BOULDER – Almost a month into the season, first-year Colorado Coach Mike MacIntyre has been extremely impressed with what he has seen from his new conference.
After spending the previous three seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, MacIntyre expected to see an increase in talent when he agreed to make the jump to the more prominent Pac-12 Conference. But even he has been surprised by the overall depth and quality the conference has consistently put on display each Saturday this season.
“I think the conference is very good from top to bottom,” MacIntyre said following Wednesday morning’s practice. “I think a lot of other teams in the league are excellent and I think it looks like anybody can beat anybody on a given Saturday right now. Maybe except Oregon. They’re kind of pummeling everybody still, which is good for national pub but for the Pac-12, hopefully it’ll be competitive as it goes along with them, too.”
Oregon State, CU’s opponent Saturday in Corvallis, Ore., is a prime example of just how deep the Pac-12 is when it comes to quality teams. At the top of the conference are the four teams that are nationally ranked in both polls (Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington) but the fact that there are so many good teams beyond those four is a testament to how good the conference really is.
“Oregon State was a top 25 team going in (to the season) and now they’re 3-1,” said MacIntyre. “I think they’re very, very good. They’re a quality, well-coached team and they’re capable of beating anybody.”
CU could also be included in the argument that the Pac-12 may be the nation’s deepest conference. The Buffs are one of six teams in the league remaining unbeaten thus far into September. The Beavers are just one missed field goal against Eastern Washington away from possibly giving the conference its seventh unbeaten team.
“They’re very explosive offensively and so are we,” said MacIntyre. “I think it’ll be an exciting game, no doubt. The fans will definitely enjoy it.”
NOTABLE: MacIntyre believes the game will be a showcase of two of the country’s best wide receivers in Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks and CU’s Paul Richardson. MacIntyre said while both receivers will probably spend a good deal of time observing each other on the sidelines that neither will be focused on out-doing the other: “I’m sure they both want to win the game more than they want to put up individual stats.” . . . . The Buffs will practice again Thursday morning from 9:30-11:00 before heading for Corvallis early Friday afternoon. CU will fly by charter into Eugene, Ore., and be headquartered there before busing to Corvallis on Saturday morning . . . . Saturday’s kickoff is at 1:07 p.m. MDT in Reser Stadium, with the game televised on the Pac-12 Network.