HCS Roundtable: Is the Colorado Experiment Really Going to Work?

NCAA Football: Colorado at Texas Christian

As we prepare for Week 3 of the 2023 college football season, the Big 12 conference prepares for its final week of nonconference games, while TCU and Houston get things kicked off in Big 12 play.

However, it’s impossible to deny that the biggest story in college football right now is what’s going on out in Boulder, Colorado. Deion Sanders has the Buffaloes ranked No. 18 and 2-0, and ESPN’s College Gameday is in town for Colorado-Colorado State.

With the country watching, it begs the question: Is the Colorado experiment really going to work out, or is this going to be short-lived? The Heartland College Sports discusses their thoughts.


Pete Mundo:

Yes, yes and yes. It’s already worked. Colorado football was the second-most watched game in America last week. Colorado freakin’ football! Every week there are stories being written and discuss around Deion. It’s not too early to answer this because Deion is a media-making machine, and in a fragmented media landscape where it’s harder and harder to get attention, Deion does that, and he will continue to do that, win or lose. I’m not predicting National Titles, but that shouldn’t be Colorado’s expectation. Theirs was simply relevancy, plus some wins. They’ve already gotten that and more.

Bryan Clinton:

I think it’s time to “believe” in what Deion Sanders has built in Boulder. The Buffaloes don’t have the best depth in the Pac-12, but it could be argued that their first-team skill talent is as good as there is in the conference. Sheduer Sanders, Dylan Edwards, Travis Hunter, and Xavier Weaver give the Buffs one of the most explosive groups of offensive talent in the country. If those guys can stay healthy, there’s not a defense in the Pac-12 that’s going to hold them under 30 points. So, what would be considered successful in 2023? It could be argued that they’ve already done that, doubling their win total from last season. However, this team is headed to a bowl game this season, as they’d only need three wins in Pac-12 play if they can take care of Colorado State this weekend.


Matthew Postins:

I’ve lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area most of my life, which means I was here when Deion Sanders was with the Dallas Cowboys. In my limited interactions with him as a young sportswriter, there’s something I learned — ‘Coach Prime’ shoots high and usually gets there. If you’re thinking that what he’s doing at Colorado is a fluke, then you weren’t paying attention to what he did at Jackson State. If he was going to fail as a coach and as a program builder, it was going to happen there. He’s just taking what he did at JSU and applying it to Colorado. Now, the competition is tougher and you may not like ‘the act,’ but he’s proven to me he knows what he’s doing. Colorado will be at minimum a bowl team during Sanders’ time in Boulder, but believe me when I tell you his expectation is to contend for championships now. And with the coaching staff he’s brought in — most notably offensive coordinator Sean Lewis, who left the head-coaching job at Kent State to join him — he’s building for the long run, even if he ends up leaving for another job in a few years. This isn’t an act or a blip. It’s sustainable.

Joe Tillery:

While Sanders and company still have their fair share of doubters in the world of sports media, I am not one of them. After recording back-to-back impressive wins against TCU and Nebraska, the Buffaloes have already proved their relevance in college athletics. While winning games is one thing, Coach Prime has ushered in a new culture to CU that hasn’t been seen in ages. Sanders was ridiculed heavily for his offseason roster construction through the transfer portal, but after inheriting one of the worst football teams in college football history, Sanders turned his Louis Vuitton luggage into a tough football team that can hang with just about anyone in the country. I may be a bit more sold on Sanders than most, but Boulder is buzzing to a point that hasn’t happened in years, and while I’m sure there will be teams attempting to lure him away from Colorado at the end of the season, Prime Time is here to stay.


Derek Duke:

Asking if the Deion Sanders experiment in Colorado is working is like asking if they sell weed in Colorado. The answer is obviously yes, and you don’t have to be high to understand why. The moment he stepped foot on campus is the moment they got better as a program. There is a reason they call Deion Primetime because that is exactly who is he and his football team resembles that. Look at the coverage Colorado is getting right now. Last season, this team was 1-11 and now they are on Big Noon Kickoff for the third straight week and College GameDay is coming to Boulder for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Deion is a smart man who understands today’s athletes. He can relate to them and is a proven winner at every level he’s been at. He can recruit, coach, and most importantly he knows how to get the most from his players. While he may be a bit unconventional from your traditional college football coach, his players are bought in and that is all that matters. When Colorado hired Deion, they put all their chips on the table and Deion is handing them back ten times the amount they put in. Just wait and see. The are indeed coming.

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