WEEK 5: Let's talk Colorado vs. Beavs

OREGON STATE's opponent this Saturday, Colorado, is the most rested team in all of college football. They're not just coming off a bye, it feels more like a TV show returning from summer hiatus. They haven't played since Sep. 7. That all changes when Oregon State plays host to the Buffaloes Saturday in an early tilt (noon, TV: Pac-12 Networks).

Flooding in Boulder postponed the Fresno State game and then Colorado had a scheduled bye. Add it all up and it will have been three weeks between games for Colorado by the time they square off against the Beavs.

With two games under their belt, it's hard to determine with a whole lot of certainty but it looks like first-year coach Mike MacIntyre might have Colorado on the right path.

Colorado is 2-0, already doubling their win total from last year.

They beat Colorado State (1-3) by a score of 41-27 and Central Arkansas (1-2) 38-24. Given the state of Colorado football, to start out 2-0 was huge.

Colorado can't run (96.5 ypg) but they're still better than the Beavs (55.0). Sophomore running back Christian Powell's deep thigh bruise has in part limited him to 64 hashes, and junior Tony Jones leads the team with 85 yards. But the biggest culprit has been the offensive line.

Still, that o-line has been better than expected in 2013 given the depths Colorado has plumbed and they've protected Connor Wood well enough.

Wood has thrown for 741 yards with six touchdown passes in CU's two wins and he's only been picked twice.

He's also got that confidence-thing going, saying the preseason Manning Passing Camp showed him, "I can throw as well as A.J. McCarron or Johnny Manziel."

Wide receiver Paul Richardson is one to watch when Colorado has the ball, he had 10 catches for 208 yards and a pair of long touchdowns (82, 77) in the opener.

OVER ON DEFENSE, Colorado is playing far better than last year through two games.

They're allowing 4.17 yards on first down, an improvement over nearly eight yards in 2012. Opponents are just 8-for-33 on third down conversions. The Buffs are allowing 77 rushing yards per game, as opposed to 220 yards last year.

The new coaching staff and scheme are certainly contributing factors but the biggest reason for the early turnaround can be found in last year, when Colorado played a bunch of freshmen on defense.

And success begets success, with Colorado players growing in confidence.

Defensive coordinator Kent Baer implemented his own brand of 4-3 defense but what he's really done so well in his first year at Colorado is to teach, and to build his players back up mentally.

The first few minutes of the game should be telling, just as they were with San Diego State.

STILL, COLORADO WILL HAVE a lot more to contend with on defense this week.

Sean Mannion leads the nation in both passing yards (1,604) and passing touchdowns (15).

He has completed 71.5 percent of his throws (133-of-186), and has just one interception.

His 169.5 efficiency rating ranks 12th in the land.

Colorado hasn't played against a receiver like Brandin Cooks, and Richard Mullaney and the Beaver TE corps will provide a significant challenge for the OSU secondary and linebackers.

Oregon State is a 10 1/2 point favorite.

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