The world still spins even after forty years of college football. without Alabama in the AP top 10 First time since 2015 

First Quarter: Things are getting tougher

The Colorado Experience (Part 1) It has been a doozy the past three weeks. The phenomenon has grown with every victory, each highlight and side story. Upsetting TCU. dominating Nebraska The rallying of the people to beat Colorado State—it’s been a ride. From receipts to Miss Peggy to sunglasses and hats to The Rock and Lil’ Wayne to Sanders children power rankings to a 98-yard drive just before midnight Mountain Time, the 3–0 Buffaloes have been mesmerizing. And polarizing—although anyone who isn’t enjoying the Colorado Show should reflect on their own motivations.

We knew Deion Sanders (2) Colorado was a fascinating destination, but the public’s interest and entertainment value quickly exceeded expectations. Millions of people stay up until 2 am to watch the Colorado State vs. Colorado game. You know you’ve entered a new era when millions of people are staying up until 2 am ET to see the Colorado State-Colorado game end. When 60 Minutes The biggest sports story this fall is the one about the campers in Boulder.

Sanders now holds a 30–6 career record over his three-plus years as an NCAA head coach.

David Zalubowski/AP

The next two weeks will be even more difficult, as you’ll have to travel to Oregon Saturday, a visit by USC On Sept. 30, The Buffaloes will be facing a tougher competition, higher stakes, a more crowded bandwagon, and heightened scrutiny. Here’s what’s on the line:

Pac-12 and College Football Playoff Competition (3). Colorado is a 21 point underdog against No. The Ducks are a 10-point underdog, which is a large number for a team that has never lost. However, it’s not an unreasonable spread. The Buffs, who will be playing at home against the No. 5 Trojans. Sanders said that Colorado did not want to enter these games without its two-way starting Travis Hunter who was injured following a flagrant, cheap shot. that likely would be the case.

If the Buffs lose both, well, it’s been a fun party. They’ll be out of the playoff picture as well as likely out of conference championship contention. The team that had an over/under of 3.5 wins could still strive to win 6 or more games for the first year since 2016.

Hey, it’s still possible if they split these two games. The Buffaloes would have a win over a top-10 opponent and two nonconference victories over Power Five teams, the building blocks of a quality résumé. And in a league where everyone may lose at least once due to the quality of the top eight teams, one defeat isn’t a disqualifier.

What if they sweep Oregon, and USC? Lord, help us. Sanders is on track to get votes in both the Iowa caucuses as well as New Hampshire’s primary.

The guess here is that Colorado goes 0–2. The Buffs are 129th nationally in rushing (61 yards per game) and in yards per carry (1.99), which is requiring Sanders to be superhuman (he’s up to the task so far, but likely not forever). They’re 125th defensively in yards allowed. This is a rebuild that’s way ahead of schedule, but far from a finished product.

Heisman Trophy contention (4). There will be some exciting head-to-head matches between Heisman candidates. First it’s Shedeur Sanders vs. Bo Nix and then it’s Sanders vs. the 2022 winner, Caleb Williams. Sanders is second in passing yards for a game, and is 16th overall in efficiency. Nix is 12th. Williams is first and 16th.

They might all be chasing Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. at the moment, but the best way to catch him is to play well in big games. Here are the opportunities.

Sanders delivered the type of Heisman Moment which can be remembered when he led Colorado to a do or die 98 yard march on Saturday for a touchdown with a two point conversion, forcing overtime and tying the game. Sanders produced 106 yard on the drive. This made up for Colorado penalties. In overtime, he made up for a cheap shot and a personal foul by throwing the winning touchdown. He is a real player, and his draft standing is soaring.

Sanders’s coaching future (5). Sanders was asked to comment on the economic impact that his arrival had in the community after Nebraska’s win. He answered with a short quip that might have been revealing: “We’re going to measure the impact we have on Boulder,” he said with a laugh and a sidelong glance at his agent, Constance Schwartz-Morini. “That’s business. We’re going to measure it.”

Sanders’s contract with Colorado calls for a meeting after the 2025 season to discuss an extension. If the Buffs continue to have a good start, this could happen sooner. He’s making $5.5 million this year, but theoretically that could escalate substantially — especially if the Buffs somehow make it to 5–0 or even 4–1.

Beware the mid-first-season contract extension—former Notre Dame Kevin White, athletic director of the Fighting Irish, will tell you exactly what happened when Charlie Weis almost defeated USC back in 2005. It is better to wait for the cake to bake. But it seems highly likely that other schools will gauge Sanders’s interest in leaving Boulder.

The guess here is that he isn’t sitting around waiting for an SEC gig; he wants to coach his kids and Colorado has given him the chance to do that at a high level. But if you don’t think he’d listen and leverage any potential suitors with the Buffalo brass, you haven’t paid attention to college football over the last 20 years.

America’s Team status, and burden (6). Colorado has embraced the spotlight and amplify it. This start has been a massive recruiting boon—Bryce Underwood, the top-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2025 and No. Boulder hosted the game on Saturday night. But the Buffaloes’ brashness has eliminated the element of surprise, stoked opponents’ ardor and put a bullseye on a program that might not yet be sturdy enough to carry it.

Put another way: Oregon might be favored by 21 Saturday, but the Ducks will absolutely be revved up for the opportunity to put Coach Prime & Co. in their place. In a league that has become very competitive, an overnight glamour program will have a lot of expectations to meet.

Four for the Playoff

Every week, The Dash will brackets the College Football Playoff just as if it were Selection Sunday. With three weeks of evidence, the picture slowly taking shape—and will be much more in focus after the upcoming blockbuster slate of games.

Every week, The Dash will brackets the College Football Playoff just as if it were Selection Sunday. With three weeks of evidence, the picture is slowly taking shape—and will be much more in focus after the upcoming blockbuster slate of games.

Washington’s Penix leads the nation in passing yardage (1,332) and has guided a Huskies offense that ranks eighth in scoring (46.7 points per game).

David Zalubowski/AP

Rose Bowl: Top seed Washington (7) Fourth seed Florida State (8).

The Huskies (3–0) added to the disaster at Michigan State by strafing the Spartans for 35 first-half points in a 41–7 rout. The Washington Passing attack is devastating. Leading the nation in yards/game at 493, and ranking second for yards/attempt at 12.2. The defense is improving, with only 12 points allowed per game. They have also intercepted four passes. Washington’s next challenge: California.

The Seminoles (3–0) did their best to blow it against meager Boston College On Saturday, the Eagles trailed early and almost gave up a large advantage late. If the Eagles hadn’t self-destructed with a school-record 18 penalties, Florida State Most likely, it would have been one of the worst losses in its recent history. But Jordan Travis shook off a first-half injury and the ‘Noles dominated the second and third quarters to escape Chestnut Hill with a win. Florida State’s next game is at Clemson In a major ACC showdown.

Sugar Bowl: Second seed Utah (9) Third seed Texas (10).

The Utes (3–0) gained more in the comparative results department than anything earned in a ho-hum win over Weber State. Their dominant victory over Florida Looks stronger now that Gators have takendown TennesseeUtah hasn’t yet allowed an opponent to compile 350 yards of offense or 14 points. Utah’s next game is against: UCLA A spirited Pac-12 battle.

The Longhorns (3–0) experienced the opposite effect of what Utah got—their signature victory, over Alabama, was devalued by the Crimson Tide’s miserable showing in a 17–3 slog over South Florida. The Horns were tied at 10 with Wyoming heading into the fourth quarter and opened up from there, finally getting over their ‘Bama hangover. Texas’ next game is at Baylor The Big 12 will be playing its final season.

Dropped out: Colorado, Notre Dame.

Also Considered: Notre Dame Ohio State, Colorado, Fresno StateDuke, Oregon, North CarolinaIowaGeorgia, USC.

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