The talk of the entire college football world has been Colorado football. That's mostly due to the program's energetic, unapologetic new head coach, Deion Sanders. Sanders has made the Colorado Buffaloes must-see television. So much so that millions on the East Coast and elsewhere stayed up way past their normal bedtimes last Saturday night to watch the Buffaloes defeat in-state rival Colorado State 43-35 in a thrilling double-overtime finish. Though the Buffaloes secured a narrow victory that night, they lost one of their key players, Travis Hunter, to injury.

Travis Hunter's injury timetable

Shortly after the game, Sanders told reporters in the post-game press conference that there was already a presumed timetable for Hunter's injury. “The first thing I heard is that he would be out for a few weeks,” Sanders said. That's been a bit more revealed now, as it's said that Hunter will at least miss up to three weeks of play.

The injury was said to be a lacerated liver, although it isn't expected to be “terribly serious,” according to Skip Bayless, who detailed the injury on the Monday edition of FS1's Undisputed. Hunter suffered the injury early in Saturday's game against the Rams football team when, after going for a catch near the sideline, Colorado State defensive back Henry Blackburn late hit Hunter, hitting him in the midsection. Hunter actually played later in the game but was eventually taken out and to the hospital.

I don't know about you, but the term “lacerated liver” sounds brutally awful. So, is three weeks really long enough for Hunter to heal? I guess we'll see, but it wouldn't shock me to see Hunter miss more time than that, especially given the workload he takes on as a two-way player. Which then begs the question: Will Hunter continue to play both ways when he does return this season?

Travis Hunter's injury comes at the worst time for Colorado Football

Hunter's injury couldn't have come at a worst time for the Buffaloes. As each week passes, we're starting to see a little more of what exactly this Colorado football team has — for better or worse. We're starting to see their identity as a team, while also seeing what their strengths and weaknesses are. Sanders' greatest advantage within the first couple of weeks was the mystery of his team to his opponents. Having a totally revamped team with virtually all new players, no one knew how to prepare for this year's Colorado team. But now there's tape. And now there's the war of attrition. Now there's one of their most valuable players on the sideline in Hunter.

No one saw Colorado outdoing their win total in three games this season. Of course, that wasn't hard to do with last year's squad only winning one game. But the level of competition Sanders and Colorado have faced hasn't been that of lesser opponents — and it won't be the rest of the season either. The Buffaloes have six remaining ranked opponents left on their schedule, all within the Pac-12 conference. They'll begin with two of the highest-ranked in the conference, 10th-ranked Oregon and 5th-ranked USC the following week. Both will be challenging in their own way, facing two highly rated quarterbacks, one being last year's Heisman winner, USC's Caleb Williams. Colorado will have to travel to Autzen Stadium, one of the tougher venues in the Pac-12, to face Oregon. They'll at least have USC at home.

How does the injury affect Travis Hunter's two-way playing?

Most had already been worried about the amount of playing time that Hunter had already received. Before the Colorado State game, Hunter had played 274 snaps as a cornerback and wide receiver, per ESPN. That's unheard of at virtually any level of football. Surely, that number will decrease with this sort of injury. Being the Shohei Ohtani of college football, Colorado football is essentially losing a key starter on both sides of the ball. How Sanders fixes his workload from here on out will be something to watch when he returns.

Travis Hunter is the catalyst to Colorado Football's success

As noted, Sanders, as a polarizing entertainment figure, has made Colorado football more relevant than they ever have been. He essentially made the entire country stay up and watch a game that went on until 2:30 am Eastern time against a team they were favored to beat by more than three touchdowns. But Travis Hunter is a huge part of why Sanders has been so successful.

Hunter, a former five-star player out of high school and at the time of his recruiting one of the most sought-out recruits in the country, was the first real star player to be flipped by Sanders. And it wasn't as if Sanders flipped to a high-profile school either. Sanders talked him into joining him at an FCS-level HBCU school in Southern Mississippi. Hunter following Sanders to Colorado was no surprise.

While Sanders' son Shedeur is also undoubtedly crucial to the Colorado football team's success this season, as was shown on Saturday night, leading the comeback against Colorado State, Hunter brings a different level of play to the Buffaloes, along with furthering the national media attention. All you really have to do is go back and look at Hunter's brilliant interception against TCU in Colorado's first game for evidence.

Hunter is what Sanders was all those years ago when he was at Florida State. He's the embodiment of what Sanders is looking for in how to rebuild Colorado as not only a team but a brand. Keeping Hunter healthy is multi-faceted for the Buffaloes' success. His appearance is needed for not only wins but brand recognition.