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CU, Colorado State squander bowl game opportunities despite improvement

Both programs saw dramatic improvement this season, yet neither made it to the six-win threshold for bowl eligibility.
Deion Sanders
Posted at 9:25 PM, Nov 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-27 23:26:13-05

BOULDER, Colo. — The banners on Pearl Street still look pristine, but the hype has definitely faded.

“We already marked some of the CU stuff down, so we might keep marking it down as winter passes,” said Noah Feldman at Where the Buffalo Roam gift and novelty shop.

University of Colorado Buffs gear isn’t quite flying off the shelves like it was at the beginning of the football season and the dawn of the Coach Prime era.

“We’ve had great weeks, record-breaking weeks and days even,” Feldman said.

“We sell a lot of CU merch,” said Taylor Zmolek, who was working the register at Where the Buffalo Roam. “A lot of CU fans come in here. And the better the team does, the better we do.”

Both CU and Colorado State University squandered potential bowl appearances down the stretch — CU lost its last six straight games while CSU dropped four of its last seven, including a heartbreaker in Hawaii.

“The Colorado State situation shows you how fickle the football season is,” said local radio host Zach Bye with The Drive on 104.3 The Fan. “There’s not a lot of games. Had they beaten Hawaii, they’d be going bowling and doubling their win total year over year.”

Bye said both programs missed some opportunities this season and believes CU likely has a tight window with head coach Deion Sanders.

“I think the program is definitively headed in the right direction with Coach Prime. I just don’t know how long that road is,” Bye said. “And can that be used on the recruiting trail against him from other schools saying to recruits, ‘Are you sure he’s going to be there for your sophomore season?’ We just don’t know the answer to that question yet.”

For their part, Coach Prime and his players believe there’s more than a glimmer of hope for the future.

“You’re going to be pleased with what’s coming,” said Coach Prime after the loss to Utah. “I promise you that. Everything you see where we have a lack thereof or deficit, we’re going to fill that need.”

“At the end of the day, we played hard. And I mean, you can always build off that,” said CU defensive lineman Shane Cokes.

“The foundation that Coach Prime has built here, it’s on an upward trajectory. We’re going to be great,” said CU backup quarterback Ryan Staub.

“The past few years have been absolutely horrible. And even just the four, just the four wins they got this year, have been monumental for the team and all of CU,” said Zmolek.

“In general, both programs — Colorado State and CU under Coach Prime and Jay Norvell — are both headed in the right direction,” Bye said. “What direction and how high is that ceiling, that remains to be seen.”

CU, Colorado State squander bowl game opportunities despite improvement