The Colorado football hype train abruptly derailed Saturday afternoon in Eugene, Oregon. The No. 10 Ducks blew past the Buffaloes with ease en route to a 42-6 beatdown. Many will consider this strong evidence that the upstart group is simply not as talented as the upper echelon programs in the country.
Colorado head coach Deion Sanders resoundingly refutes that notion, however. “If we had a talent gap, we wouldn’t be 3-1. No talent gap,” he said, per The Athletic's David Ubben. “We just got our butts kicked. It happens sometimes.”
Inexplicable blowouts do happen, but this result carries more weight because it was the first true test the Buffaloes faced this season. Many argued that reigning national champion runner-up TCU should not have been given a preseason ranking, as it lost several of its top players. Nebraska is going through its own transition and Colorado State was considered a massive underdog.
The red flags popped up last week and fully came to fruition Saturday versus Oregon. A leaky defense was utterly helpless against quarterback Bo Nix. The 23-year-old completed 28-of-33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns (one interception). Conversely, Shedeur Sanders was limited to just 4.8 yards per completion.
There was bound to be a bump or two in the road
Colorado admittedly possesses a roster replete with five-star recruits and noted playmakers (two-way phenom Travis Hunter is sidelined for a few weeks). But if there isn't a talent gap between these two teams, then there is massive one in experience and intangibles. The Buffaloes went 1-11 last year. Oregon has won 10 or more games in three of the last four years. An influx of stardom and confidence is not enough to instantly catapult a losing culture to a top-tier one.
What Deion Sanders has already accomplished deserves its ample due. He and his determined players have thrust the program into national relevance literally over night. There are growing pains to endure, though.
Colorado football will try to learn from this experience, but they are still not going to hold anything back.
“People around the country will say this is what they needed to humble themselves,” Sanders said, per Ubben. “We weren’t arrogant. We’re confident people. Our confidence offends their insecurity.”