By the time you read this article, you’ve probably been watching and betting on college football for nine hours.
But there are still night games to play on the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains, including a monster showdown between Colorado State and Colorado.
Our staff has you covered for late-night Saturday college football programming, including a pick for the aforementioned matchup and a Miner Nation fade-out.
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Colorado State vs. Colorado
By Mike Calabrese
Projected explosions usually have to be read on the tea leaves when it comes to a coach’s motivation. Do you want to increase it or will you settle for a win while he brings out his reserves and makes basic play calls?
In the case of Deion Sanders on Saturday, we know exactly what he wants to do.
For some reason, Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell thought it would be a good idea to touch the bear and call Coach Prime. He noted in an interview that when he talks to “elders” he always takes off his hat and sunglasses.
In response, Deion Sanders was recorded speaking to his team. Sanders set things up by saying, “It was going to be a good game. They made a mess and they made it. . . .”
His team emphatically finished off the sentiment by shouting “Personal!” This team will not suspend the dogs on Saturday night.
But as I like to say, it takes two to tango when betting on an over, and I love Colorado State and its fast pace. The Rams are fourth in plays per minute this season and have one of the best collections of skill position talent at the Group of Five level.
Yes, redshirt freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi is the quarterback, but he has solid upside. A former three-star recruit who received offers from Arizona, Oregon State and Pitt, BFN could surprise against a disappointing Colorado pass defense.
The Buffaloes rank 126th in standard pass success rate and can’t get to the quarterback (99th in sack percentage).
In their first game, Colorado State and Wazzu combined for 74 points. Meanwhile, Colorado is averaging more than 40 points per game.
My numbers indicate that this total is 67, which is why it is my best play of Saturday.
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By Collin Wilson
Colorado’s disadvantage persists; This is a team that loves explosive third downs and defensive chaos. An opponent with a strong secondary and offensive discipline to stay in control will present a challenge for the Buffaloes, but that’s not expected to come from Colorado State.
The Rams earned a 127th coverage grade, according to PFF, ranking 128th in defensive quality drives. Because Colorado does its best work on third and long range, Colorado State must improve a defense that allowed Washington State to record 11 conversions on 17 attempts.
The biggest downside is whether Colorado State can keep up on the offensive side of the ball. Nebraska will struggle all season passing and generating short plays through the air, but TCU dominated the Buffs in passing with a 53% success rate. The Horned Frogs generated at least two first downs on 8 of 12 drives, completing eight passes for 15 yards.
It doesn’t matter if Clay Millen or Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi are under center, getting the ball into space for Tory Horton and Justus Ross-Simmons will be the mission. After two games, Colorado is near last in defensive passing success rate.
The pace of the game is also notable, as every college football investor knows that coordinator Sean Lewis wants Colorado to immolate Kent State’s “Flash Fast” pace. The Buffaloes are one of the fastest teams in the FBS at 24.6 seconds per play, only to be surpassed by Colorado State.
Norvell had quick offensive possessions against Washington State, averaging 21.1 seconds per play.
By Mike Ianniello
I love Miner Nation, but I’m starting to think Dana Dimel just isn’t a good football coach. In his sixth season at UTEP, he is just 18-42.
The Miners went into halftime tied 7-7 against Northwestern last week before blowing the doors off in the second half, being outscored 31-0.
UTEP is terrible at finishing drives and converting on third down, doesn’t catch big plays and doesn’t create any havoc on defense.
These are all things that come back to coaching.
Gavin Hardison is a veteran quarterback, but he regressed last year and is struggling again this season. He has four touchdowns and four interceptions in three games.
On the other hand, Arizona ranks 16th in the country in offensive success rate this season. He also ranks 25th in defense.
The Wildcats are coming off a heartbreaking loss, but they still came to Mississippi State in a hostile environment and took the Bulldogs to overtime.
Not only were they forced to work overtime; They absolutely dominated that game. Arizona outscored Mississippi State 416-268 and had a 50% success rate. Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for 336 yards against an SEC defense. And he’s going to destroy this UTEP team.
Arizona’s defense did a great job stopping the Bulldogs; The problem was that De Laura threw three interceptions. He knows that he cost his team the game last week and I expect a great recovery from him.
UTEP has forced only one rotation this year and is struggling to create Havoc.
Tetairoa McMillan has been fantastic at wide receiver and last year’s receiving leader, Jacob Cowing, is primed for a fantastic game. He is not only a stud catcher, but he is also a former UTEP miner.
He’s going to torch his old team, and if you like prop bets, I’d give him a chance to score in this one.
The Wildcats defense currently leads the country in EPA per game against the run. If the unit is able to take out Deion Hankins and this UTEP running game, and have Hardison throw it a ton, this game could get really ugly.
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