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5d835390 Deion Sanders

Colorado football faces uphill battle as Big 12 preseason rankings list Buffaloes outside top-10

The Deion Sanders-led Colorado football team had a disappointing finish last season. 

Colorado was able to attract some top recruits in 2024 as the Pro Football Hall of Famer orchestrated a massive roster overhaul. The Buffaloes’ 4-8 record in 2023 was an improvement over its 1-11 mark in the season prior to Sanders’ arrival. 

But, the Buffaloes will face an uphill battle when they kick off their inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference in late August. As the calendar turns to July, the conference’s football media preseason poll was revealed.

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Colorado head coach Deion Sanders directs players during the first half of an NCAA spring college football game Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Big 12 Conference has expanded to 16 schools. Entering the 2024 season, media members projected the Buffaloes as the 11th best team in the conference.

Colorado’s roster does feature elite talent at some key positions. Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders received All-Big 12 honors, while star wide receiver and defensive back Travis Hunter was the preseason pick for defensive player of the year.

EX-COLORADO PLAYER RIPS DEION SANDERS’ APPROACH TO ROSTER OVERHAUL

However, some appear to believe the Buffaloes’ deficiencies could prevent the team from racking up a significant number of wins in 2024.

Colorado could enter several games this upcoming season as an underdog. The Buffaloes will host North Dakota State to open the regular season. They will then travel to Nebraska, followed by a matchup with in-state rival Colorado State.

Shedeur Sanders plays against Oregon

Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) passes the ball during a PAC-12 conference football game between the Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon Ducks on September 23, 2023 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Buffaloes return home to take on Baylor, before traveling UCF. The remainder of Colorado’s schedule is listed below:

Oct. 12 – Kansas State

Oct. 19 – at Arizona

Oct. 26 – Cincinnati

Nov. 9 – at Texas Tech

Nov. 16 – Utah

Nov. 23 – at Kansas

Nov. 29 – Oklahoma State

CU fans rush the field

Colorado Buffaloes tight end Michael Harrison (87) celebrates with the fans on the field after winning the Rocky Mountain Showdown against the Colorado State Rams 43-35 in double over time at Folsom Field September 16, 2023.  (Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Utah took the top spot in the Big 12 preseason poll, while Arizona State rounded out the list. The full preseason poll is listed below:

1. Utah 
2. Kansas State 
3. Oklahoma State
4. Kansas 
5. Arizona 
6. Iowa State
7. West Virginia
8. UCF 
9. Texas Tech
10. TCU 
11. Colorado
12. Baylor 
13. BYU 
14. Cincinnati 
15. Houston 
16. Arizona State

Shedeur Sanders throws a pass

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado State, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Boulder, Colo.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The always confident Sanders will have to coach Colorado to victory during the regular season to disprove some of the doubts surrounding the Buffaloes.

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The Big 12 Media Days are scheduled for July 9-10 in Las Vegas. Sanders missed last year’s Pac-12 Conference Media Days due to a “routine, follow-up” procedure on his foot.

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