2012 Colorado Buffaloes Football Preview
2011 Record: 3-10 (2-7 PAC-12)
Head Coach: Jon Embree, second season (3-10 all at Colorado)
Projected Returning Starters: 14
Spring Game: April 15th
Notes: Coach Embree’s first season was surely one to forget. The Buffaloes started the season 1-2, with a close loss to California, then proceeded to lose their next seven games, following a win over Colorado State. Still, Embree beat rivals Colorado State and Utah in his first year, which surely is not lost on Buffs fans. Colorado struggled to be competitive in many games, with 8 of their losses being by 17 points or more. Colorado enters their second season in the PAC-12, and fans expect the team to be much more competitive.
BVTSB Take: Colorado was hampered by injuries and experience all season. The loss of wide receiver Paul Richardson for games against Stanford, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona State made the Buffs a one-dimensional team – he hauled in five touchdowns in his first five games, including an explosion for 284 receiving yards on 11 catches in a week two loss to California. Colorado will again have to adjust for life without Richardson, as he tore a knee ligament on April 9 and is expected to miss the entire 2012 season. Quarterback Tyler Hansen has graduated and is a member of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Right now, a quarterback battle is underway in Boulder, between Nick Hirschman and Texas transfer Connor Wood. Wood transferred from UT last August and will be eligible to play this fall. Possibly the biggest change will be at running back, as the Buffs lose Rodney Stewart (854 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns) to the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Tony Jones appears to be the favorite to replace Stewart, although Josh Ford has a chance to unseat him. Top receiver Toney Clemons will be playing on Sundays for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Lack of experience at wide receiver will hurt the Buffs – Tony Jones and Keenan Canty are the top returning wide receivers. They combined to catch 41 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Compare that with Clemons numbers – 43 catches for 680 yards and eight touchdowns. Last year, the Buffaloes played four non-conference games – due to the Hawaii exemption – playing at Hawaii, California (a prior scheduled non-conference game), Colorado State at Mile High, and at Ohio State. The Buffaloes were 1-3 in those games. The non-conference schedule is more manageable in 2012, and could produce a 3-0 mark before conference play begins. Colorado opens with Colorado State at Mile High in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The play Sacramento State and travel to Fresno State before opening the conference slate. The Buffs do play Oregon and Stanford this season, which are almost certain to be losses, but they host Washington and head to Washington State which could produce at least one win. With games against Arizona State at home and Arizona on the road, the Buffaloes could be bowl bound in 2012. I’m a bit concerned about their depth at wide receiver, though.
2012 Early Projection: 5-7
To see the 2012 PAC-12 composite schedule, click here.
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