http://acetalkingsports.blogspot.com/2015/10/cu-football-take-hand-off-panic-button.html The gap between the top of the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado football is not the size of the Grand Canyon any longer. No matter how much you try to point to not being able to beat an Oregon team that is reeling or how CU still doesn't have a signature win under the past two coaches, the fact is the gap looks more to be like the Cherry Creek path that separates Speer Boulevard. CU just needs to find the right bridge to end up downtown and getting caught in one way traffic. Oregon has more 4 and 5 star recruits on their current roster than CU has amassed in the last dozen or more years. Almost all of Oregon's recruits have been offered by numerous Power 5 conference schools, while CU is playing with a group that gets 2 or 3 guys that have legit Power 5 Colorado outplayed that group for an entire half and their start to the third quarter pretty much ended their chance at playing to Oregon's level with the Ducks being allowed to use their 4* track speed and NFL sized front lines. Oregon just ran the ball down CUs throat to end the second half. Oregon is down because they lost one of the best college QBs of all-time and don't have an answer for the teams that knock them on their ass right now. CU can't answer that bell because CU lacks Power 5 depth and quality of player at so many starting positions. Here are the guys that would start or get significant snaps for any Pac 12 team on CUs roster: Starter: Nelson Spruce, Stephane Nembot, Chidobe Awuzie, Tedric Thompson Signifcant Snaps: Kenneth Crawley, Kenneth Olugbode (at strong safety and not ILB!) To be fair, those six guys are probably 4-5 more than CU has had over the past 4-5 seasons for a team, so there is better talent, but the point is the talent gap is monumental, yet last year and to start this year, CU has already shown the ability to play with teams that on paper should destroy them. The positive is they are scheming and coaching at or above the level of most of the teams they face, the problem lies in talent and depth. But that area is less of a gap than it was from 2011-2013. CU has one of the top secondaries in the Pac 12. They have depth they have not seen and are finally closing the talent gap because they have a vision that can actually be seen. The Champions Center and Indoor Practice Facility were the closer that CU needed to sell the university. CU's campus is consistently a Top 10 campuses in the country for setting, aesthetics, etc. but the stadium and the big dog on any relevant Power 5 college program is football and CU just didn't have what they needed. After the Indoor Practice Facility is finished this winter/early spring, there will be no question, CU has the extras to attract recruits that ignored them not only due to their product on the field but the subpar facilities those overmatched athletes were receiving. CUs finished product will be amongst the Top 3 facilities in the Pac 12 with no better setting. The changes have already made impacts on this recruiting cycle. Colorado has landed three commitments from the state of Florida with Craig Watts Jr, Johnny Huntley and Anthony Julmisse. Rarely has CU had a player from Florida with 20 all-time. That group alone could have been a trio for a multitude of other Power 5 schools with Watts Jr. pretty much being able to choose any school in the country. CU hasn't had those sort of recruits in many years but got three in one class. They additionally got commits from two Georgia products with one of those players being Ronnie Blackmon who has over half a dozen Power 5 offers. The class is going to be small so it will look like a very subpar class, but it has guys that could probably have helped CU on the field during their respective visits as high school seniors. Hell, in the end of Hawk Love and Embree days they would have been starting already. But what about this year and will Mike MacIntyre do enough to prove the "gap has narrowed" as he put it in his post-game press conference? The Pac 12 is still the Pac 12, strong and a lot of good teams with a lot of likely bowl teams. Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Utah, USC and UCLA seem near locks to make a bowl while Arizona State should also and Arizona and Washington have good chances. The question is can CU get in that as well. The next three weeks says a lot about if CU has truly narrowed that gap. CU plays an ASU team that beat a Top 10 UCLA team but has also got trounced by USC and Texas A & M along with a late 4th quarter rally to put away FCS Cal Poly. Arizona has got boat raced in both of their Pac 12 games and looked only marginally better than UTSA at home. 2015 Arizona is not the 2014 version of the Cats. The last game in the trifecta is Oregon State. Oregon State has lost a lot of talent and not recruited well along with bringing in a new coach, it is a road win that CU must end their road woes at and take command of that game and put a beating on the Beavers. The following 3 weeks, CU faces a similar talent gap issue that they did versus Oregon but UCLA, Stanford and USC have much better QB play but probably not as strong OL/DL that Oregon has. CU has to play those games competitive and try to steal a win out of those 3 if there is any hope for a . To quit being doubted, the Buffs have to keep from getting boat raced all year. Washington State is no better than the team CU beat in the past with less talent and CU may be as talented as Washington State, it's a game they have to win. Utah looks unstoppable to end the season but the Buffs have always played Utah competitive and it's the same team for the most part that CU should have beat to close out the season last year. Doesn't sound like anything is sure; So my answer is, I don't know if MacIntyre and CU will prove that just as much as people claiming to believe the Buffs are still in the cellar. The Buffs have two very winnable games in the next three weeks. They have to show those close losses and morale victories can become tangible proof in getting a mark in the Win column. To prove the gap has narrowed, one win won't cut it and two is marginal, the Buffs MUST get at least three Pac 12 wins to prove they are moving up and just need more depth and some more talent. The positive is more talent appears to be on the way, but this game is won in the trenches, so some decent offensive line recruits must prove they can fill in and be as good or better than their predecessors with a year of college under their belt. Right now the Buffs are battling injuries, but for the first time in ages, there is at least more than a warm body filling that role. To get those three Pac 12 wins, we are going to need to see a healthy Michael Adkins and Addison Gillam along with some cohesion on the offensive line. 24 points isn't going to cut it in the Pac 12, the Buffs need to get to high 30s to low 40s consistently in this conference. CU has improved greatly on defense and seems to have stayed stagnant from last year's offense. The offense must improve and keep leads and not turn over the ball because against better competition, that is going to lose the game as evident by the 14 points off turnovers Oregon had. The best part of Saturday may be, the Buffs are now being questioned and told they are bottom of the barrel and after a tough loss to Hawaii, CU bounced back strong and found a way to destroy two lower level teams and have a bad day keeping consistent against in-state rival CSU but still come out with a win. Bury CU in 3 weeks if they go 0-3 or even 1-2, but for now, CU still has a legitimate shot at shutting up the haters. Finger pointed squarely at you lazy local media!