The post Dan Hawkins era for Colorado Buffalo (3-6, 0-5) football begins with a Big 12 North showdown against a decent Iowa State Cyclones (5-5, 3-3) squad. These teams are pretty evenly matched but we don’t know what effect the firing of Hawkins will have on this Buffs squad. It could unify the team to play with a chip on their shoulder or they could just as easily crumble. We’ll all find out on Saturday afternoon in Boulder.
The Buffs will try and erase the memories of the KU game as they square off against an up-and-coming Iowa State team that beat Texas and gave Nebraska everything they could handle. In fact, Iowa States five losses have come against teams currently ranked in the BCS top 25. The Cyclones will deploy a spread offense that favors the run more than the pass with quarterback Austin Arnaud at the helm. He’s a decent quarterback who hasn’t put up great numbers this year (almost 1,900 total yards and involved in 15 tds) but he led the team to a big comeback at Nebraska to force overtime so his impact should not be underestimated. Arnaud will lead a hungry Cyclone squad that needs two wins for bowl eligibility.
No one really knows what philosophy interim head coach Brian Cabral will deploy against the Cyclones but we know Iowa State likes to run the ball; they are 5th in the Big 12 in rushing offense averaging just over 178 yards a game and CU is pretty good against the run (ranked 6th in the conference) allowing 147 yards per game. Colorado will probably continue to throw the ball as they are ranked 6th in the conference in pass offense, but Iowa States is pretty good against the pass as they are ranked 4th in the Big 12 in pass defense. So, it will be strength against strength on Saturday and so it will come down to who wants it more a CU team that wants to prove its better than everyone thinks or an Iowa State team looking for respect and a bowl berth.
The bottom line is Iowa State is playing with more confidence right now than the Buffs and unless CU can put all the distractions of this week in the rearview mirror they are going to get beat… again. This game is a tossup but I’m guessing CU comes out fired up and pulls a mild upset.
The Pick: Colorado 27-Iowa State 20
About the Author
Written by Matthew Stiles