Thomas Boyd / Associated Press
Game at a glance
Matchup: Oregon State Beavers (1-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)
Kickoff: 12:31 p.m. MDT
Where: Folsom Field in Boulder. Capacity: 50,183; Turf: Grass
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: KOA (850 AM & 94.1 FM).
Odds: Colorado by 18.5
Coaches: Colorado – Mike MacIntyre (13-28, 4th season; 29-49 career); Oregon State – Gary Andersen, 2nd season (3-12; 52-50 career)
Series: Oregon State leads 5-3 (tied 2-2 in Boulder)
For the first time in years, the Colorado football team had a game worth talking about.
The Buffaloes’ 41-38 win at Oregon last Saturday was the biggest win for the program in nearly a decade. It inspired a fan base, which responded by scooping up tickets this week.
As for the Buffs themselves?
“It was definitely fun like the first day, after we won,” senior Tedric Thompson said. “As soon as we got back and started watching Oregon State film, everybody forgot about it, everybody in our circle — the players and coaches.
“Everybody’s talking about it besides us. We’ve been focusing on this game.”
Sure, the Buffs (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) know the win at Oregon was huge, but they took every opportunity this week to remind everybody that they have plenty of work to do and that Saturday’s visit from Oregon State (1-2, 0-0) is just as important.
“It’s a new week with the same goals, so we’re just coming out here strong and starting fast every day and just working together as a team,” senior defensive tackle Jordan Carrell said. “We just have to worry about the best that we can be and we’ll be all right on Saturday.”
To this point in the season, the Buffs have proven that when they are at their best, they’re worth watching. That’s why a crowd of around 45,000 is expected for Saturday’s game — as of Friday morning, CU had sold more than 44,000 tickets — making it one of the most highly attended games in coach Mike MacIntyre’s four-year tenure.
“I would love to see a packed house,” MacIntyre said. “The more we keep being successful, the more that will happen. I believe it definitely will keep happening. We want to make those fans proud, there’s no doubt about it.”
CU made its fans proud with the victory at Oregon. Now, the challenge is to back up that win with another good performance, but the Buffs don’t seem worried about their ability to handle the challenge.
“We have a great group of guys,” senior cornerback Chidobe Awuzie said. “We really know how to get it done. We’ve been through the battles — blowouts, we’ve blown out some teams, we’ve been in close games on the winning end and the losing end. All that experience really built this team to where it is now. Definitely attitude, too. We don’t let things slide by anymore.”
This would be an easy game for CU to overlook.
After all, Oregon State has gone 3-12 since the start of last season, with two of the wins coming against FCS competition (and the other against San Jose State). The Beavers have even lost to CU, the only Pac-12 team to do that from 2014-15.
Odds makers expect an easy CU win this time around.
If the Buffs expect an easy day, they aren’t saying it publicly. They’ve been in Oregon State’s shoes as a heavy underdog and know those can be dangerous opponents.
“You have to respect every team in the Pac-12,” Thompson said. “They’ve got players just like we have players. You have to respect everybody. You have to prepare for every Pac-12 team because we’re all good, and we have all players.”
For the first time in a while, though, the Buffs have players that are energizing the fans, and they’d love to give them more than one game to talk about.
“We’ve been through hard times,” junior running back Phillip Lindsay said. “Hopefully we’re going to have a lot of great times.”
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.