texas A&M Aggies. It would have been the Buffs ’first win in the top five since beating Oklahoma in 2007, but the offense erupted and the Aggies ended up getting the inevitable touchdown. It’s a shame the Buffs don’t have a resume on the curriculum (and a welcoming Top 25 ranking on Monday), but we can still draw positive lessons.
1. This Colorado defense looks elite
During the first 28 minutes of this game, the Aggies had a total of 22 yards and zero (0) first downs. The fans are so solid in the lead: Jalen Sami controls the fight line, Terrance Lang penetrates, Nate Landman clears the mess, they could be resilient without having to compromise too much. A&M has the talent and the prowess to dominate the ground, but they had nothing in the early hours.
Zach Calzada looked scary (at least until the last two units) and missed all sorts of easy shots. Going in as an injury replacement is hard, but Chris Wilson’s defense didn’t make things easy, and it’s not as if Haynes King had gone through it more easily before his injury. The additional merit here should be for the step race, as well as Christian González, Mekhi Blackmon and Nigel Bethel in what could be a good defensive field.
Although Colorado eventually conceded the winning touchdown (on a hard drive that required bold escapes, difficult catches, and a great Calzada throw to get the final result), the Buffs did everything they could to win this one. party. The 10 points awarded to a national title candidate are cursed. Imagine what they will do against Cal and Oregon State.
2. There are reasons to believe in the offense, at least in the first half
Darrin Chiaverini has struggled with this offense. He’s an air attack coach who has trouble planning easy shots for his freshman quarterback. It can be predictable in the rhythms of its playback, it doesn’t adjust quickly when Plan A stops working and it can become too pretty when things change.
But even then, despite all this criticism, the offense seems moderately decent when Chiv has a full week to prepare for the first units of the game. These bar races set up game action passes, the center of the field opens, and the fast pace keeps the attack on pace. . . and all is well before the opponent’s defensive coordinator grabs and makes some adjustments to blow up the whole game plan.
Colorado will win some games with their offense in the first half. There will be a game or two when they add 21 quick points, the defense has a few stops and the Buffs can only run the ball the entire second half. There will be more than a couple of games in which Jarek Broussard loses gear, regardless of calls or defensive adjustments, because he’s just too good.
3. Anyone can win the Pac-12 South (except Arizona)
Most of us assumed USC would be the southern division class, but they are a complete disaster and we just fired Clay Helton in week 2 (bad news for Pac-12). UCLA might be good, but it could be the most unreliable program in the country. The state of Arizona is good, but they look forward to the NCAA throwing the hammer in the middle of its coaching staff. Utah will be good, most likely, but right now it’s being scolded. Arizona could be the worst college football team.
If things don’t work out well and UCLA does its usual UCLA bit, the Pac-12 South will be open. Fans need a lot of work on offense may be a certain wake-up call that has taken three years, but the right night could beat anyone on the Pac-12 except Oregon. An elite defense gives you chances in games you shouldn’t be in, even against top-tier teams like Texas A&M, and gives you a margin of error against smaller teams. Also, maybe the offense improves a bit if Brendon Lewis settles into the QB position.