Colorado (-8): Two teams here that I see pretty clearly moving in opposite directions. Colorado State found their way to 7 wins last season, based mostly on the fact they returned 16 starters from a team that won 10 games in 2014. This year the number drops to 10 and I expect things to cool down a bit for the Rams. Frankly there is just a different level of athlete in this game with PAC-12 athletes out there against the level of guy Colorado State is getting in the MWC. The Rams likely finish below .500 in conference play, and the step up in competition I think will be too much for them to deal with here. On the other side we have Colorado and the biggest reason I’m optimistic about them this year is the return of Senior QB Seth Liufau. After a very strong 2014, Liufau took a step back in 2015, but I’m expecting a big year from him in 2016. This year the Buffs will go to more up tempo, fast paced offense which I think works towards Liufau’s strengths perfectly. What also helps Colorado is that they’ll return a whopping 18 starters this season. Now once conference play starts I’m not saying the Buffaloes will just clean up on people. In a matchup like this however I like their overall talent gap and big time experience edge. I’m fully expecting a double digit Colorado win.
Army (+16): At first glance a look at Army’s 2-10 record in 2015 won’t leave you walking away impressed. A deeper look however would show you how Army lost 7 games by a TD or less last season. Looking further you see that there are 17 starters returning on this team including basically the entire defense. Most of you know Army’s style by now. They’ll run the ball about 90% of the time, and this year they have a decent stable of RB’s to grind things out on the ground. Defense however I expect to be the clear strength of this team. I mentioned the 9 returning starters, and in now their third year under the current 3-4 things should be improved on that side of the ball. In short you’ve got two of the biggest things I look for when taking a big dog. They run the ball, which milks the clock, and they have a respectable defense. I’m not saying they’ll win the game, but if they don’t kill themselves with turnovers I think they are in a good spot to keep the game respectable. Temple should be good again this year with QB PJ Walker and RB Jahad Thomas leading the way. That said I think there is some two way over-reaction to what happened in 2015 in this line. Army isn’t going to be a 2 win team again, and I don’t expect Temple to be a 10 win team again either. I personally expected this line to be at 13.5 or 14, so at 16 I won’t be able to stay off Army. I think they hang around and lose this game something like 28-20.