The Buffs will try to end their tiresome 18-game road losing streak in front of approximately 102,329 Ohio State fans at the Big Horseshoe on Sept. 24.
Colorado's starting quarterback doesn't want to think about what the team's disposition would be like if there are no wins of any kind to draw from before the trip to Columbus.
That's why Tyler Hansen is describing CU's game against Colorado State on Saturday at Sports Authority Field as a must-win.
"We have to win this game. To be 1-2 and 0-3 is a big change. That's a big difference," Hansen said. "I know it's one game, but we've got to develop some confidence going into conference play, especially to go play at Ohio State. This is a must-win for us."
For the first time since 1941, the Rams (2-0) will play CU with a record of 2-0 or better. For the first time since 1939, the Buffs (0-2) will play CSU with a record of 0-2 or worse.
Despite the early-season results, CU is confident after following up a tough 34-17 loss at Hawaii in the opener with a better effort in last Saturday's gut-wrenching 36-33 overtime loss to Cal.
The jury is still out on CSU after beating winless New Mexico and Northern Colorado.
"It's real big. Just because (we're) playing Colorado State and them being rival. Being 0-2, we've got to win one," Hansen said. "Going into Ohio State 0-3 isn't going to be good for us. We've got to get a victory this weekend."
CU offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy moved up to the press box level at Folsom Field to call the Cal game after working on the sideline at Aloha Stadium in the opener.
Hansen set a single-game CU record for passing yards (474), and Paul Richardson set a single-game school record for receiving yards (284) against the Bears. So don't expect to see Bieniemy on the field Saturday, unless the Buffs are celebrating a win after the game.
"If we would have came away with two victories, it wouldn't have mattered. I just have to be honest. Being upstairs you can see more," Bieniemy said. "It's a calmer environment and it's probably what's best for me. But obviously I'm missing the field because I've always been a guy who has always been a part of it. Being up there, professionally you can just see things and it's a much better view."
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild has closed practices for the first time this season as the Rams prepare for CU and life without dynamic linebacker Mychal Sisson. The team's leading tackler broke an ankle during the 33-14 win over UNC last Saturday.
"He is disappointed. We all are with what happened," Fairchild said on the Mountain West coaches teleconference. "He's a tremendous player, but his leadership on the field and in the locker room is what will really be missed."
CSU also lost its best pass rusher, Broderick Sargent, to a season-ending injury in the opener.
"You can definitely tell he's the ring leader," CU head coach Jon Embree said of Sisson. "He brings energy on that side of the ball, he makes a lot of plays, great player."
Both of CU's starting offensive tackles have sustained leg injuries already this season.
Right tackle Jack Harris will not be available against CSU, and could be lost for the season. He is expected to have surgery today or Thursday to repair a fracture in his lower right leg sustained against Cal.
Sione Tau, a senior who had never played a snap on offense until filling in for Harris last week, is penciled in as the starter.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who missed the Cal game after suffering a sprained knee in the opener at Hawaii, is day to day. And his backup, Ryan Dannewitz, is also recovering from a sprained knee suffered against the Bears.
Embree won't decide who the starters are until Thursday.
Richardson, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week, was asked Tuesday if he had an encore performance in him for CSU.
"What am I going to do for an encore? That's a tough question," Richardson said.
Cal finally started double-teaming Richardson in the second half. The speedy sophomore expects cornerbacks to get help from a safety when covering him the rest of the season.
"We showed ourselves a lot," Richardson said of the confidence the offense gained after racking up 582 yards against Cal. "We've been having success in practice against the scout team, but to do it against an opponent was big for us. We built a lot of confidence off of that."
CSU is looking to open a season 3-0 for the first time since 2009. The Rams opened that campaign with a win over CU and closed it with nine consecutive losses. ... This year's game and the 2015 game are the only two matchups in the 10-year CU-CSU contract that won't be played the first week of the season.