At the end of this regular season the Buffaloes may be remembered as the best 6-5 team in college football history. They are so good that one of their quarterbacks, Vance Joseph, who would start at most schools, has been switched to tailback. That's because the first-string signal-caller, senior Kordell Stewart, holds 27 school records, including the one for career passing yards, with 4,410. And Stewart might not be the best quarterback on the team. Sophomore Koy Detmer, brother of Ty, the 1990 Heisman winner from BYU, is poised to step in should Stewart falter.
Beyond quarterback, Colorado gets even better. All five starters from the offensive line are back—a group that allowed only five sacks and was assessed just 14 penalties all year. Tailback Rashaan Salaam, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry in '93, has stellar ability. Wide receiver Michael Westbrook caught 33 passes and made 62 downfield blocks last season. All members of the defensive line return too.
"This team has really gotten good," says cornerback Chris Hudson. "I just hope we stay good. We all understand you can't walk up the hill; you have to run."
The hill is the schedule. Colorado's third game, at Michigan, follows a home game against defending Big Ten champ Wisconsin and precedes a date with Texas in Austin. If the Buffaloes beat the Badgers, the Wolverines and the Longhorns, they will have a good shot at ending up No. 1—that is, if they can then get past Oklahoma in Week 6 and Nebraska in Week 8.
Colorado hasn't fallen to many teams lately. Coach Bill McCartney lost 26 games from 1982 to '87, his first six years in Boulder. In the last five seasons, however, the Buffaloes have lost a total of 10 games. Says McCartney, "If we are a special team, our schedule will give us the chance to prove it."
And prove it they will.