In the world of college football, every new season carries with it a sense of excitement, anticipation, and hope. For the No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes, the 2023 season was no exception. Led by the legendary Deion Sanders, affectionately known as “Coach Prime,” Colorado had embarked on a journey that seemed to be rewriting their football narrative. A 3-0 start had fans dreaming of glory, especially after a dismal 1-11 record the previous year.
But as the saying goes, “Pride comes before a fall,” and a fall it was. The Buffaloes faced the No. 10 Oregon Ducks, who were 21-point favorites, in a highly anticipated matchup in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks had a point to prove, and the stage was set for a showdown.
Before the game, social media buzzed with a viral video showing Colorado players disrespecting Oregon’s midfield logo, with one player even stomping on it. This act of bravado only added fuel to an already intense matchup.
Oregon’s head coach, Dan Lanning, had been critical of Colorado long before the season started, and he didn’t hold back in his pre-game speech to his players. “The Cinderella story is over, man. They’re fighting for clicks, we’re fighting for wins. There’s a difference,” Lanning declared. “This game ain’t gonna be played in Hollywood. It’s gonna be played on the grass.”
As the game unfolded, it became clear that Lanning’s words were not mere rhetoric. The Ducks dominated from the outset, taking a commanding 35-0 lead by halftime. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix was in top form, completing 28-of-33 pass attempts, tallying 276 passing yards, and securing four total touchdowns, despite an interception.
Deion Sanders, typically known for his confidence, faced the harsh reality of a 42-6 defeat and offered no excuses. “It’s a good old-fashioned butt-kicking,” Sanders admitted to reporters after the game. “No excuses.”
He went on to address the criticism and scrutiny his team had faced, saying, “People around the country will say, ‘This is what they needed to humble themselves.’ We weren’t arrogant or whatever; we’re confident people. If our confidence offends your insecurity, that’s a problem with you, it’s not us.”
The defeat dropped Colorado to 3-1 for the season, and their next challenge loomed large as they were set to face No. 5 USC in Boulder on September 30. Meanwhile, Oregon, with a pristine 4-0 record, looked ahead to a road game against Stanford.
The Buffaloes’ tumble down the rankings marked a significant change in their fortunes. After starting as the feel-good story of the season, they now had to regroup and prove their mettle against USC. As for the Pac-12, it boasted four teams in the top 10 for the first time in the conference’s history.