What if Colorado football played its revised 2020 schedule?

colorado football

On Aug. 11, the Pac-12 announced it would be doubling back on its previous decision by canceling all sports competitions through the calendar year. The Pac-12 CEO Group voted unanimously to postpone all sports competitions after consulting with athletic directors and with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee

The postponement of fall sports canceled the Pac-12’s previously revised 2020 football schedule. This now recycled schedule only leaves us fans wondering…what if the revised 2020 Pac-12 season was played?

The upcoming season already had Buff fans’ heads spinning with questions. Nobody knows what Karl Dorrell’s first season in Boulder would’ve looked like, except for me and my “expert” opinion. Here we’ll go game by game and see exactly what would’ve happened if Colorado football played its revised 2020 schedule.

Sept. 26 @ #9 Oregon

You couldn’t have picked a tougher debut opponent for Dorrell’s Buffaloes. Oregon comes into our what-if season as the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12. Assuming that fans would be in attendance, a packed Autzen Stadium on opening day easily makes this Colorado’s toughest road game this season.

While Oregon may be coming into the season ranked No. 9 in the nation, both the Ducks and the Buffaloes are in similar situations on offense. The Ducks saw the departure of first-round NFL draft pick Justin Herbert to the Los Angeles Chargers while fifth-year senior Steven Montez played his final season in Boulder last year as well. Both offenses have newcomers at quarterback but experienced running backs return in the backfields respectively.

Despite the best efforts of Buffs running back Alex Fontenot, the Ducks rolled right through the Buffs. The Oregon defense stacks the box against Fontenot, making sure there is no running room for the redshirt junior all day.

New redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Lytle is forced to put the team on his shoulders, but the weight is just too much. Lytle struggles all game trying to find open receivers against the speedy Oregon secondary. Speed is the name of the game for the Ducks, and they simply have more of it than Colorado. Oregon jumps to a fast start and never lets up as they cruise to victory. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough impresses in his debut for the Ducks throwing four touchdowns.

FINAL: Oregon 52, Colorado 17

Oct. 3 vs. Utah

The Rumble in the Rockies comes to Boulder early this season and the Buffs are hungry for their first win of the season. They face an incredibly tough and well-coached Ute defense that only had to look at the previous week for notes on how to stop the Colorado offense.

Utah’s game plan on defense is pretty much the same as Oregon’s the previous week. The Ute defense stacks the box with eight to nine players every play forcing Lytle to step up to the plate and lead the offense. Lytle looks more comfortable this time around, but the Utah defensive lines is able to get into the backfield on almost every play. The Buffs are unable to move the ball up and down the field except for a couple of big plays.

On the flip side, former South Carolina graduate transfer quarterback Jake Bentley has his way with the Colorado secondary. He and star receiver Britain Covey combine for 157 yards and two touchdowns as the Utes win their fourth in a row against the Buffaloes.

FINAL: Utah 28, Colorado 10

Oct. 10 @ Arizona

The chirps in Boulder begin as head coach Karl Dorrell continues to seek his first win with the Buffaloes. For week three they travel to Tucson to face the equally winless Arizona Wildcats.

Finally, the Colorado offense has life. Fontenot is able to stampede through the Arizona defense to the tune of 124 yards and two touchdowns. Lytle is also able to connect with star receiver K.D. Nixon in the end zone twice, highlighting the best game for the duo yet.

Colorado’s defense was able to hold the Wildcat offense at bay as defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson and the rest of the Buff defensive accumulated five sacks and two turnovers. Thanks to an overall stellar performance by the Buffaloes, they return to Boulder one win richer.

FINAL: Colorado 35, Arizona 14

Oct. 17 @ USC

Playing at USC isn’t fun, just ask the then-undefeated 2018 Colorado football team. Can the Buffs topple the mighty Trojans in their coliseum for the first time ever or will the 14 game losing streak against them extend to 15?

The short answer is no. In this what-if season star USC defensive lineman Jay Tufele doesn’t opt out of the season and wreaks havoc the entire game. While Tufele and the rest of the defensive make it impossible for Lytle to do anything, Fontenot crosses the 100-yard mark for the second time this season.

The Colorado defense appeared to never actually come out of the locker room as quarterback Kedon Slovis and receiver Tyler Vaughns connected on a number of big plays, highlighted by a 67-yard touchdown right before halftime. The talent of USC is too much as Slovis shines throwing 352 yards and four touchdowns.

FINAL: USC 42, Colorado 21

Oct. 31 vs. Arizona State

Coming off a tough loss in Los Angeles, the Buffs return to Boulder to face Herm Edwards’ Arizona State Sun Devils. On this cold Halloween night, the snow falls adding an extra element to this south divisional matchup.

With the snow falling the running games of both teams take center stage. Fontenot extends his 100-yard streak to three in this hard ran game. His two touchdowns in the first half propelled the Buffs to an early lead. The experience of Fontenot can clearly be seen in a standout performance by the redshirt junior.

Sun Devils’ true freshmen running back DeaMonte Trayanum struggled to gain any consistency throughout the game but did enough to keep it close. Devils’ quarterback Jayden Daniels is able to make plays on the ground with his feet late in the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it to overtime.

In overtime, Daniels is able to score the game-winning touchdown on a read-option sending the Colorado Buffaloes to 1-4 on the season.

FINAL (OT): Arizona State 23, Colorado 17

Nov. 6 @ Washington

After back to back losses the Buffs are back on the road this time against the north division leaders the Washington Huskies. Huskies’ quarterback Jacob Sirmon marks the third first-year starting quarterback Colorado has played this year.

Sirmon has big shoes to fill after the departure of quarterback Jacob Eason to the NFL, and it appears the task may be too great for the redshirt sophomore. Sirmon has struggled all season and his struggles continue against the Buffs. Colorado’s secondary has their best game all season snagging three interceptions and holding the Huskies to less than 200 yards passing.

Unfortunately, the dominance against the Washington air attack leaves the door open for Huskies’ running back Richard Newton to scorch the Colorado defense to the tune of 128 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Newton received MVP honors after the game for his dominant performance.

On the flip side, the Colorado offense staggered all game. Buff’s quarterback Tyler Lytle had his moments but struggled as well throwing two costly interceptions late in the game. The late-game turnovers became too much to overcome and Washington escapes a close one victoriously.

FINAL: Washington 17, Colorado 14

Nov. 14 vs. UCLA

A 1-5 start to the season was the last thing Buff fans were hoping to see this season. With an opportunity to get back into the win column, head coach Karl Dorrell faces his former team as his last head coaching job was with the UCLA Bruins back in 2007. Which south division bottom feeder will rise to the occasion?

Two once-proud collegiate football programs have turned into a game of who doesn’t want last place. Chip Kelly’s Bruins may be used to sunny blue skies but in this matchup, they’ll be layering up in 40-degree weather.

Lytle looked like Buff’s legend Darian Hagan in this one. Lytle torched a struggling Bruins defense by connecting with star receiver K.D. Nixon three times in the end zone. Nixon’s three touchdowns would only be three of five touchdowns Lytle throws.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson responded by having his best game all season as well. Neither defense could stop the opposing offense as Robinson had four total touchdowns in the game. At the end, it appeared Chip Kelly called a conservative game while trying to hold on to the lead which leads to the game-winning touchdown from Lytle to Nixon, giving the Buffs their much needed second win on the season.

FINAL: Colorado 45, UCLA 42

Nov. 21 @ Stanford

It’s a rainy day in Palo Alto as the Buffs travel to northern California to face the Stanford Cardinal. David Shaw is one of the most sought after coaches by the NFL every season. Beating Stanford would almost certainly require a perfect game from the Buffs.

With the rain being a factor the rushing attacks of both teams take center stage. The tough Cardinal defense looks like a brick wall against the Buffs. Fontenot is able to get in the end zone once but is held to under 60 rushing yards. The Buffs are able to get into Stanford territory multiple times but are forced to kick four field goals in the red zone.

The star-studded Cardinal offensive line made quick work of the Colorado defense. Stanford running backs Austin Jones and Dorian Maddox combined for 200+ yards rushing and three touchdowns. Stanford not only dominates the time of possession but also the scoreboard as they go on to win throwing only 15 passes all game.

FINAL: Standford 31, Colorado 19

Nov. 28 vs. Oregon State

It’s a winter wonderland for this one as the snow falls for a rare snow game in Boulder. Neither the Buffs nor the Beavers are contending for the Pac-12 Championship so these teams have nothing to lose and are able to pull off some fun moments.

With the season nearing an end it seems the Buffs want to have some fun on offense. In a throwback to last year’s 96-yard flea-flicker touchdown against Nebraska, receiver K.D. Nixon does it again right after halftime as he completed a 43-yard flea-flicker touchdown to fellow receiver Daniel Arias. Nixon again stared in a 125-yards and two total touchdowns standout performance for the senior.

The Buff offense stampeded all over the Beavers as they only punted twice all game. For the Beavers, they couldn’t do anything. Oregon State quarterback Tristan Gebbia looked in pain after the game as the Buffs defense harassed him to the tune of four sacks and two interceptions. After a huge game by the Buffs, the parties will rage all night in Boulder.

FINAL: Colorado 38, Oregon State 21

Dec. 5 vs. Washington State

The last game of the season means it’s senior night for the Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffs are honoring nine seniors and hope to send them off one last time victoriously against the Washington State Cougars.

The departure of former Cougars head coach Mike Leach to Mississippi State was a shock to almost everyone in the Pac-12. The fall out from his departure has sent the up and coming program back down to the basement of the Pac-12, where they meet their fellow basement dweller Colorado Buffaloes.

It was all about the seniors before the game, but during the game, they did not relinquish the spotlight. Senior star receiver K.D. Nixon was a man on fire in his last game for the Buffs totaling 150 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The Colorado offense looked motivated all game converting on a number of close third downs and punting only three times all game.

On the flip side, the Cougars looked unmotivated and ready for the season to end. It had been a disappointing season for the Cougars with a chance to end on a high note, but they looked like they’d rather have stayed in Pullman. The Cougar offense made a couple of big plays to keep it close, but the Buffs pulled out one last win for the seniors in the end.

FINAL: Colorado 27, Washington State 20


The Buffs are good, but not great and you have to be great to win in the Pac-12. Consistency is desperately needed if the Buffs want to return to their championship pedigree.

Karl Dorrell’s first season as head coach is labeled a disappointment but with an upward trend in recruiting and a strong end to the season, the future is as promising for the Buffs as it is for any other team.

Hopefully for the 2021 season, the Colorado Buffaloes will actually be able to suit up and run with Ralphie once again.


Photo courtesy of CUBuffs.com