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Can't Wait For Saturday | Will Colorado fool me again? Transfer portal gives Buffs fighting chance

Jan. 18—Sign up for our daily Illini football newsletter here

Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.

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I wasn't totally fooled by Colorado in 2023. The Buffaloes weren't a part of my preseason Top 50.

And I didn't consider Deion Sanders team for my preséason Top 25.

But afer it opened with a win against TCU, Colorado was on my ballot. And stayed there after wins against Nebraska and Colorado State.

The bottom fell out almost as quickly. First, a blowout loss to Oregon. then a close game against Southern California and win against Arizona State. That was the final victory for Colorado, which dropped its final six to finish 4-8. Four of the losses were by a touchdown or less. Still progress for a program that had been a mess for years.

Sanders has his team moving in the right direction with a formula that includes heavy use of the transfer portal.

Colorado's transfer class of 22 is ranked No. 5 by 247 Sports.

Texas A&M has the No. 1 transfer class. Illinois is at No. 49.

Sanders landed players from big schools and small. From the Power Four and Group of Five. There are six from the SEC and five from the Colorado's new/old conference the Big 12. Remember, the school is returning to its former home this season.

Colorado will definitely be in my 2024 preseasons Top 50, Likely in the first 30.

Colorado plays a tricky schedule. After opening at home against North Dakota State (an FCS power). Colorado makes consecutive trips to Nebraska and Colorado State, which will both be looking for revenge,

In the conference, Colorado hosts likely ranked teams Utah and Kansas State. It travels to Top 25-worthy Arizona and Kansas.

Sure, Colorado can go 8-4 or better. But another 4-8 is possible too.

Stay tuned.