Only K-State, Utah and OK State 'tough to beat' for Colorado football

Only three teams were deemed "tough to beat" for Colorado football in 2024
Only three teams were deemed "tough to beat" for Colorado football in 2024 / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

On3's Andy Staples is surprisingly high on the Colorado football program ahead of the 2024 season -- labeling only three schools, K-State, Utah, and OK State, "tough to beat" for Deion Sanders' Buffaloes in their Big 12 return.

"In this version of the Big 12, nearly every above-average team has a chance to play for the conference title if some of the breaks go that team’s way," Staples prefaced before saying, "But unless Colorado is significantly better on both lines of scrimmage, Kansas State, Utah and Oklahoma State — the three betting favorites for the league title, which are all on Colorado’s schedule — will be tough for the Buffs to beat."

No, that's not a 9-3 prediction. But it is as close to endorsing a 9-3 floor as it gets. Staples acknowledged Shedeur Sanders as the class of the Big 12 under center and called Travis Hunter the best player on the field for the Buffs.

There was strong confidence in Colorado in Staples' CU-dedicated prediction.

Colorado football too often predicted to win the Big 12 in 2024

Staples finally showed some nuance when it comes to talking about Colorado. Too often, you have doom and gloom projections, but a new trend is predicting a Big 12 championship for Coach Prime's Buffs in 2024.

"There is a scenario where if Shedeur Sanders is healthy, and they maintain some of that health with guys on the outside, Travis Hunter, who I think is one of if not the best overall player in college football, there’s a chance that Colorado’s competing to go to the Big 12 Championship Game," FOX Sports' Joel Klatt said on The Herd.

That's too far. Coach Prime pegged six wins and a bowl game as the goal. If he thought he had a championship team, there's no doubt he'd verbalize that loud and clearly during every single public appearance. Instead, he said it at the Black and Gold spring game and hasn't said much about the Buffs' expectations since.

Cool it on the Hunter and Shedeur Heisman talk and just let this team make an improvement. Staples thinks two to three wins is realistic, and if that's the case, the Buffs will be playing in December.