CU's focus vs. OSU's mental state
Both teams are fragile mentally at this point in the season. CU, which came into the season aiming for a second straight South division title, has been humbled with a 0-3 start to conference play. Oregon State's 0-3 start was followed by the shock of head coach Gary Andersen resigning on Monday. This game could be determined by which team has more mental strength.
CU defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot vs. OSU offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven
Eliot's crew was shredded by Arizona last week, while McGiven's offense has struggled all year. CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said this week that OSU and its coaches really have nothing to lose at this point. The Buffs are expecting OSU to throw in some new wrinkles offensively. If they do, how will Eliot and his group respond?
CU's receivers vs. OSU's cornerbacks
Seniors Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross haven't been very productive in Pac-12 play. Combined, they have just 280 yards and one touchdown in three conference games. Meanwhile, Oregon State has been terrible against the pass. This is a golden opportunity for CU to get its aerial attack going.
CU offensive line vs. Oregon State front seven
Given the inconsistency of the line this year, this will be a key matchup in just about every CU game. The Buffs' line and tight ends were great in run blocking last week. They'll need a great game this week, and the opportunity is there to do that. OSU is allowing 199.2 rushing yards per game and has a conference-low seven sacks.