Deion Sanders, rebuilt Colorado draw No. 17 TCU for opening act


No. 17 TCU played in last season’s College Football Playoff title contest, but Colorado is the program creating the overwhelming buzz leading into Saturday’s season opener at Fort Worth, Texas.

Deion Sanders, inducted into both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame as a player, is the new coach of the Buffaloes and attempting to turn the downtrodden program into a winner.

Colorado went 1-11 last season and Sanders — who refers to himself as “Coach Prime” — emptied the roster in a manner never seen before in college football history.

Only 10 of last season’s 84 scholarship players are still with the program — seven on offense, three on defense. According to BuffZone, there are 114 players in the program, including walk-ons, and 86 of them are in their first season at Colorado.

“I know it was a huge overhaul, but it had to be done,” Sanders told the publication.

Sanders was hired after going 27-6 in three seasons at Jackson State. He brought his two sons — quarterback Shedeur and safety Shilo — as well as highly regarded cornerback/receiver Travis Hunter from the Tigers.

He heavily worked the transfer portal but many prognosticators don’t expect such a philosophy to create an immediate turnaround.

“We’ve got a lot of doubters — I don’t know why,” Shilo Sanders said. “But we don’t have an underdog mindset. That’s how we’re coming. I’m not thinking we need to prove a lot. We just need to go out there and do what we do.”

The Buffaloes need to improve on defense. The unit ranked last in the nation in scoring defense (44.5) last season. Safety Trevor Woods (84 tackles) is the unit’s top returning player.

Shedeur Sanders is expected to pump up the offense. He started for two seasons at Jackson State and passed for 6,983 yards, 70 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also rushed for nine scores.

The Horned Frogs (13-2 in 2022) routed Colorado 38-13 in last season’s opener in the first meeting between the schools.

But TCU coach Sonny Dykes said he won’t be watching that game film due to the roster shakeup.

“Obviously, that tape is not going to be worth anything,” Dykes said Monday. “I haven’t even watched it because there is no reason to.”

TCU is operating in a bigger spotlight this season after putting together a surprise campaign for the ages. The Horned Frogs crashed the four-team playoff and beat Michigan in the semifinals before being steamrolled 65-7 by Georgia in the national championship game.

Dykes allows the final game was ugly but doesn’t think reaching the title contest was a one-time occurrence.

“Anybody can have a good year every now and then,” Dykes said. “We want to be a program that’s consistently in the Top 25. We want to be a program that consistently plays for conference championships, that’s in a conference race in late November. We do those things, we’re going to be in the college football playoff conversation.”

Max Duggan had a magical season and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up but few people remember he wasn’t the opening-game quarterback.

Chandler Morris won the job but sustained a left knee injury in Game 1 that opened the door for Duggan.

Morris said he has a chip on his shoulder “because you go out and you win the job in camp and you get hurt in the third quarter like 27 plays into the game and you’re done.”

–Field Level Media

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