Brian Howell
Brian Howell

Very little evidence exists that suggests the Colorado football team can walk onto the Folsom Field grass on Saturday afternoon and defeat the Oregon Ducks.

Oregon beat the Buffaloes by 56 points last year and by 43 points in 2011. The Ducks are a 38-point favorite this time.

Oregon is the No. 2 team in the country, and really might be playing better than anybody at this point. Colorado is trying to rebound from a 44-17 loss at Oregon State.

Oregon is 28-3 since CU joined the Pac-12 in 2011. CU is 6-22.

"Nobody thinks we're going to win," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said.

Because of that, the Buffs should be as worry-free as at any point during the season.

Some games are critical for different reasons. The Buffs really had to beat Colorado State in the opener because, well, losing to CSU just isn't good business for CU. Losing to Central Arkansas in Week 2 would have been embarrassing, so they had to have that one, too.

Last week, the Buffs had many people believing they could go to Corvallis, Ore., and upset Oregon State. That was a big game because it was seemingly a winnable game on a schedule with only a few winnable games.

Most people, however, have had this one penciled -- or make that Sharpie-d -- in as a loss since the day the schedule became official. This is about as much of a lock as any game on the docket.


Except this is sports, and sometimes upsets happen. How many times over the years has a no-doubt-about-it winner actually lost? It may not be frequent, but it happens.

Buster Douglas stunned the boxing world by knocking out the invincible Mike Tyson on Feb. 11, 1990. The United States men's hockey team took a collection of college kids and shocked everybody by defeating the mighty Russians and winning the Olympic gold medal in 1980.

Nobody thought the 2007 New York Giants would wind up holding the Lombardi Trophy, especially knowing they had to get through the 18-0 New England Patriots to do it.

How about Appalachian State beating No. 5 Michigan in 2007?

These are some of the greatest upsets in sports history, but that's how the Buffs have to think this week, because if they do actually win this game, it will rank among the all-time shockers.

While there isn't much reason to believe it'll happen, Colorado has to go into the game thinking it will.

"We should be loose and we should be ready to play," MacIntyre said. "We're the only ones who think we're going to win. It frees you up to go play as hard as you can play. You should always feel that way, to be honest with you. Hopefully we do."

Quarterback Connor Wood said this week that in the spring, during one of MacIntyre's first-ever meetings with the team, he told his players they were great. He also said, "We're going to win a bunch of games next year if you don't pay attention to the other teams' decal," Wood recalled.

"I think a lot of teams when they walk in the stadium, they see Oregon and see all their flashy stuff and they get all scared," Wood said. "You have to respect, but you just can't get intimidated by how much they score, by their winning record and all of that. You have to go out there and play."

Were the Buffs intimidated by Oregon in 2011 and 2012?

"I think so, yeah," Wood said.

Evidence suggests the Buffs should be intimidated this time, too, but Wood said that won't happen.

"It's a new mentality this year," he said.

That may not translate into an upset for the ages, but the Buffs are going to give it their best shot.

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