Tuesday’s Pac-12 all-conference selections certainly left some at Colorado disappointed, as the Buffaloes got just two players onto the first team.
While the Buffs felt a bit slighted, however, one player who did make the first team made head coach Mike MacIntyre smile.
Junior Ryan Moeller earned a first-team all-conference spot at the all-purpose/special teams spot.
“Ryan is just an amazing young man,” MacIntyre said. “He has a phenomenal personality. He is an extremely tough physical football player. He’s very powerful and strong. He made the special teams position for first team, which he should. The way he’s played for us what we call our Buff position (on defense), he has really done a great job there for us.”
Moeller has been one of the many players that have stepped up for the No. 9 AP Buffs (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12), as they take on No. 4 Washington (11-1, 8-1) tonight in the Pac-12 title game.
Moeller is a former walk-on from Rifle High School. A starter at safety as a sophomore in 2015, he missed the final six games after a car accident left him with season-ending injuries.
At the start of this year, Moeller was beaten out on defense by Afolabi Laguda. But, his season changed after outside linebacker Derek McCartney had a season-ending injury on Sept. 17 at Michigan.
Although the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Moeller is much smaller than McCartney (6-3, 250), the Buffs used Moeller to replace McCartney. He’s had 36 tackles this season and done a great job of setting the edge at times on defense.
His ability on special teams has added to what he brings to the Buffs.
“He loves the University of Colorado, he’s a Coloradoan,” MacIntyre said. “It means everything in the world to him to be playing here. He has helped us elevate ourselves to where we are. I can’t thank Ryan enough.”
With several games to be played around the country this weekend, there remain several scenarios for where the Buffs would play in the postseason.
To somewhat simplify it, here’s the basic options for CU.
If the Buffs win:
1. There’s a chance they could get into the College Football Playoff top four and play for a national title. Most likely they would need Clemson to lose to the ACC title game to make this happen.
2. If they won’t reach the CFP, the Buffs would go to the Rose Bowl if they win tonight.
If the Buffs lose to Washington:
1. Rose Bowl: Washington would have a great chance to get to the CFP, and if the Huskies get there, the Rose Bowl is still in play for the Buffs. The Rose would choose between CU and Southern Cal. The Rose Bowl will look at the CFP rankings, but does not have to take the team that finishes higher in the rankings. They could look at several factors, including USC’s win against CU, the fact that CU won the South division, and the possible financial benefits to either team.
2. Cotton Bowl: If the Buffs are left out of the Rose Bowl, they could wind up in Dallas. After the CFP, Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls set their matchups, the Cotton will take the highest-ranked CFP team still remaining. That could be the Buffs.
3. Alamo Bowl: The Alamo is the second choice of the Pac-12, and certainly if the Buffs are not picked for the CFP, Rose or Cotton Bowl, they could wind up here.
4. Holiday Bowl: Seems like a long shot at this point, but it’s still possible for CU to land here. That would likely require Washington be left out of the CFP, putting the Huskies in the Rose Bowl. Then if USC is the choice of the Alamo, CU would go to the holiday.
The College Football Playoff selection and bowl selections will take place on Sunday. By the middle of the afternoon Sunday, we should know where the Buffs are headed.
- In the Pac-12 opener at Oregon on Sept. 24, the Buffs gave up three rushing touchdowns to the Ducks. Since then they’ve allowed just three in the last eight games combined – all against Arizona on Nov. 12.
- Tonight against No. 4 Washington, CU is seeking its first win against a top-five team since Sept. 29, 2007, when they knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma 27-24 in Boulder. This is just the sixth time since then that CU has faced a top five team. All-time, the Buffs are 12-54-2 against top five teams.
- CU has forced the opponent to a three-and-out on 33.5 percent of possessions (57 of 170), ranking 12th nationally.
- Tonight will be just the second time CU has played on Dec. 2. The only other time came in 1961, when the Buffs beat Air Force, 29-12, in Boulder.
- Linebacker Jimmie Gilbert has had six forced fumbles this season, just one shy of the record, set by Jashon Sykes in 1999.
- Receiver Shay Fields needs 97 receiving yards to become the 10th player in CU history with 2,000 for his career.
- Phillip Lindsay needs 119 all-purpose yards to reach 4,000 for his career. Currently, Rodney Stewart and Eric Bieniemy are the only Buffs to reach that milestone.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.