There are several things we know about the 2001 Colorado Buffaloes.
We know that they are 3-1 and 1-0 in the Big 12. We know that they are running the ball like no CU team ever has and that the next four weeks will define this team.
Are the Buffs a top 25 team? Are they a top 10 team? Or should they be right where they currently are, not ranked in the top 25?
The answers to these questions will begin to unfold on Saturday, when the Buffs travel to Manhatten, Kansas to take on the #12th ranked Kansas State Wildcats.
The Buffs have lost four in a row to the Wildcats and will face there biggest test of the season against a K-State team that is coming off a 1 point loss to the defending National Champions. The most intreging match-up will be the Buffs potent running game, which is averaging 245 yards a game, against the strong Wildcat defense. A defense that held Oklahoma to 26 yards rushing last week.
If the Buffs can come away with a victory, it will mark the first time since 1994 that the Wildcats have lost consecutive regular season games and would put CU right in the middle of the Big 12 North Division title hunt.
If the Buffs lose, they won't have to wait too long for another shot at a ranked team. After the Wildcats, CU welcomes to Folsom #24 ranked Texas A&M and then travel to Austin for a battle with #5 ranked Texas.
These next few weeks could either propel CU into the national spotlight, or push them further down into the "other teams receiving votes" category.
Before the Buffs look too far down the road, they are going to have there hands full with K-State. "This is the one that will tell us a lot," Coach Gary Barnett said.
Beside a crushing defense, the Wildcats offense is coming into its own, especially QB Ell Roberson. After a slow start in his first game against USC, Roberson is coming off two impressive games against New Mexico State and Oklahoma.
Against the Sooners, Roberson accounted for 372 yards out of the 444 total yards gained, running for 115 yards and three touchdowns and throwing for 257 yards and a TD. Not bad for a Sophomore quarterback, but can he play at that level on a consistent basis?
If he can't, the Wildcats will turn to a strong set of runningbacks, including Josh Scobey (ranked third in the Big 12 with a 107 yard average) and former action-hero Rock Cartwright.
If the Buffs want to make a run, the race begins Saturday in Kansas.