Deion Sanders is coming. He’s coming to the Pac-12 and the University of Colorado. Who said so? He did. Over and over and over. In his first meeting with his new team at Colorado, “Coach Prime” punctuated nearly every sentence with “I’m coming.”

In an event that was part reality show and part sermon — and all Deion Sanders — he told his players, “There is not going to be any more mediocrity. Period. I’m coming. … I promise you it’s my job to get rid of you. I’m coming. … Usually when God sends me to a place, he sends me to a place to be a conduit of change. I’m coming. … The uniforms may not even look like they do now. I’m coming. The cleats, I guarantee you are going to be something special. I’m coming. … I ain’t going to be no more of the mess that these wonderful fans, the student body, and some of your parents have put up with for probably two decades now. I’m coming.” And so it went.

He didn’t worry about “triggering” or hurt feelings or making the players feel “safe.” With the cameras recording, he told them they’ll be replaced, that he’s bringing in his own players from his previous school, and that they should head to the transfer portal and find a new school.

Related
Utah would’ve benefitted greatly from an expanded playoff

“Those of you we don’t run off, we’re going to try to make you quit,” he said. “… I want ones that don’t want to quit, that want to be here, who want to work, who want to win. … I don’t want to get in the game and then find out I’ve got Jane when all offseason I had Tarzan.”

The over-the-top speech is something you might expect in a Hollywood script, but not in a real college football setting. If nothing else it was entertaining.

“We’ve got a few positions already taken care of because I’m bringing my luggage with me,” he said. “And it’s Louis (Vuitton). I’m coming. Yeah, the quarterback is coming. Yeah, about 10 more of them are coming. And they dogs. And they gon’ hunt. And they gon’ eat.”

The quarterback is the new coach’s son, Shedeur, who passed for 6,600 yards and 66 touchdowns in two seasons (to 14 interceptions) at Jackson State.

If all that weren’t enough to drive most of the players out of town, maybe his new rules will do it. Sanders told them that there will be no earrings, hats and hoodies in meetings. He said this while wearing a hat.

So the stage is set. Either this turns into a Netflix, up-from-the-Ashes movie or it flames out in embarrassment and “Prime Time” gives a press conference using the catch phrase, “I’m going.” He’s going to have to match wits with highly successful, innovative coaches in the Pac-12 — Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, USC’s Lincoln Riley, UCLA’s Chip Kelly — and Colorado has fallen far behind. It’s going to take more than flash to turn things around.

Ever since Colorado entered the Pac-12 with Utah in 2011, those programs have gone in different directions. The Buffaloes have had only one winning season while the Utes have won four division championships and two conference championships. The Buffaloes have had one winning season going back 17 years. It’s enough to make you wonder how they got in the Pac-12 in the first place.

“Prime Time” has credentials. Not only was he a Hall of Fame NFL player who once played in the Super Bowl (and the World Series), but he worked as a broadcaster for a while before he turned to coaching. He became the head coach at Jackson State two years ago.

Just as he did at Colorado, he began his coaching career at JSU with bold talk. He said he’d fill the home stadium. The school was already leading the FCS in attendance with 33,000 per game. They averaged 42,000 in Sanders’ first season and 44,000 in his second season. He said JSU would win the conference championship. They won two of them and 23 of 25 games. He vowed he would sign top Division I talent. He flipped a Florida State recruit (fans of his alma mater burned his jersey) and signed another top-50 recruit.

Even the way Sanders’ contract was constructed reflected his bold confidence. According to reporter Matt Brown, “Prime Time” was paid $300,000, which is fairly standard by FCS standards, but the rest of his contract was loaded with incentives — a $10,000 bonus for a conference division championship, $30,000 for a conference championship, $50,000 for a bowl win, and 10% of the total game ticket sales revenue if the number of tickets sold for a game surpassed 30,000.

Colorado gave him a five-year $29.5 million contract.

“I’m coming to restore, to replace and re-energize,” Sanders told his new players. “Some of y’all are salvageable. I’m not going to lie, everybody that sit their butt in a seat ain’t gonna have a seat when we get back. But I’m coming.”

It was pure “Prime Time,” this putting a new spin on basically the same stuff coaches declare when they’re hired. Now comes the hard part.

Deion Sanders speaks after being introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Colorado during a news conference Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. Sanders left Jackson State University after three seasons at the helm of the school’s football team. | David Zalubowski, Associated Press