In a dynamic first month at the helm of the Colorado Buffaloes, Deion Sanders has electrified the college football world. His impact, both on and off the field, has been powerful and highly skilled, bringing a breath of fresh air to a program hungry for success. From his ambitious roster overhaul to his faith-driven coaching philosophy, Sanders is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to change the game.
When Deion Sanders arrived at Colorado, the Buffaloes were a team in need of revival. They finished the 2022 season with a dismal 1-11 record, leaving fans with little to cheer about. But Sanders' entrance marked a turning point, and Colorado's resurgence has been nothing short of remarkable. Under his leadership, the Buffaloes have shown a newfound talent for winning, scoring more touchdowns in their first month than in the entire previous season.
"I am filled with excitement and elation as I embrace my role as the coach here. It brings me great joy to delve into the remarkable qualities that define us as a team."
Sanders gave these sentiments about his team, 'I am genuinely happy and profoundly thankful that we serve as a beacon of hope, fueled by pure desire and unwavering determination. This is the essence that resonates with people across the nation and touches their hearts.
However, it's essential to acknowledge a recurring theme. We understand that our unconventional and bold approach might polarize opinions, and there are many who cheer against us.' Yet, this unique journey, led by Sanders and the Buffaloes, has captured the attention of all in September, and it appears that all eyes will remain fixed on us in the foreseeable future.
A Star-Studded Affair
Sanders' arrival in Colorado brought with it a star-studded entourage that includes names like Terrell Owens, Warren Sapp, and even the likes of DaBaby, Lil Wayne who lead the team out the tunnel, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Their presence alone is a testament to Sanders' magnetic personality and ambitious vision for the program. The influx of celebrities has turned Colorado games into high-profile events, drawing sellout crowds and setting ratings records.
A Diverse Viewership
What's even more impressive is the diverse viewership that Colorado has attracted. With Black viewers making up 23% of the audience during games, the Buffaloes are reaching demographics rarely seen in college football. Sanders' presence has not only changed the fortunes of the team but has also reshaped the way college football is viewed by a broader and more diverse audience.
"This is incredible. Our kids are getting eyeballs." Indeed, the Buffaloes' matchup against Colorado State was no ordinary game. With a kick-off time of 10:21 p.m. ET and the final whistle blowing at 2:25 a.m. ET on Sunday, it still managed to attract a staggering 9.3 million viewers. This achievement marked it as the most-watched late-night college football game in ESPN's history, ranking as the network's fifth most-watched regular-season game across all time slots, and securing its place as the most-streamed college football game ever.
The heightened visibility of the Buffaloes has not gone unnoticed by rival teams and coaches. Even when Colorado found themselves trailing 35-0 against Oregon at halftime, Ducks coach Dan Lanning couldn't help but acknowledge the vast viewership. He quipped on the ABC broadcast, "I hope all of those people that have been watching every week are watching this week." And they were indeed tuning in, with the game peaking at an astonishing 12.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched college football game of the entire season.
Lanning's halftime comment came shortly after viewers had been treated to his pregame speech, in which he took a shot at Colorado's burgeoning hype machine, stating, "The Cinderella story is over, man. They're fighting for clicks; we're fighting for wins. There's a difference. This game ain't gonna be played in Hollywood; it's gonna be played on grass."
While Deion Sanders had little to say following a humbling 42-6 defeat, rest assured, Lanning's name found its place on Sanders' figurative list. Sanders emphasized, "I don't say something just to say stuff for a click, despite what some people might say."
On the field, the Buffaloes have displayed a powerful transformation. Shedeur Sanders has emerged as a highly skilled quarterback, and cornerback-wide receiver Travis Hunter, who has now missed 2 games due to injury, has become a dynamic playmaker. These talented players have added a new dimension to Colorado's game, and their performances are turning heads across the nation. It is expected that when Hunter returns their duo will continue to light up the field and show the magnitude of their talents along with other playmakers that are emerging on both sides of the ball.
"It's the same recipe, the same preparation, same things we're doing over and over," Shedeur Sanders said. "It's just magnified and y'all are able to see us, more cameras and stuff. The only difference is the media, and everybody is driving the headlines."
Shedeur Sanders, playing under his father's coaching, is on track to surpass Colorado's total passing yards from 2022 in his next game.
Last year, a total of six players combined to throw for 2,075 yards. Currently, Sanders has already amassed 1,781 passing yards and is likely to exceed that mark by the midway point of the regular season, in the upcoming game against Arizona State. His impressive performance includes three games with over 350 passing yards, ranking second in a season by a Colorado quarterback, only behind Koy Detmer's record of five such games in 1996, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Even the defense, despite ranking last in the Pac-12 in scoring at 36.2 points per game, has improved by allowing approximately eight fewer points per game compared to last year.
Remarkably, all these improvements have occurred despite the absence of Hunter, considered the team's most well-rounded player, in the last two games. Hunter's incredible contributions in the first two games captured the attention of sports fans across the country, even those familiar with similar feats. Chris Gamble, a former Ohio State wide receiver and cornerback renowned for being a true two-way player during the 2002 national championship run, expressed his admiration, stating, "I've never seen a guy play both ways at such a high level."
Gamble went on to emphasize that Hunter's resilience and abilities make him well-suited for the challenge. With Coach Prime guiding him and the right coaching staff in place, the future looks promising. Gamble pledged his support, saying, "I'm going to follow them like it's my team. I'm going to root for [Hunter] and Coach Prime and Colorado to see what they can achieve with this program."
While Colorado may not be contending for a conference title just yet, the future looks promising. With a roster overhaul that included 53 incoming transfers and 86 new players, Sanders has set the stage for a competitive team that is constantly evolving. As Deion Sanders himself puts it, "This is the worst we're gonna be." The Buffaloes are a work in progress, but the progress is undeniable.
Deion Sanders' impact on college football is undeniable. His dynamic coaching style, powerful vision, and highly skilled recruits are reshaping the Colorado Buffaloes into a force to be reckoned with. The world is watching, and Sanders is determined to prove that he's not just changing college football; he's revolutionizing it. 'If you can't see what's coming with CU football, you've lost your mind.' Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes are here to stay, and their ambitious journey is just beginning.