Deion Sanders on Pressure Colorado Faces: ‘I’m Judged on a Different Scale’

Colorado coach Deion Sanders speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Allegiant Stadium.
Colorado coach Deion Sanders speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Allegiant Stadium. / Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
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Colorado coach Deion Sanders reflected on the pressure surrounding the Buffaloes entering his second season in Boulder after last year's hot 3–0 start was erased by a disappointing 1–8 finish.

During the Big 12 media day on Wednesday in Las Vegas, Sanders was asked if he feels an obligation to coach at a higher level based on who he is—a former Hall of Fame cornerback and one of the most electric personalities in all of football.

"I'm judged on a different scale. My wins are totally different than your wins," Sanders said. "Your wins—you're just judging football.

"That's why I have to start out and give you education and academics and so forth. I have to give you those things so you understand there's a greater scope. I can't win nine games and our GPA suffers. Our GPA can't be high but we lose another eight games. ... My wins are different. We have to win in every area. That's the way we're judged, and I'm cool with that because we come a little different so the expectations is greater."

The Buffaloes will be led in 2024 once again by Sanders's son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who is expected to be one of the top picks of the 2025 NFL draft. But there is a massive roster overhaul surrounding Sanders, as Colorado replaced all five starters on the offensive line and parted ways with a significant portion of the 2023 roster.

As CBS noted this spring, 61% of the high school recruits and transfers that signed with Colorado in 2023 are no longer on the roster. And that overhaul arrives one year after just 10 scholarship players from 2022 returned to Sanders's squad for his debut season in '23.

As one of four Pac-12 teams joining the Big 12 this year, Colorado was picked to finish 11th out of 16 teams in the conference's official preseason poll.

Sanders certainly has his work cut out for him this year—no matter what expectations follow him into the season opener against North Dakota State on Aug. 29.

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Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a staff writer and editor on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in November 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports and NBC Sports. Dierberger has a bachelor's in communication from St. John's University. In his spare time, he can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.