Huge Game on Saturday!

Brian Howell (BuffZone.com)  —  Every game on the schedule is big, and the Colorado football team has done a good job of treating each game the same way.

There’s no question, however, that when the No. 19-ranked Buffaloes visit Southern California on Saturday, there’s a lot more at stake than in most games.

CU (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) heads to the Los Angeles Coliseum with a chance to seize control of the Pac-12 South division and take a significant lead over the defending champion Trojans (3-2, 2-1).

“We know we’re going to have to win a ton of Pac-12 games to win the conference, to win the Pac-12 South,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Also (USC) is a Pac-12 South team, so that makes it a little bit bigger. They’re all big … but if you can beat a Pac-12 South opponent, that puts them a notch behind you. It’s a big game for us.”

USC was the preseason favorite to win its second consecutive South title, but a CU win would give the Buffs a two-game lead on the Trojans, and the head-to-head tie-breaker. That’s essentially a three-game advantage over CU’s top competitor for the division.

With a loss, the Buffs fall into a tie with the Trojans, but would lose the head-to-head tie-breaker. CU would need some help to win the division.

Certainly CU will have a lot of work to do either way, but a victory Saturday would be a major step toward the goal to win the South.

Lynott, OL come through

CU’s offensive line has received a lot of praise for its performance in Saturday’s 28-21 win against Arizona State.

While several of the linemen played well, junior Tim Lynott took a big step forward. A week earlier against UCLA, he lost his starting job and barely played. Against ASU, he came off the bench and was back at his usual spot at right guard late in the game as the Buffs ran the ball to chew up the clock.

“He did a great job,” CU co-offensive coordinator/line coach Klayton Adams said. “He really focused on trying to make himself better, trying to be better fundamentally, trying to break some bad habits. He went in and played well.”

Adams said he was impressed with how Lynott – who had started each of his 27 career games before two weeks ago – handled the situation.

“Regardless, if you know there’s a good player behind you that can take your job, it heightens the urgency in practice, it heightens the urgency of competition, it makes you watch a little extra film,” Adams said. “Competition is so important in this sport. If you’ve got competition, you’ve got a chance to continue to grow.

“(What Lynott did), it’s leadership. I think it speaks the unselfishness of the entire team . Winning is the ultimate goal.”

CU once again made in-game substitutions up front. William Sherman, Brett Tonz, Colby Pursell, Aaron Haigler and Josh Kaiser started, but Lynott and Frank Fillip both played, as well.

Will that continue, or will the Buffs eventually settle on a group of five?

“The answer to that question is: When there’s five guys that are head and shoulders better than the rest of them we’ll be in a situation where we can do that,” Adams said. “You want to have continuity, you want guys that play next to each other know what to expect. I think you can develop that with six or seven guys.”

Preventing targeting

During the win against ASU, the Buffs lost linebacker Nate Landman to a targeting ejection. MacIntyre can’t comment on whether he agreed with the call or not because he could risk getting fined. He did, however, say the Buffs do their best to try to prevent those penalties.

“We tell our kids to hit in a strike zone and that’s what we work on all the time,” he said. “The referees are doing the best job they can to make sure we protect the kids.”

MacIntyre said they will send that play into the Pac-12 and get clarification “so we can know how to teach them and coach them.”

He added, “Right now I think we did everything exactly the right way (on Landman’s hit), but the referees are doing a great job of making sure they protect our kids. Our game is a lot safer and a lot better because of it.”

Landman will be able to return for the start of Saturday’s game at USC.

buffzone.com

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Trojan96
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There is a good possibility that SC loses if they do not correct the OLine.

Jamaica
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USC has had its way with the buffs since they came into the PAC-12. However, USC hasn’t been this suspect since then and CU hasn’t been 5 & 0 when playing the Trojans. Could be a close game. I can see Helton getting his team riled up and playing hard from the beginning in hope of CU getting any ideas this is a winable game for them. Helton needs this win badly. We will see how true CU is of a 5 & 0 team.

LawyerJohn
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I went up North for the Stanford game, and it left a bad taste in my mouth seeing that many Stanford fans so happy….So I am going to the Colorado game because I truly believe SC will play a really good game. Colorado is also good, so SC still might not win, but I look forward to seeing a much improved Trojans’ squad.

TrojanRJJ
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I sure hope you are correct. Enjoy the game.

fast fred
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There was question the other day about Todd McNair and what will happen with this new ruling about California and the NCAA–maybe you could answer?

TrojanRJJ
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Allen may have more insight than I do. CA law is very restrictive on any contractual provision that limits obtaining future employment. For example, this law bans an employer from barring an employee from quitting and working for competitor. As I understand the ruling, the judge held the NCAA “show cause” process violated this law. Thus, the NCAA cannot issue such a ruling against any coach working in CA. Judge is probably correct. The NCAA ban on McNair cost him his career. Simply illegal under CA law. Should not be a big deal. The NCAA is subject to CA law… Read more »

Old_Trojans_never_die
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When a horse is trained to take a bit and saddle, the process is called breaking the horse. It involves breaking the horse of bad habits and instilling good. In four years at USC several of our key players have not been broken. They still have the bad habits they brought with them when they were recruited. I have eluded to this as being sanctioned mentality, but actually I have begun to believe it is poor player management. The coaches don’t want to break their unruly horses so we have a team of free range thoroughbreds. Individually they are great… Read more »