Relax. A few losses won’t diminish Coach Prime’s shine

Written by on September 27, 2023

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Before we begin, I’d like to welcome newbies who jumped aboard this Coach Prime bandwagon as it was bulldozing sports and pop culture. 

Many of you never imagined staying up to watch such a thing, but there you were on Sept. 16, when Colorado vs. Colorado State kicked off at 10 p.m. ET and became ESPN’s fifth most-watched college football game ever. Tuning in for last Saturday’s game didn’t require sleep deprivation, but it was emotionally taxing to see Oregon stomp Colorado, 42-6. 

Most who watched the thrilling overtime win a week earlier likely endured the depressing blowout, too. Although the Buffaloes are 3-1, the Prime Effect has yet to lose — that game against Oregon on ABC marked the largest Nielsen-measured audience all season. Up next on Saturday is another guaranteed ratings bonanza, a game with star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams pitted against star quarterback and Coach Prime’s son, Shedeur Sanders.

Let’s keep it real in this bona fide fantasy. Tenth-ranked Oregon was favored by 21 points and led by 35 at halftime. Eighth-ranked and undefeated USC is favored by 27 points, having outscored its opponents 220-80 combined. We recognize that point spreads aren’t infallible, proven when Colorado whupped 21-point favorite TCU. But there’s a good chance the Buffaloes will suffer a second straight defeat without injured two-way star Travis Hunter

We just called this meeting to check on y’all and remind folks that everything’s fine. No need to worry that a couple-few losses will thwart the momentum of head football coach Deion Sanders. Relax.

Revel in the journey and soak in every moment of this wild and crazy ride, even the bumps that make haters rejoice. Only relevant programs get talked about, and Colorado generates enough lip-smacking to power a field of windmills.

College football has been around since 1869, and it’s full of established attitudes and customs. At the highest level of competition, the Football Bowl Series, contention for national titles is typically reserved for a handful of tradition-rich programs and a rotating cast of unexpected guests. Outsiders need not apply.

But the sport is shook by Colorado, thanks to Sanders’ knack for disruptive innovation. He crashed the party and totally changed the vibe. Loud enough by himself, he’s been accompanied by throngs of rollicking Black newcomers who cheer each move and claim the Buffs as their own.

Deion Sanders, Coach Prime Effect, Colorado Buffaloes,
Head coach Deion Sanders of the Colorado Buffaloes watches action against the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Sept. 2 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Of course, the establishment is jealous of the outsized attention and it relished Oregon’s rout, hoping USC delivers another one. Pay the old guard no attention. Let them celebrate while they can because we’re singing like McFadden & Whitehead: Ain’t no stopping us now. Sanders let ’em know in his postgame news conference last Saturday.

“One thing I can say honestly and candidly: You better get me right now,” he said. “This is the worst we’re gonna be. You better get me right now … I know I have on shades, but I can see the future and it looks good.”

It looks great to me, too, but some of us need to adjust our perspective. 

Since 1936, only 27 schools have won Associated Press national championships in football. Thirteen of them won once or twice. Another half-dozen schools have claimed three titles. Institutions like Alabama (12), Notre Dame (8) and Oklahoma (7) are outliers. Winning the national title is exceedingly difficult and extremely unlikely for roughly 85% of the 133 FBS schools. 

Just three games into Sanders’ tenure, and a year after going 1-11, Colorado has joined the upper crust. Instead of fretting about blemishes this season, picture all the top players who’ll soon head to Boulder, drawn by Sanders’ magnetism, the buzz of other A-list celebrities and the breathtaking mountain views. The Buffs might never win a national title, but they’ll be in the mix.

A contingent from Jackson State wants us to note that Sanders failed to win the HBCU title before stepping down as their head coach, losing in the Celebration Bowl against South Carolina State and then North Carolina Central. We understand why some Mississippi family members are in their feelings, wishing Sanders was keeping them awash and not making it rain in Colorado. They’re entitled to their feelings, even as we contend that Jackson State — and HBCU football overall — benefitted from the experience.

And now a word to our white cousins in Buffs Nation, be they alumni, faculty, students or fans. 

Understand that we’re ride-and-die at this moment, but we’re out if/when Coach Prime leaves. While your black-and-gold colors are ice cold, and Ralphie the Buffalo is a beast, we won’t stick around if he doesn’t. I imagine that creates a conflict for some, forced to weigh the joy of having Sanders, against the pain of our presence alongside him. 

But it’s a package deal.

Besides, regardless of our football knowledge or appreciation for your institution’s history, this bandwagon wouldn’t be nearly as lit without us. Get used to it, because just like Sanders says:

We here.”

Deron Snyder, from Brooklyn, is an award-winning columnist who lives near D.C. and pledged Alpha at HU-You Know! He’s reaching high, lying low, moving on, pushing off, keeping up, and throwing down. Got it? Get more at

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