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Matt's Monday Morning musings - Week one: Hype Time for Prime Time

Each week, our Executive Director, Matthew Redding (5’11, 185, 4.78 40-yard dash, $4.99 on Wish, 5.49 on TEMU) sits down with a cup of coffee and ponders life in the world of College Football and beyond. Ask him anything on Twitter (@TheBarningMan) and he may answer it next week over his breakfast. In this edition of Matt's Monday Morning Musings, he’s thinking about what he just witnessed between TCU, and Colorado and what to expect from Coach Prime and Co. moving forward.

As an Auburn fan, I have been watching the offseason on the Plains with a close eye. Since the great potato famine ended with Harsin's firing in mid-October, Auburn faithful such as myself have been on the lookout for anything that could resemble hope. Hugh Freeze was announced as the next man up and immediately set to work on restoring that hope. Making quick work of the transfer portal, Freeze brought in top talent such as Gunner Britton and Shane Hooks to Jordan-Hare to give new quarterback Payton Thorne some beefy protection and shiny new toys to throw to. With the veteran presence of coach Cadillac Williams and incumbent starter Robby Ashford, coupled with Freeze's red-hot recruiting, bringing in five-stars Demarcus Riddick and Perry Thompson, September 2nd couldn't get here fast enough. Life had been breathed into the Tigers and the crowd at Jordan-Hare was rocking to welcome the new era at Auburn with open arms and toilet paper for Toomer's Corner, which was allowed to be rolled again for the first time since 2013. I had waited what felt like an eternity to join them in witnessing the new day in Auburn with our new head coach, and so I sat with a burger in front of me and an ice-cold Coke that my roommate brought over and you would think that as soon as I had settled in and 3:30 PM hit, I would be the first one to switch over after all this anticipation. One problem though.


I could not take my eyes off of Colorado.


"Do you believe NOW?!" Coach Prime asked at the press conference. It depends on what I believe now, and I find that much of the country believes the same.


  • I believe that Coach Prime's work at JSU was one of the most important hires in football history. His reputation and swagger immediately put HBCU football on the map in the playoff era and college football as a whole is now better off for it.


  • I believe that Colorado was the right job for him. Maybe it wasn't the southeast area, and maybe the Midwest doesn't produce the most exciting recruits compared to Florida or Georgia, but what other school was going to let Deion be Deion? Auburn fans desperately wanted him, but the boosters wouldn't have signed off on his bling and antics. The Buffs had nothing to lose, so why not?


  • I believe that completely overhauling the roster was the right decision. He caught flack for telling a bunch of kids to hit the portal, but this business is about winning, and those players went 1-11. The transfer portal is here, and now coaches have seen what kind of power it has, and whether you like it or not, somewhere out there, another coach is taking notes for his eventual move next offseason.

But now, our attention turns to what we want to believe in, but need to see more proof. For instance.


  • Travis Hunter will win the Heisman. The first defensive player to win the award since Charles Woodson in 1999. If he had come down with those two passes to him in the endzone, he'd be the betting favorite right now over Caleb Williams, I promise you that.


  • Colorado will win 9 games. The defense needs to stiffen up and not depend on Hunter for everything, but the offense showed that it can hang with anyone.


  • Deion will win coach of the year and stay on for another season, despite getting calls no doubt from the likes of Florida, Michigan State or West Virginia if the hot seats eventually burn the pants that are sitting on them.

If Saturday, former 1-11 Colorado going in and knocking off the national runner-up #17 TCU in their home stadium, is any indication, then those things will be more believable sooner rather than later. I don't knock the media for doubting Deion during the offseason- Again, this was one of the worst rosters in college football last year- but the expectations for the Buffaloes should and will go up now. Shedeur Sanders will find himself in New York alongside Travis Hunter for the Heisman Trophy if he keeps up his 510 passing yards antics.


Hunter himself will win it, regardless if Colorado goes 6-6 or 10-2 this year. Seriously. 119 receiving yards, 1 INT, pass breakups galore, and 3 tackles. The dude was all over the damn place. If you miss on Caleb Williams in the upcoming draft, go ahead and sell your farm for Hunter. The kid can play.


(Speaking of which, USC vs. Colorado is September 30th. Clear your schedule and forget whoever else you cheer for, because Williams vs. Hunter could very well determine the Heisman race and the Pac-12 race.)


Under coach Bill McCartney in the 90s, the Buffs won one national title (1990), won 11 games the year before that, and averaged around 8-9 wins before Coach Mac left on an 11-win season in 1994. Since then, Boulder has been looking for a revival of relevancy, and through many cycles of mid-level guys coming and going, I couldn't look away from my TV last Saturday because suddenly I also believed this.


Something special is brewing in Boulder. We very well may be seeing the awakening of a sleeping giant. It took USC, Michigan, and Georgia a lot of patience and the right guy to bring them back into the national discussion. Colorado may have done the same. I think we're about to witness the greatest athlete help his shades-wearing, smack-talking coach shock the world.


I know it's just one game but hear this, Deion.


I believe, and if no one else is paying attention they're going to find out sooner than later.


Go freaking Buffs.


(Seriously, forget #CrashForCaleb, the draft's new motto is #TankForTravis)

 

Matt's Monday Morning Mailbag

Tennessee flag

"Who's in the Playoff just based off of week one?" - Brian

Ah yes, the old eye test. I love making predictions based on week one, as you can read above. Why not have a little fun and go ahead and lock some guys in now?


If LSU plays the way they did against FSU, then the SEC will be represented by someone else. FSU, on the other hand, looked every bit the part. Jordan Travis will clearly be on a few draft boards after throwing for 5 touchdowns against the Tiger's stingy defense, so if they beat Clemson and Florida (who always plays the 'Noles tough) lock 'em in.


The SEC will of course be represented, but again LSU just lost a lot of insurance with that loss. Georgia is the Brock Bowers show on offense, so hard pass for now. Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Texas A&M all beat up on candy cane colleges for their opener, so we still have a lot to learn. Tennessee, meanwhile, showed that the offense hasn't slowed down since Hendon Hooker left, and Joe Milton seems to have finally put it all together. Give me the Vols as the surprise SEC rep.


USC and Michigan are fine. Caleb Williams is Caleb Williams, and Michigan doesn't need Jim Harbaugh when JJ McCarthy is playing the way he did.


However, Oregon hung 81 on poor Portland State. I know, it's another small school, but Bo Nix just gets better every year, and he has all the tools, including WR Troy Franklin to throw to. He's focused and having fun, and the Pac-12 swan song could be they get two teams in the final four.


For now, here is my week one playoff, with the first two out.


  1. USC (12-0)

  2. FSU (12-0

  3. Tennessee (11-1)

  4. Oregon (11-1)

  5. Michigan (11-1)

  6. Washington (10-2)


Subject to change, of course. The good news is, football is back, so we'll find out sooner rather than later.


- Matthew

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