What If?

Gary Barnett has coached two teams at Colorado that have played for the Big 12 title at the end of the season. What's one thing both teams had in common? Both the 2001 Big 12 champion team and the 2002 Big 12 North winner lost their season openers. That being said, is there a danger of placing too much emphasis on Saturday night's game with CSU?

Last season Barnett said Colorado was going to "unleash hell" on the Rams in both teams' season opener. There was some reason Barnett and the team were feeling their oats leading up to that game against the neighbors to the north.

Thing is, I can't remember what it was. Probably something Bradlee Van Pelt said.

Seven months worth of ugly headlines have made last year's preseason motivation utterly forgettable. In retrospect, Bradlee The Mouth was nothing compared to Mary Keenan and Prescient Communications.

So now the Colorado Buffaloes are primed to unleash seven months worth of a slow boil when the football is kicked off at Folsom Stadium. Word is that the players are so stoked for the game coaches have given up trying to rein them in. But could the Buffs be putting too much emphasis on the game?

History has shown if CU falters Saturday, the season is not over. Nevertheless, CU players say Saturday's game CAN'T be over-emphasized.

"Every game is important," Sam Wilder said. "You've got to emphasize every game. I don't think you can over-emphasize any game."

Asked if there was a danger in putting too much emphasis on Saturday's game, fellow team captain Matt McChesney said: "I think it would be a danger if we were playing a Middle Tennessee State or a Division I AA team like a lot of people do. But we're playing one of our rivals."

And confidence? CU players are slowly, quietly boiling with it.

"We can do whatever we want to do as long as we put our mind to it and we go out there and be aggressive," Brian Iwuh said.

Barnett is 1-4 in openers at Colorado. Something (OK, a lot of things) tells me he's going to get his second win in a season opener Saturday night and the Buffs will travel to Seattle 1-0.

First things, first, however.

"Right now CSU is the most important game we're playing," McChesney said. "Our whole goal is coming here Saturday night and beating CSU. There's no way we could put too much emphasis on this game. The more the better."


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