2023 College and Pro Football Outlook

High Hopes for Turn-Around from Broncos and Buffs

Trevor Phipps

Finally, my favorite time of year has almost officially arrived.

Don’t get me wrong I like spending time outdoors on the nice summer days, and I am not necessarily talking about the fall season.

Actually, my favorite time of the year is football season. With high school pigskin action commencing last week, that means there is more to come.

I cannot wait until my weekends are filled with high school football on Friday nights, college on Saturdays and then the NFL on Sundays. And this year there actually is quite a bit to look forward to when it comes to Colorado football.

So, for this week, I decided to provide an outlook on the best teams to spend your time watching when the weather starts to cool down in the next few weeks. The following are some highlights from the off-season and predictions from yours truly that probably shouldn’t be used for any type of betting.

Denver Broncos

During most of the summer, sports commentators have lauded the Broncos and many have already been talking about playoffs. With the addition of Head Coach Sean Payton, it seems as if he has set expectations high (perhaps too high).

Many fans and sports writers have been saying (or maybe just hoping) that Payton will bring what it takes to turn Quarterback Russell Wilson and the Broncos’ offense around to a deadly force that puts up high scores. But, personally I’m not too convinced that this will be the case.

During the pre-season the offense has not looked that stellar. In the match against the San Francisco 49ers, the Broncos looked rather weak after suffering another loss by a single point.

Russell Wilson did have a decent run and played alright during the one possession he had in real game time.  But the Broncos defense also seemed to struggle a little. Many are worried how they will do once the season gets underway.

First Game: September 10 at Home Vs. Las Vegas Raiders 2:25 p.m.

Season Prediction: Broncos go 8-9 and just miss a playoff spot.

Colorado Buffaloes

If there is one Colorado team that has seen itself in multiple national headlines lately it isn’t the Broncos, but the Buffs. After the Buffaloes had one of their worst seasons on the books by finishing 1-11 and securing the bottom of the barrel position in the PAC 12 by two games, the school decided it was time for a drastic change.

And change is what they got. The university’s big move was to hire former NFL star Deion “Prime Time” Sanders as their head coach.

As soon as Sanders took the reins, he started depleting the Buffs’ roster and adding players he hand-picked. The team will have brand new starters with almost none returning.

Sanders has also added a new attitude to the team’s culture. He made headlines recently when he yelled at his team after some players walked away from a fight during practice. “If one fights, we all fight,” Sanders yelled. “You understand that? I don’t want to see you all walking off when somebody’s fighting. Never again!”

But even though many are optimistic about the new team and new coach, CU’s schedule also got much harder this year. In fact, their first game will be a true test when they hit the road to take on TCU which already carries a Number 17 rank before the season has even started.

I think that the Buffs will definitely improve, but probably not as much as diehard CU fans would like to see. The Buffs will struggle a little with their tougher schedule, but still win more games than last year.

First Game: September 2 at TCU 10 a.m.

Season Prediction: 6-6 and they just miss a bowl game

Air Force Falcons

Last year, Air Force by far won the title for the best pigskin team in the state. They finished fourth in the MW Mountain Division with their 9-3 record and then won in the Armed Forces Bowl against Baylor 30-15.

This year though, things could be a little different. Earlier this month, the team had still not decided on who would be playing quarterback just weeks before their first game.

Their three-year starting QB and two time bowl game MVP Haaziq Daniels left the team at the end of last year. During practice, seniors Jensen Jones, Ben Brittain and Zac Larrier have all been taking snaps.

But on a more positive note, the falcons schedule does not look very tough this year. Probably their biggest matches will be when they play tough teams in their division like Wyoming and Boise State.

First Game: September 2 at home vs. Robert Morris 11 a.m.

Season Prediction: 7-5 and they make it to a bowl game and lose

Colorado State Rams

My beloved Rams are also looking to start a new season and their fans hope they can show some improvement. I attended one game in Fort Collins last year and the new stadium and location of it are amazing, but the team lost.

Last year was one of the Rams’ worst seasons in recent years as they finished with a 3-9 record. But let’s face it, other Ram fans like I can admit that the team is never really good besides once every decade or so.

But who knows things could change for the better this season. It has recently made headlines that Japan’s Sumo Wrestling World Champion Hidetora Hanada has made his way onto the Rams’ lineup as a defensive lineman.

The coach also seems optimistic about their returning starting quarterback Clay Millen. Millen is a sophomore this year and he hopes to substantially improve from his performance as a starter his freshman year last season.

First Game: September 2 at home vs. Washington State 5 p.m.

Season Prediction: 5-7 and no bowl game