It might be time to rethink the "play anybody, any time" mentality when it comes to nonconference football scheduling at Colorado.

The Buffs play two teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences once again this year in nonconference play. The first of those games comes this week at Cal, where CU is an 8-point underdog. The second game comes Oct. 2 when Georgia visits Folsom Field.

The two games will be the 21st and 22nd nonconference games against BCS foes for CU during the 15 seasons the Buffs have been a part of the Big 12 Conference. Meanwhile, most of the rest of Big 12 programs have opted for a lighter load.

Nebraska, surprisingly, entered this season leading the league with 21 nonconference BCS opponents over the years. The Huskers play one BCS team in nonconference play and will leave the league at the end of the year tied with the Buffs for the league lead.

But here is the question CU officials have wrestled with for years. Is it worth it?

The Buffs have gone 5-15 in their 20 previous nonconference matchups with BCS teams, and that has played a part in the program being ranked lower or less often over the years.

When the Buffs officially join the Pac-10 Conference either next year or in 2012, they will play a nine-game conference schedule, leaving only three nonconference games to schedule each year. That extra conference game already creates a extra game against a BCS team the Buffs don`t currently play now with an eight-game conference schedule.


Advertisement

CU already plays Colorado State every year. So it will have just two nonconference games to fill each year in thefuture. The athletic department ought to be able to get away with playing just one BCS team in nonconference play in future years.

The total number of BCS teams members of the Big 12 have played in nonconference play in league history:

Nebraska 21

Colorado 20

Oklahoma 17

Iowa State 16

Baylor 15

Texas 14

Missouri 13

Texas A&M 12

Texas Tech 9

Kansas State 7

Oklahoma State 7

Kansas 6

KU regrouping

Colorado fans can certainly relate to the hurt Kansas fans are feeling this week after opening the Turner Gill era with a stinker of a performance in a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State.

The Buffs opened the Dan Hawkins era in similar fashion in 2006, losing to Montana State. Gill and Hawkins are the only Big 12 coaches to lose their debuts to members of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Only two of the past eight head coaches at Kansas won their debut. So Jayhawks fans shouldn`t be too tough on Gill. Now, if this was the basketball team, there might be hell to pay.

"I think, also, from your first ball game going to your second ball game is where you make your biggest improvement," Gill said. "So we hope that will take place for us."

Gill must coax some dramatic improvement out of his team this week to avoid going 0-2. The Jayhawks host Georgia Tech and its option offense, which can be difficult to prepare for in the modern era of passing football.

"You`ve got to keep everything in perspective and you`ve got to keep everything going in the right direction," Gill said. "We know we have to implement our offense and implement our defense. It takes time and obviously it`s going to take a little bit more for us to get things going in the right direction, particularly offensively, which is usually the phase where it takes a little bit longer to get going."

MU`s Smith looks special

Missouri defensive lineman Aldon Smith might be picking up where former Nebraska star Ndamukong Suh left off. Smith was named Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after helping the Tigers beat Illinois in the opener.

Coach Gary Pinkel used Smith (6-foot-6, 260) in a variety of roles including, pass rusher, spy and dropping him into coverage. Smith finished with two sacks and 10 total tackles.

"He`ll just keep getting better and better," Pinkel said. "He`s only played 13 games, 14 games now counting the bowl game last year. I think we`ll continue to utilize him in different ways. ...It`s nice to have an athlete that has that kind of a skill level."

Numbers game

Texas A&M had 60 running plays in its win over Stephen F. Austin compared to 60 total plays for Colorado in its win over CSU.

Short yardage

If things go well for the Missouri offense this season, the Tigers could set the NCAA record for consecutive extra-point attempts made. They have converted 239 and the record of 262 is held by Syracuse. ... File this under sign of the times. It used to be a 100-yard rushing day from the Nebraska quarterback was run-of-the-mill so to speak. When freshman Taylor Martinez did so in the opener it marked the first time it had happened in 6½ seasons. ... Here is one minor contributing factor why Texas coach Mack Brown has produced a decade worth of 10-win seasons. The Longhorns had never opened a season away from home in Big 12 history before playing Rice in Houston this year. Every team has kinks to work out in the opener and it`s that much tougher to do it on the road.

Who is hot: Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter ran for 257 yards in the opener. He managed only 382 yards all of last season when he was saddled with injuries that kept him out of all or most of six games.

Who is not: The Oklahoma secondary allowed Utah State to pass for 341 yards and two touchdowns in what was perceived as an easy tuneup to start the season at home.

Ringo's Top 25 Camera sports writer Kyle Ringo is voting in the Associated Press Top 25 football poll this season. How Ringo voted this week:

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Florida

4. Oklahoma

5. Boise State

6. TCU

7. Oregon

8. Texas

9. Nebraska

10. Arkansas

11. Miami

12. Iowa

13. West Virginia

14. Georgia Tech

15. Wisconsin

16. Florida State

17. Virginia Tech

18. USC

19. Stanford

20. Auburn

21. Utah

22. LSU

23. Houston

24. Georgia

25. North Carolina