Colorado was picked to finish dead last in the Pac-12 South Division in a preseason media poll. The Buffaloes finished dead last in Pac-12 scoring offense last year, dead last in scoring defense, dead last in kickoff returns and 10th in punt returns.
Oh yeah, they also lost quarterback Tyler Hansen to graduation.
Anyway, Colorado could go to a bowl game this season.
Now that we've got your attention, or at least your laughter, let us tell you how.
Best-case scenario: Take a look at the Buffaloes' schedule. The first three games -- all nonconference -- are winnable. First comes Colorado State, which the 3-10 Buffs beat last season. The other two are against Sacramento State, an FCS team that went 4-7 in the Big Sky Conference, and Fresno State of the WAC, which went 4-9.
Let's just suppose the Buffs win those three games and somehow manage to win at Washington State the following week -- feasible considering the Cougars went 4-8 last year. That sets up home games against rebuilding UCLA and Arizona State, with a bye week in between. Could Colorado be 5-1? 6-0? Yeah, it sounds crazy -- really crazy when you factor in that the club hasn't yet decided between QBs Nick Hirschman, Connor Wood and Jordan Webb -- but the first-half of the season provides such hope before it all comes crashing down with a brutal second half.
Worst-case scenario: If Colorado stumbles against one of its nonconference foes and drops two of its first three conference games, the Buffaloes could have a difficult time improving on last season's 3-10 record. The final six games look like this: at USC, at Oregon, hosting Stanford, at Arizona, hosting Washington and hosting Utah. Gulp. Factor in a new quarterback, an injury to receiver Paul Richardson and major questions at the cornerback spot in a pass-happy conference and you've got the makings for a disastrous season.
Most-likely scenario: We expect Colorado to win its first three nonconference games but too many questions dot the roster and too many freshmen are being counted on for contributions like defensive tackles Josh Tupou, Justin Solis and cornerback Kenneth Crawley. We don't expect CU to make its way into the postseason, but we like the Buffs to improve upon last season's record with a 5-7 mark.