Pac-12 play is starting, and there couldn't be better news for people who can't stand a PowerFive team playing Weber State and New Mexico. Colorado isn't exactly the pride of the Pac-12, but playing games in conference is just more entertaining football.
That's our opinion on it. Let's see what Colorado thinks, and Jack Barsch from fellow SB Nation site Ralphie Report was nice enough to join us and talk about this Saturday's conference opener.
House of Sparky: Last year for this game, Arizona State fans heard about Paul Richardson. Who's the player to watch in this year's game?
Jack Barsch: P-Rich was the offense last year, and his high draft pick status confirmed that. However, Colorado has not yet felt the sting of loss that so many of us predicted. Nelson Spruce has taken the wide receiver one role and quite literally ran with it. He is leading the Pac-12 in touchdowns and yards and is the security blanket our young quarterback needs. Watch him to toy with the defensive backs of Arizona State like he has with the previous two opponents.
Bonus answer, on defense, keep an eye out for Tedric Thompson. Now he's not our biggest name in the defense or even on the secondary, but in this young season he's had a big impact for the hapless (on defense) Buffs. He plays hard and hits harder.
HOS: Which unit has proven to be better- offense or defense?
JB: *sigh* this defense was supposed to take the next step. This defense was supposed to challenge for a spot in the top half of the Pac. This defense, for the first time in a while, gave us hope. How quickly dreams get shattered. Through two weeks, our defense looks more like a middling defense in Division II than the Pac-12. By default, this goes to the offense, though they do deserve some credit for moving the ball well last Saturday. Even with leaving 17 points on the field like Coach Mac said, they put up 41 points and almost 500 yards. The main point is, our defense has been drastically disappointing.
HOS: Does the start of Pac-12 play signal a good thing or bad thing for the Buffaloes?
JB: I would say bad in terms of win-loss probability, good in terms of testing. Right now, Colorado looks like a two-win team, as sad as that sounds. Both of our wins will be from out of conference it seems, and unless we surprise some people, we will be in the bottom of the conference again. However, this team is extremely young, especially on defense. The more experience against Pac-12, the better, and as the Buffs grow into a battle-tested team, so will the expectations.
HOS: Conference games are never a lock, and especially not on the road. Why should Arizona State fans be nervous about going to Boulder?
JB: Honestly, the biggest reason to worry is that you guys dropped six third games (of the season) in a row. But, if the fans show up, and the defense drastically improves, there's a chance for the Buffs.
HOS: What's your prediction for a final score?
JB: I think the Sun Devils win handily. The line is criminally low at about 15. The Buffs will put up a fight in the 1st quarter, but this is in hand by halftime, methinks. I'll say Arizona State 37, Colorado 20.