The PAC-12 is undoubtedly having a down year (again) in 2021, with Oregon and Utah sitting alone at the top tier, with ASU, UCLA, Oregon State, and Wazzu filling out the middle and a sea of teams fighting to not be the worst, Colorado included. Despite some improved play in the final weeks of the season, the Buffalo offense continues to be not just the worst in the PAC-12, but one of the worst in the nation.
Of the 130 FBS teams, Colorado currently ranks 128th in total offense, gaining a measly 267.4 yards and two touchdowns per game. Sophomore Jarek Broussard (5’9”, 185 lbs) has kept the rushing attack respectable averaging 4.7 yards on 142 carries, while junior Alex Fontenot (6’0”, 205 lbs) has carved out a role as a short-yardage redzone weapon with five touchdowns on 86 carries. It’s the passing game, led by redshirt freshman Brendon Lewis (6’2”, 225 lbs) that has struggled to keep the Buffaloes more competitive. Ranking 11th out of 12 active PAC-12 quarterbacks with a QBR of 46.00, Lewis’s lack of experience has been a clear hindrance at times this season, but the future looks bright behind the young gunslinger who has 1,456 yards with ten TDs and just three interceptions. Improved play along the offensive line has made his life easier as the season winds to an end, adding to the silver lining seen in Boulder as the season progressed.
With leading receiver Brenden Rice (freshman, 6’3”, 205 lbs), son of NFL great, Jerry Rice out for undisclosed reasons, junior tight end Brady Russell (6’3”, 255) will look to take a larger role as a pass-catcher, after already leading the team with 23 receptions. Russell is four yards shy of Rice’s team-high 299 receiving yards, so the talented tight-end will have a chance to clinch the overall top-receiver honors, a feat that will be harder to claim as Rice matures, assuming Rice has a fraction of the talent his father did in his prime.
Colorado has seemingly been in rebuild mode for over a decade with flashes of success to keep them from total irrelevancy, and with the youth this team has, there’s plenty of reason to believe the Buffaloes will be a much better team in a season or two (assuming the transfer portal doesn’t gut them of the talent they’re grooming in-house), but there isn’t enough clicking offensively just yet to consider this young team a genuine threat on a weekly basis just yet, especially against an offense as elite as Utah’s.