Buffs Ready To Tackle Challenges Of New Coach, 2020 Season

Written By Ian St. Clair on 10/26/2020 - Last Updated on January 19, 2021

Let the Karl Dorrell era commence.

Here’s hoping that it gets off to a better start than the Mel Tucker era at Michigan State.

The former University of Colorado head coach, who ditched the Buffaloes for East Lansing and the Spartans, had a fitting debut in a 38-27 loss to Rutgers.

As for the current iteration of the Buffs, Dorrell opens on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. MST at Folsom Field against UCLA.

Colorado homecoming

For CU and Dorrell, this is a homecoming.

And one that Buffs fans, and those who may want to try college football betting for the first time, hope brings the program back to its glory days when he had his first coaching stint in Boulder.

Dorrell was the receivers coach for legendary CU head coach Bill McCartney.

Dorrell served in that role until 1993 when he left for Arizona State for the ‘94 season.

He returned to Boulder the next year to serve as offensive coordinator to Rick Neuheisel. It’s a position Dorrell held until 1998.

In a coaching career that dates back to 1988, this is his first time as a head coach.

While there is hope for a bright future for the Buffs, 2020 is a season to learn and grow under Dorrell.

Since the launch of sports betting in CO, this is the first chance for fans to wager on the local football teams.

Sportsbooks aren’t sold on the Buffs

Pac-12 football oddsBetMGMBetRiversDraftKings
Odds to win the Pac-12Oregon +190
USC +210
Washington +450
Utah +700
Arizona St. +1,100
Washington St. +2,000
California +2,000
Stanford +2,000
UCLA +2,500
Arizona +3,500
Oregon St. +8,000
Colorado +10,000
Oregon +200
USC +200
Washington +400
Utah +700
Arizona St. +1,200
Stanford +1,800
Washington St. +2,000
California +2,500
UCLA +2,500
Arizona +3,300
Oregon St. +6,600
Colorado +10,000
Oregon +200
USC +200
Washington +400
Utah +700
Arizona St. +1,200
Stanford +1,800
Washington St. +2,000
California +2,500
UCLA +2,500
Arizona +3,300
Oregon St. +6,600
Colorado +10,000

That bears out in what the various CO betting apps think of the Buffs’ chances in 2020.

They are all in agreement that CU is the biggest longshot to win the Pac-12 Conference.

They also are in agreement that Oregon and USC are the favorites.

Why such the steep sports betting odds for the Buffs in 2020?

Stephen Macken, risk and trading lead for college football at FanDuel Sportsbook, told PlayColorado:

“As of last week, they have been battling with COVID-19 and are down almost 20 players. Couple that with travelling to Stanford, USC, and Arizona for three brutal road games, I expect them to be in the bottom half of the conference.”

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Transition year for CU

Macken also is in agreement that this is a season to learn Dorrell and his philosophy/system. It’s also a chance for Dorrell to learn how to be a head coach.

Despite the fact he’s been a coach for over 30 years at both the collegiate and professional levels, a head coach is a different beast.

Look no further than Vic Fangio, who is still learning on the job in his second year as the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

As Macken said:

“2020 is going to be a transition year for Colorado with a new coaching regime at the helm. Their offense was potent last year, but to lose two high quality offensive lineman to the transfer portal will hurt their output.”

Pac-12 in the CFP?

In terms of the Pac-12 and its chances to get into the College Football Playoff (CFP), Macken sees a possible avenue for that to happen:

“The eventual Pac-12 champ needs to remain undefeated to have a chance at the CFP. We have seen in the past that the committee favors a second SEC team or a Big 12 champion over the Pac-12 champion. The Big 12 is weaker this year, so an 8-0 Oregon or USC might get in. Anyone else is unlikely.”

Local college football could grow the CO market

Based on the September handle for Colorado sports betting, fans here are ready for college football. It was in the top 10 for the month. It’ll be interesting to see if that number goes up once the “local” teams are on the field.

The Mountain West Conference started last week with Air Force and the University of Wyoming. Colorado State University opens its season at 8 p.m. MST on Thursday at Fresno State. The Rams’ season-opening game against the University of New Mexico was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

According to Macken:

“Adding games from the Pac-12 gives us more markets to offer and customers more of a choice to wager on the teams they know and like in Colorado.”

Whether that leads to new sports bettors in the state, Buffs fans are eager for the Dorrell era to kick off.

Photo by AP / Ted S. Warren
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a weekly Broncos segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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