College Football
We only fuel Deion Sanders by doubting him
College Football

We only fuel Deion Sanders by doubting him

Updated Sep. 5, 2023 10:52 a.m. ET

It was too easy for us, and that should have been enough of a warning in itself.

Too easy to doubt Deion Sanders, too easy to pour scorn on the Colorado Buffaloes and the moment they were having, even before a single snap of the new season had been taken.

It was too easy to think that college football was just too complicated, the modern game too intricate, for an instant uplift of true significance to be possible for a program that was so downtrodden that the first task surely had to be to clean off all the mud.

Too easy to think that even with all the hype nothing could shine brightly from such a sunken starting point and that multiples of time, rather than an injection of Coach Prime, would necessarily be the more powerful antidote.


There are so many ways football-think has been proven wrong just one week – and one Colorado win – into the new campaign, that it's tough to count them all.

Coach Prime knows the tally.

[Deion Sanders told us Colorado was coming. Here's why you should have listened]

The Buffaloes are here, swaggering and surefooted, bouncing off a thriller against last year's national runner-up in TCU, heading into Saturday's home opener against Nebraska (noon ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) as, whisper it, a 3.5-point favorite.

Oh, come on, don't whisper it all. Shout it out like Sanders is shouting, unapologetically and without reservation, all the "I told you so's" that piled up getting unleashed at the same time.

"I read through all that bull-junk you wrote," Sanders told one reporter after the TCU win. "I read through all that. I sifted through all that."

Deion Sanders on Colorado's win vs. TCU: 'It was a phenomenal moment I'll never forget'

Sanders isn't the guy with blistering speed and impossible athleticism anymore, but the gamer spirit burns as bright as ever. He talked a lot about "keeping receipts" and we best believe he heard every skeptical voice. This is a coach and former player who has made a career, actually parallel sporting careers, out of taking any given slight and not sticking it down the critics' throats but chomping it up himself, metabolizing it, and turning it into a kind of motivational super fuel.

That's what he's done here.

[Prime’s roster revamp has overshadowed Colorado’s coaching upgrade]

There are two parts involved with acquiring proven winners. One is that they bring the ethos of winning with them and if things go right, are capable of getting those around them to live and breathe the same way.

Those things can be intangible, and they don't always work.

The other part is that proven winners win because they know how to pick their battles. No question about it, Sanders wanted a big, bad, nasty task to attack. Taking on a 1-11 team, ripping it up, and sliding in a bunch of newcomers was a monumental one.

What did Deion Sanders, Colorado prove in 45-42 upset win vs. No. 17 TCU? | SPEAK

But he also had a sense for it, that he knew that this was actually the perfect spot, where he could tap into a full repertoire of transferrable talent from other colleges, limit any leftover "baggage," douse the right amount of special sauce, while exacting complete change on the ideological front.

This is a guy who has done absurd things in the heat of competition and has been told "no" more times than he can count. This is how he likes it.

[Deion Sanders' contagious swagger has Colorado players believing they can be great]

At Florida State, he played football, baseball and track. One year, when the baseball and track conference championships happened to be at the same time, but in the same city, he competed in both, just a few hours apart.

They said he couldn't play both football and baseball professionally. He did. They said he couldn't play in the World Series and in an NFL game on the same day. He did that too.

Some people just have a force about them. He's one of them, and Colorado is literally bathing in his energy right now. At some stage there will probably be a reckoning. Until then, the good times are rolling.

He'll have a trick up his sleeve this weekend, because he always does. Leading into the TCU matchup, a whirlwind of attention everywhere and every overpromising prediction exhausted, he knew his players had heard a lot of him and wanted to bring in a fresh voice, a similar loud and bombastically and enthusiastic one, who he knew would deliver just the kind of tune he wanted.

Enter his former Dallas Cowboys teammate Michael Irvin, who addressed the team at practice.

"There's not a lot better than slapping people in the face with, ‘I told you so,'" Irvin told the group. "'You measured me and you didn't know what was in here [in my heart].'"

College football knows what's in the engine room of this Colorado team now. Shedeur Sanders is an early Heisman candidate. Travis Hunter looked destined for future NFL relevance. Dylan Edwards is an electrifying playmaker. A few weeks ago, they weren't on the radar for the wider sporting public.

[Is Deion Sanders' smashing Colorado debut the start of something big?]

Stick with Coach Prime for a while it seems, and you'll get pulled along in the slipstream.

That's what's happening here. No team has more momentum or buzz. No program has the eyes of the nation more firmly locked in on it. And no one is having more fun than the man at the center of it all, smile on face, celebratory mood cloaking him like armor, telling everyone they were wrong, and loving each moment.

How Deion Sanders, Colorado shook up the college football world | THE HERD

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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