Two pretty lopsided wins to start the year for the Buffs, so how good might this Colorado team we're about to see be?
Shash: No idea. They've got a good coach and a good program that's been historically great for a very long time. Right?
Peter Putzel: Colorado hasn't had a winning season in, what, a decade? And they haven't won more than five games in the 2010s. That being said, I did see a little bit of their game against Colorado State to kick off the season, and they looked fast. The Buffs' were speedy and aggressive through every play that I saw, and we all know how speed can sometimes be Michigan's bane. Although I don't think Colorado is going to pose a serious threat, the Wolverines (and fans) probably shouldn't look past them, either.
Zach Travis: I hesitate to say "good", so I'll stick with improving. Colorado hasn't played a Power Five team yet this year, so the big wins can be a little deceiving (Michigan gets a little more credit, as many of its players are already known commodities reaffirming that they are good by beating up on bad competition). The last two wins continue a positive trend for a Colorado team that put up some fight last year, so "improving" may be enough to put a scare into Michigan. If that happens, then we can start talking Colorado Back Y'all.
Tanner Wooten: Maybe bowl eligible? Pretty terrible competition to start the year, so I guess we will see. But, it looks to be headed in the right direction. Would like to see Colorado come back to be a top-25 program, seems like it'd be more fun with the Buffs in contention.
Anthony Broome: I think they're easily the best team that Michigan has seen in non-conference play and a good test for the Wolverines. Every week the talent level has slowly increased on the other sideline and that's good for a talented U-M squad that is still developing, too.
Drew Hallett: It's difficult to tell. On one hand, Colorado has performed very well in its first two games, outscoring the competition, 100-14. On the other hand, that competition has been extremely weak -- Idaho State is about as bad is it gets in FCS -- and it's hard to imagine that the Buffaloes have made such a tremendous leap in one offseason to challenge Michigan after tallying a 10-27 (2-25 Pac-12) record the past three years. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, which is still sizable improvement for the Buffs. Corner Chidobe Awuzie can ball, leading what should be a strong secondary, and dual-threat quarterback Sefo Liufau seems to be coming into his own as a senior. It's the latter that may worry Michigan fans because uptempo spread offenses have mitigated Michigan's vast talent gap in the past. But the Buffs still are lacking in other areas. Their running backs are not elusive. Their defensive line, for the most part, lacks the necessary size to be disruptive. And their linebackers struggle to get off blocks and make plays. This is probably a six-win team in search for its first bowl game since 2007.
Michigan is still a clear favorite though, so what are you hoping they work on as we head to the Big Ten season?
PP: I want to see better and more consistent rushing from the offense, better QB containment on defense, and less slop overall. There were some missed opportunities in the first two areas last week, and the 3rd quarter seemed to get mired in sloppy play for both teams. That may not kill a team in the first couple weeks of the season, but it sure as hell isn't going to help as the season wears on.
ZT: Did everyone else say running the ball? I feel like everyone else is going to say "running the ball". Out of respect for Kyle Kalis, I'll hold my panic. Just keep making me bored by the middle of the second quarter because the other team is behind multiple scores and is perfecting the "three-and-out" dance: which dance's main objective is "not getting eaten by Ryan Glasgow for three plays so we can return to the bench safely".
Shash: I'd like to see a more balanced attack. And a more diligent approach to keeping contain on long runs and forcing guys to run into the meat of the defense.
KB: Speight threw a lovely deep pass to Amara Darboh for a touchdown against UCF. I don’t want Wilton to shy away from hurling one downfield as the season goes on, because both of his wideouts are fast enough to get open regularly.
TW: The run game and shoring up some alignment issues on defense. I am not too worried about the run blocking as I think they were being very vanilla, but being able to impose their will on Colorado would be fun. I think the defense will be fine, but just showing the ability to learn from mistakes will be nice to see, and I think Don Brown will do just that.
AB: Despite UCF stacking the box last week, it'd be nice to see the run game rebound in a big way this week. Michigan is going to have to control clock and grind out some of these games in-conference. I have no doubt the coaching staff can find ways to mask any deficiencies they may have, but this is a manball program and it would be encouraging to get a manball rushing attack going.
DH: For the matchup against Colorado, Michigan's defense needs to be prepared for a blitzkrieg and get in position quickly, contain the edges, and remain in its pass-rushing lanes (or Sefo Liufau will capitalize). For the rest of the season, Michigan needs to continue to improve its run blocking and find a permanent solution for the left-guard issue. Unless Colorado crowds the line of scrimmage, Michigan's offensive line should blow back the Buffaloes' defensive front, resulting in lots of rushing yards for DeVeon Smith and Chris Evans. If Michigan is unable, Wilton Speight's arm may be more important to Michigan's success than we realized.
Colorado did tried their darndest to irritate Jim Harbaugh. What's the least-painful outcome for them on Saturday?
PP: What Colorado did was relatively humorous, but not uproariously funny. I get it; they wanted to tweak Harbaugh. It just isn't going to translate to anything meaningful on the field. The Buffs are going to lose, but they'll get their shots in--Michigan wins 42-13.
ZT: Harbaugh don't care. He was going to coach this game the same way whether they said nothing or plastered their social media pages with Harbaugh-booger-eating photoshops. That's why we love him, and that's why he is such a good coach.
TW: 31-17 with a couple scores in garbage time. I really can't see a scenario where Michigan doesn't win by 2+ scores.
KB: Oh, Colorado. You brought a spoon to a knife fight with the guy who keeps a spare flamethrower under his hat. Buffalo burgers, anyone?
AB: They will come close to covering the spread, perhaps not close enough, though.
DH: The least painful for Colorado? Winning would do the trick.
A few notable games on the college football slate, so which of these pique your interest?
PP: Ohio State at Oklahoma.
KB: I’ll keep an eye on MSU-Notre Dame because I still don’t know what the Spartans have this year. ND can bid farewell to any slim playoff dream if they drop another game to a ranked team in September, even though Texas was outside the rankings when that game happened.
ZT: Florida State at Louisville
AB: Ohio State-Oklahoma
Overtime Q: When Colorado pulled off the Miracle at Michigan in '94, their coach was one Bill McCartney -- who can identify his connection to Michigan?
PP: I believe he was the first high school coach Bo ever hired, but I'm too lazy to verify that right now, even though I'm on the internet.
Shash: And he coached under Bo! I just guess this for every one of these questions.
TW: I type this as I'm home sick watching the 30 for 30 on Coach Mac. Obviously, a Michigan assistant under Bo and worked with Jack Harbaugh in the 70s and 80s. I think McCartney was a very good coach and a good man, so it would be cool to see Michigan honor in some way on Saturday.
AB: All I know is that he had the best cereal.
DH: And he is the man who got Jim Harbaugh "all jacked up" on cereal.
KB: You’re all on the money. And when the Buffs won in ‘94, I missed a chance to attend that game because I didn’t have a ticket and had to watch on our tiny bedroom television while my Dad and brother experienced the horror firsthand.
A brief fact about McCartney: he was really good at coaching high school ball, and was in fact the only high school coach to ever ascend to Schembechler’s staff. Coach Mac was 30-5 over three seasons at Dearborn’s Divine Child High. It would be a class move if Michigan acknowledged McCartney’s great career, as he is in declining health these days, suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Bonus question: What're ya drinking before and after Michigan's game?
PP: Water for me. I'm taking my youngest daughter (6 years old) to her first Michigan game, so I need to be on my best behavior...and I'm totally cool with it.
Shash: YES. Thank you. Colorado has some wonderful breweries, especially in Boulder. Avery in particular has some great stuff. This week I'm going douchey with a tequila barrel sour from them and mainstream with their excellent Ellie's Brown Ale.
TW: Probably a lot of cheap beer before hand, then I'll switch to hard liquor after. Saturdays are for the boys, baby.
AB: I'll take a bottle of anything and a glazed doughnut...to go.
KB: I’m starting to see Octoberfest/Pumpkin ales already, which means college football season is moving too quickly, but I will gladly drink them.
DH: I'll be at an all-day training and unable to watch Michigan-Colorado live, so nothing but high-quality H2O.