With recruiting behind us and most schools in the swing of spring drills (the last of the bunch kick off next week), the Pac-12 blog thought it would be fun to examine each team's chances of winning its respective division.
This is not whether the team of the day can win the Pac-12. And we're not predicting any winners. Rather, this is our take on the team's chances of winning the North or South.
Buy or sell Colorado winning the South?
Sell: So far, new Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre has said all of the right things -- chief among them is that it's going to take time to turn the Buffs from a struggling program to legitimate players in the league. It will take time for the systems to really take hold and time for the players to integrate to the way MacIntyre likes to do things.
I believe him. It is going to take a while.
Never mind that Colorado has enough quarterbacks to field a starting five for a basketball team. It's the lines that need the most work -- on both sides of the ball. A lack of experience never bodes well when installing a new offensive system with, potentially, a first-year starting quarterback. Look at the lines in the rest of the division. They are fierce. Colorado doesn't measure up yet.
It's not all doom and gloom for Colorado. This half of the Pac-12 blog likes to take the glass-half-full approach. It's possible that by this time next year, we'll be talking about the Buffs as having the best secondary in the Pac-12. At some point, all of those youngsters they played last year and will play this year will have to grow up. And when they do, it's very possible that we'll have a different take on this team in 2014 and beyond.
But realistically speaking for 2013, four to five wins would be considered a major step forward and a postseason berth would be phenomenal. It's OK to be excited for the future, but there are no illusions about Colorado in the present.
Sell: Everyone loves "worst to first" scenarios. We love underdogs. But often when you break down such scenarios, the team in question really wasn't that far behind the competition when it was "worst," thereby making the path to "first" not so arduous.
That's not the situation for Colorado.
Colorado ranked 120th -- last -- in the nation in scoring defense in 2012. The Buffaloes were 117th in scoring offense. They "led" the nation with a negative-28.17 scoring differential, despite playing four games decided by a touchdown or less, one of which was a loss to FSC Sacramento State.
This team will be better than 2012. Call that a guarantee. It will win more games. It will be more competitive in losses. The product will be less "oh no" for fans.
But that's mostly based on a "nowhere to go but up" situation.
As much as Kevin and I both like the MacIntyre hire and his approach thus far -- realizing he's yet to coach a game, of course -- Colorado won't win the South Division next fall. It's a good bet, even today, that it won't win the South in 2014.
MacIntyre has undertaken a rebuilding project. A quick fix is unlikely to happen and probably isn't advisable. Next fall, the Buffs will try to lay the foundation for a positive future. But it won't be in the conference title hunt.