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NY Post
New York Post
9 Sep 2023

NextImg:Nebraska vs. Colorado odds, prediction: Deion Sanders has last laugh

After upsetting No. 17 TCU as three-touchdown underdogs on Saturday, Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders called out media members in his post-game press conference. 

While Coach Prime didn’t assail me, I feel like he should have.

I wrote an article for the New York Post advocating for Colorado under 3.5 wins this season.

I didn’t believe Sanders could take a group of rag-tag transfers and turn them into a bowl contender in his first year at the FBS level. 

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I was wrong. I believe now. 

Per Collin Wilson, the Buffaloes took one of the largest week-over-week jumps ever recorded in The Action Network’s power ratings, jumping 13.5 points. 

In Bill Connelly’s SP+ power ratings, Colorado’s offense alone jumped 5.2 points. 

From a direct betting market perspective, Colorado went from nine-point underdogs vs. Nebraska this week to three-point favorites, a 12-point jump. 

In Week 1, Shedeur Sanders showed he was an elite FBS quarterback (47-for-52, 510 yards, 4 TDs, 86.3 Pro Football Focus passing grade). 

Colorado University QB Shedeur Sanders

Colorado University QB Shedeur Sanders
Denver Post via Getty Images

Travis Hunter showed he’s the best two-way player in college football (120 snaps, 11 catches, 119 yards, 1 INT). 

South Florida transfers Jimmy Horn Jr. and Xavier Wevaer flashed their explosiveness (17 catches, 235 yards, 13.8 yards per catch). 

Running back Dylan Edwards popped off for 135 receiving yards and three touchdowns on only five receptions. 

Colorado posted a 53% Success Rate overall and a 65% Success Rate on passing downs. 

I projected the TCU defense as bad, and the Frogs played lousy defense. But offensive coordinator Sean Lewis and the Buffaloes proved their offense is dangerous.    

I expect the Buffaloes to carry this offensive momentum into their Week 2 matchup against Nebraska. 

(12 p.m. ET., FOX)

What did we learn about Nebraska in Week 1? 

We learned that these are the same old Huskers. 

Nebraska allowed 10 points over the final 2:32 minutes to Minnesota, losing 13-10 on a last-second field goal.

The Huskers fumbled the ball with just under three minutes left, blowing what should’ve been a seven-point victory. 

Quarterback Chubba Purdy #12 of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Quarterback Chubba Purdy #12 of Nebraska Cornhuskers
Getty Images

Nebraska’s post-game win expectancy was 95%, but the Huskers are addicted to losing close games. 

The good news: new head coach Matt Rhule and new defensive coordinator Tony White installed their 3-3-5 defense, and the Huskers’ eight returning starters implemented it well. Minnesota finished with a pathetic 33% Success Rate and scored only 13 points on five scoring opportunities (drives past the opponent’s 40-yard line). 

But we need to put that performance in context. Minnesota is installing a brand new pass-happy offense with a new-ish quarterback (Athan Kaliakmanis).

The Gophers threw the ball 44 times but completed only 24 for 4.5 yards per attempt, and I’m unsure if we should’ve expected differently. 

Nebraska is unlikely to repeat its defensive performance against Colorado’s electric new-look offense, and that job becomes much tougher at 5430 feet of elevation.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sims and the Nebraska offense looked pedestrian in Week 1.

The Huskers rushed for 181 yards, but Sims went only 11-for-19 passing, and the offense generated only three drives past the Minnesota 40. 

Nebraska’s offensive performance looks worse when considering that Minnesota’s defense lost almost 60% of their defensive production from 2022, per Wilson of The Action Network. The Gophers’ defense was poor last season and is less experienced this season, yet Sims and Co. still couldn’t score. 

Colorado’s defense showed it’s still weak against TCU, but it’s much easier to defend against Sims and Nebraska than Chandler Morris and TCU, especially with the home-field elevation advantage. 

Colorado won’t score 45 points again, but the Buffaloes won’t have to against Nebraska. Nebraska won’t score only 10 points again, but the Huskers don’t have enough firepower to keep pace. 

Travis Hunter #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes signals first down after a catch

Travis Hunter #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes signals first down after a catch
Getty Images

Expect Sanders, Hunter, and co. to produce enough points to beat Nebraska. 

The play: Colorado ML (-140) at FanDuel

I also like the Under 59.5 total points in this game. 

As mentioned, I project TCU as a bad defense. While Minnesota is installing its new-look offense, the Gophers still have talent, specifically at the skill positions. 

Colorado faces a significant step up in defensive competition from TCU to Nebraska, and I expect that to show – at least moderately. 

Meanwhile, as mentioned, Nebraska can’t score. 

However, Colorado’s rush defense looks like a problem. 

TCU produced a whopping .46 Expected Points Added per Rush in Week 1, compiling 262 yards at 7.1 yards per attempt. 

And, as alluded to, the Huskers should be able to run the ball. Sims is a decent dual-action quarterback, and Nebraska boasts 120 career FBS starts on the offensive line. 

I doubt Nebraska will win the game because of their rushing attack, but they should be able to piece together longer, rush-heavy drives that drain the clock.

If Nebraska can piece together seven-minute drives that result in field goals, the Under will cash easily. 

The Action Network App’s PRO model projects only 51 points in this game, giving us an eight-point edge over the market. 

The play: Under 59.5 (-110) at PointsBet