Ranking Colorado's toughest games this season

Mike Singer, CUSportsNation.com
CU Sports Nation

The beginning of fall camp is just around the corner for the Colorado Buffaloes, and the anticipation for the 2017 season is very high. The Buffs will have some easy matchups and some tough ones, and CUSportsNation.com sorts it all out.

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AP

No. 12 - Northern Colorado

September 16 - 12:00 P.M. MT - Pac-12 Networks - Boulder, Colo.

Northern Colorado actually had a winning record in 2016 at 6-5, but as a Big Sky conference member, we'll take that with a grain of salt. Colorado should roll UNC easily as a tune up before a monster contest against Washington in Boulder.

No. 11 - Texas State

September 9 - 12:00 PM MT - Pac-12 Networks - Boulder, Colo.

After defeating Ohio, a team that actually is pretty decent year in and year out, in a 56-54 thriller, Texas State won just one game the rest of the season. The Buffaloes should win this game comfortably.

No. 10 - Arizona

October 7 - Boulder, Colo.

Arizona certainly had a rough 2016 season as they knocked off just one conference opponent last season. They should be improved, but with this game in Boulder, the Buffs should be just fine in this matchup.

No. 9 - Cal

October 28 - Boulder, Colo.

Cal has a brutal schedule this season following a disappointing 5-7 season for the Bears. They have non-conference matchups with North Carolina and Ole Miss early in the season. Their only true cupcake game is against Weber State on September 9. Come October 28 on Folsom Field, I think that the Buffs will crush Cal.

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AP

No. 8 - Colorado State

September 1 - 6:oo pm MT - Pac-12 Network - Denver, Colo.

We put CSU above Cal and Arizona because the Rams will have a game under the belt against a Pac-12 team in Oregon State the week prior, and they will be hungry against the Buffs, especially after being embarassed by the tune of 44-7 last year. The magazines love the Rams to have great success in the Mountain West conference, but we still think Colorado wins this game in the range of 10-14 points.

No. 7 - Arizona State

November 4 - Tempe, Ariz.

The Sun Devils started off the 2016 season red hot but faltered the rest of the way and were blown out by the hands of their rivals, the lowly Arizona Wildcats. The Buffaloes had no problem against ASU last season in Boulder in a 40-16 victory, but the 2017 matchup should be much closer.

No. 6 - Oregon State

October 14 - Corvallis, Ore.

Colorado crushed Oregon State 47-6 last season in Steven Montez's coming out party. Shay Fields torched the Oregon State secondary as he caught three touchdown passes in the first half. However, the Beavers should be much improved this season, and if they can get their quarterback situation figured out with their already strong running game, then Oregon State could give the Buffs some problems in Corvallis.

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AP

No. 5 - Utah

November 25 - Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah is always a tough opponent, especially on the road, so they will present a very a good matchup for Colorado. However, with Colorado coming off their bye week, which by the way, is a very late bye week, they will be rested and ready for the test.

No. 4 - Washington State

October 21 - Pullman, Wash.

Over the past few seasons, it seems like the Cougars start slow but finish the season strong, which was the case in 2016. With Luke Falk quarterbacking Washington State, they will be ready for the Buffs in Pullman. Their passing attack against a Colorado secondary that will be coming into their own will be very intriguing.

No. 3 - UCLA

September 30 - Pasadena, Calif.

UCLA had an abysmal 4-8 season by their standards last season, but with a healthy Josh Rosen, who is pegged to be a top quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, they will be stingy. Playing in the Rose Bowl doesn't help Colorado's chances here either, but we'd give the Buffs the edge in this one.

No. 2 - Washington

September 23 - Boulder, Colo.

Colorado will be coming off playing two lesser opponents, they have the Huskies in Boulder, and the players will certainly remember the Pac-12 Championship beatdown on their minds when UW comes to town on September 23. The Huskies lost a lot of talent to the NFL Draft, but with Jake Browning taking snaps, Washington is a playoff contender.

No. 1 - USC

November 11 - Boulder, Colo.

Max Browne started the season for USC and the Trojans got off to a rocky start last season, but when the USC staff insert Sam Darnold into the starting lineup at quarterback, he became one of the most talked about players in the sport. Expectations are very, very high for USC this season, and in recent memory, the Trojans have failed to live up to those expectations. I think that Darnold lives up to the hype this season, and Colorado will have a monumental matchup on their hands in November.

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