Along with fellow Pac-12 defectors Utah, Arizona and Arizona State, Colorado is joining the brighter skies of the Big 12 Conference next season. Gone are trips to California and in are frequent visits to Texas, Kansas and even Florida.
In their final season before rejoining the Big 12, the Buffaloes won four games under first-year head coach Deion Sanders. While they fell short of reaching a bowl game, many are expecting big things from Coach Prime’s Buffs next season.
At least on paper, the Buffs’ 2024 schedule should be much less challenging than what they faced in 2023. Here’s a look at how Colorado’s 2024 opponents fared this past season:
North Dakota State
Final record: 11-4 (lost to Montana in Football Championship Subdivision semifinal)
Coming off back-to-back FCS national title game appearances, the Bison were just a tick below their usual dominance in 2023, losing three regular season games.
Final record: 5-7
Under first-year head coach Matt Rhule, the Cornhuskers ended the season on a four-game losing streak and fell just short of bowl eligibility. Nebraska’s 2023 season also included a 36-14 loss to Colorado in Week 2.
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Final record: 5-7
The Rams had some legit star power Tory Horton, Dallin Holker and Mohamed Kamara but also failed to reach a bowl game. CSU did, however, beat Boise State for the first time in program history.
Final record: 10-3 (beat Oklahoma in Alamo Bowl)
Jedd Fisch deserves a ton of credit for taking Arizona from a one-win team in 2021 to a 10-win team this past season. Freshman quarterback Noah Fifita and the Wildcats knocked off Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado and Utah before beating Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl.
Final record: 8-5 (lost to Northwestern in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl)
With star QB Cam Rising out for the entire year, Utah scrapped its way to eight wins. The Utes started the season 4-0, including wins over Florida, Baylor and UCLA.
Final record: 3-9
Not much went right for Baylor in 2023. The Bears fell to Texas State in their opener and later lost their final five regular season games. Their three wins came against Long Island, UCF and Cincinnati.
Final record: 10-4 (beat Texas A&M in the TaxAct Texas Bowl)
The Cowboys won nine regular season games before falling to Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. Running back Ollie Gordon II rushed for 1,732 yards and was named the 2023 Doak Walker Award recipient.
Final record: 9-4 (beat North Carolina State in Pop-Tarts Bowl)
Times are good right now for Kansas State, which closed its third straight season of eight or more wins. Two weeks after falling to Texas in overtime, the Wildcats beat rival Kansas on the road.
Final record: 3-9
Unfortunately for the Bearcats, their first season in the Big 12 was forgettable. Their only wins came against Eastern Kentucky, Pitt and Houston.
Final record: 9-4 (beat UNLV in Guaranteed Rate Bowl)
Just like in-state rival Kansas State, Kansas went 9-4 with a bowl game win. The Jayhawks’ 2023 season was highlighted by an upset of then-No. 6 Oklahoma in late October.
Final record: 7-6 (beat Cal in Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl)
Texas Tech had an up-and-down season. The Red Raiders beat Kansas, TCU and UCF but lost to Wyoming, BYU and West Virginia.
Final record: 6-7 (lost to Georgia Tech in Gasparilla Bowl)
All in all, UCF should be pleased about reaching a bowl game in its first Big 12 season. The Knights blew out Oklahoma State in November and had the most wins out of the four new Big 12 schools.