Editor’s note: Ninth in a series previewing each team in the Pac-12.

It’s been about six months since new Colorado coach Deion Sanders, aka coach Prime, delivered a fiery, (in)famous introductory speech — which has since gone viral — to his team.

Actually, most of the players that attended that meeting that day are no longer on the team. But that was kind of the point. 

Among other things, the charismatic coach Prime, who previously led the program at Jackson State, explained that he was establishing a culture. 

“I’m coming. And when I get here, it’s gonna be changed,” he said. “So I want y’all to get ready to go ahead and jump in that (transfer) portal.” 

Sure enough, that’s what’s happened. 

Pac-12 previews: Is this the season Arizona returns to a bowl game?
Why Washington State is expected to be pass-happy again
How quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is leading resurgent Washington
Why the climb back to relevancy for Stanford football could prove to be difficult
Will high-profile Clemson transfer give Oregon State’s offense a big boost?
What will Oregon’s Bo Nix do for an encore?
Is Cal coach Justin Wilcox on the hot seat?
Youngest coach in FBS comes home to lead Arizona State

“Colorado recently updated its 2023 football roster. All of the names of players who are departing via the portal have been deleted,” The Athletic reported last month. “The revised roster lists 76 players: 12 returning scholarship players, 21 incoming transfers, 17 new freshmen and 26 walk-ons. Not listed are 17 more transfers who have verbally committed.”

Sanders cut 20 players after the spring game. 

How did coach Prime describe the unprecedented turnover his program is going through right now? 

“There’s no way that I can put new furniture in this beautiful home if we don’t clean out the old furniture,” he said.

Among the many new players — the new furniture — on the field for the Buffaloes is quarterback Shedeur Sanders, coach Prime’s son and Jackson State transfer. 

Cornerback Travis Hunter, regarded as the No. 1 recruit in the country, also signed with Colorado.

Will this experiment work out in the end? Who knows? 

Colorado finished 1-11 last season, closing the season on a six-game losing streak, including a 63-21 drubbing at home at the hands of Utah. CU has recorded only two winning seasons. It has posted a 69-134 overall record since 2006.

Despite that, television networks suddenly consider the Buffaloes must-see TV. 

In 2023, Colorado will be on national television for its first three games of the season since 1990, when the Buffs won the national championship. Colorado was on ESPN’s main network just twice last season. 

Speaking of cameras, there are a variety of cameras in the football facility. They are documenting the program for a reality show. 

Meanwhile, CU fans are buying into the hype. The spring game this year sold out, with 45,000 attending. CU’s previous high for a spring game was 17,800. Last year, the Buffaloes drew 1,950 for their spring game. 

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As Darian Hagan, the quarterback on Colorado’s national championship team, told ESPN.com: “All you see is him in Colorado, Colorado on TV, Colorado on social media, all eyes on Colorado. That’s what (I remember) this place being, under the microscope, top of the mountain, everybody’s wanting to knock us off. In the last 10 years, it’s been easy to knock us off. We’ve been bad.”

Colorado may, or may not, be very good this season. But thanks to coach Prime, a lot of people will be watching, no matter what happens. 

2022 record: 1-11 (1-8 Pac-12).

Local ties


2023 schedule

  • Sept. 2 @TCU.
  • Sept. 9 Nebraska.
  • Sept. 16 Colorado State.
  • Sept. 23 @Oregon.
  • Sept. 30 USC.
  • Oct. 7 @Arizona State.
  • Oct. 13 Stanford.
  • Oct. 28 @UCLA.
  • Nov. 4 Oregon State.
  • Nov. 11 Arizona.
  • Nov. 17 @Washington State.
  • Nov. 25 @Utah.
Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders takes a snap during Colorado spring game Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Boulder, Colo. | David Zalubowski, Associated Press
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