Where Colorado stands in ESPN’s post-spring SP+ rankings

Following spring practices, head coach Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes remain the talk of the college football world. Yet, ESPN’s post-spring SP+ rankings (subscription required) still project the Buffs to be mediocre in their second year under Coach Prime.

The system uses three factors: returning production, recent recruiting and recent history. This dictates how ESPN analyst Bill Connelly rates offense, defense and special teams before he takes the differential and solidifies each program’s ranking. Offenses and special teams aim for higher ratings while defenses aim for lower ratings. Here’s how Connelly describes it:

SP+ is a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a résumé ranking.

These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date.

Connelly’s system currently has the Buffs ranked No. 69 out of the 134 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, with a -2.5 point differential. CU’s offense is rated at 31.2, which ranks No. 46. The defense, however, is ranked far lower at No. 105 with a score of 33.6. The Buffs own the No. 74 SP+ special teams unit at 0.0. Because Colorado’s offense and defense showed up inconsistently last season, the prediction makes sense despite the program’s offseason additions.

Any team with the amount of change Colorado has experienced this offseason can be rather hard to predict, however.

CU stood at No. 81 in the 2023 SP+ postseason rankings with a -4.9 differential. The Buffs managed a seven-spot, 4.1-point leap from the 2023 preseason SP+ rankings and were one of the most improved teams dating back to the 2022 postseason rankings (No. 124, -20.2).

With the amount of roster overhaul and additions to surround core players such as quarterback Shedeur Sanders and cornerback/wide receiver Travis Hunter, Coach Prime and the Buffs will look to make another huge jump this fall.

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Story originally appeared on Buffaloes Wire