Colorado Buffalos (0-0) -11.5, O/U 57 vs. Colorado State (0-0) +11.5, O/U 57 Sunday 7:30 PM EST August 31 at INVESCO Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado (76,125)
By Wilson of Predictem.com
The battle for bragging rights in the state of Colorado will begin this Sunday evening in Denver as two of the state’s most recognizable schools go head to head. There is only one other college game on Sunday, so the Buffalos and Rams may get some added attention throughout the country.
Colorado won last years matchup in overtime 31-28, and with the current point spread in the Buffalos favor at 11.5 they may just put the Rams away a little easier this year. The Rams only have 9 returning starters with just four coming back on defense. Meanwhile, Colorado has 14 returning starters- eight of those are on defense, and six of them are seniors.
Colorado went 6-7 (4-4) 6-6 ATS last year in the big 12 before sneaking into a bowl game vs. Alabama. The Tide beat the Buffalos 30-24 in the Independence Bowl. On the other side, Colorado State went 3-9 (2-6) 4-7 ATS in the Mountain West.
The Rams have major holes at quarterback, cornerback and defensive end. First year coach Steve Fairchild, who spent the previous seven years as an offensive coordinator in the NFL will certainly have an arsenal of approaches that he will piece together in order to re-build a once solid program.
The good news for the Rams is they do have depth at the running back in seniors Gartrell Johnson and Kyle Bell along with a strong offensive line. The defense might be a bit stronger this year with senior leadership in defensive sack leader Tommie Hill at end, and tackle Matt Rupp.
The Buffalos will be tough this season as they incorporated a faster paced offense which uses fewer huddles and gets to the line in a hurry. This type of strategy has worked for other programs and the coaching staff thinks it will help their team as well.
Last year’s final total was 59 while this year O/U is at 57, which may be right on considering the two team’s challenges on either side of the ball. Most books have a similar total and spread with the Station’s out of Vegas allowing a half point more in favor of the Buffalos.
Look for Colorado QB Cody Hawkins to possibly make a difference in this game as he is the teams passing with 3,015 yards and 22 touchdowns. While defensively, senior Daniel Dykes has 83 tackles with 60 of those being solo.
The Rams leader is in the back field; Gartrell Johnson who has 181 carries for 957 yards and 6 TDs. Defensively, senior MLB Jeff Horinek has 94 tackles, 46 solo.
Wilson’s Take: I have to lean towards Colorado in this game straight up based on their numbers of returning starters and over all strength by position. The Rams may cover the spread as they do have some solid linebacker and d-line play. The O/U could be a little higher for my typical under wager. The Buffalos were 8-5 over the total last season while the Rams were 7-3 over the total. Hey, anything can happen! Luck to ya.