5 Questions, Buffs-Jayhawks

Inside, 5 Questions about Saturday's game between Colorado and Kansas.

1) Do we see a little bit of James Cox?

Head coach Dan Hawkins this week didn't rule out the possibility of using senior quarterback James Cox vs. Kansas after starter Bernard Jackson struggled mightily in the loss at Oklahoma. Jackson won the starting job from Cox after Cox started Game 1 for the Buffs this season. But Cox, who had more experience coming into this season, may be better equipped to deal with blitzes Kansas could send his way.

2) Can the Buffs pressure KU quarterback Adam Barmann?

With starter Kerry Meier out with a shoulder injury, Kansas turns to Barmann, a senior, who's played plenty this season, including three starts. Meier is a threat to run, Barmann isn't. In last year's game, the Buffs sacked then KU-quarterback Brian Luke on a 4th and 1 in the first quarter, took possession and quickly scored. It was the beginning of a 44-13 rout.

3) Does Stephone Robinson lose his return job?

Junior return man Robinson has had his best days against Kansas, returning punts for touchdowns the past two times the two teams met. Two years ago, the last time Colorado played in Lawrence, Robinson's punt return for a touchdown sparked a CU victory. Last year, Robinson's 81-yard return put the cap on the game in the 4th quarter.

But Robinson has struggled this season with fumbles and poor decisions, which haven't been counterbalanced by big plays. A costly fumble in Norman last week was enough for CU to open up the punt return competition this week in practice.

4) Which team finishes?

The Jayhawks — 3-5 overall, 0-4 in the Big 12 — are in the middle of a heartbreak season. Two of their five losses have come in overtime. Two others have come when their opponent scored the winning points in the final moments of the game. Another loss came after Kansas jumped out to a 17-0 lead (vs. Oklahoma State).

Colorado (1-7, 1-3) has had its share of missed opportunities this season, too. The Buffs have lost three games by four points or less. Both teams have an opportunity to take steps toward learning how to finish a game.

5) What is the Buffs' mentality given hopes for postseason play are all but gone?

Colorado is not out of the Big 12 title hunt mathematically, but the Buffs would have to win out and get lots of help from teams playing Missouri and Nebraska down the stretch for a chance to play in December. But at 1-3 in the conference right now, postseason hopes are essentially over. To the CU staff and players' credit, the team hasn't played like a defeated bunch this season, even as the losses have piled up. Those efforts, however, came with some of their goals still on the table in front of them. How will they respond this week?


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