The spotlight hasn't shined as bright on Arizona State as it has on Colorado, and the results to this point haven't been the same.
Yet, in many ways, CU and ASU are in similar positions as they prepare to meet in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday ( 4:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network).
Both programs hired new head coaches last offseason and both went through major roster overhauls.
CU's Deion Sanders brought in 87 newcomers, including 68 new scholarship players, 40 of which were transfers. CU led the country in all three of those categories. Second was ASU, with 78 newcomers and 40 new transfers under first-year head coach Kenny Dillingham.
So far, Sanders and CU (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) have had more success than the Sun Devils (1-4, 0-2), but both come in looking to get on track. And both head coaches expressed respect for each other this week.
"I was assembling a staff once upon a time," Sanders said. "I'm not gonna tell you (where), but (Dillingham) was a part of it and we communicated quite a bit and I was happy with every step that he's taken because I know he's that guy. I know he's been more than capable. So when I saw him get this opportunity, I was ecstatic.
"He is great for that program. He's great for college football. He's a tremendous mind offensively; tremendous mind, but he's gonna be a great head coach, man. I have the utmost respect and love and admiration for him."
Dillingham added that he met Sanders in 2019 when Dillingham was at Auburn and recruited now-CU quarterback Shedeur Sanders.
"I have a lot of respect for ( Coach Prime) and he's done a phenomenal job," Dillingham said. "They're building something there and he's gonna do a great job there and he already is."
CU started 3-0 and vaulted to No. 18 in the national rankings before back-to-back losses to Oregon and USC. ASU, meanwhile, got a narrow win against Southern Utah of the FCS in the opener and has lost four in a row.
The Sun Devils have battled numerous injuries, including at quarterback, but Sanders said he has no doubt Dillingham will have them ready.
"They play tough, they don't give up; there ain't no quit in them," Sanders said. "I mean, that's who he is. They're building something that's going to be tremendous. You've just got to keep watching the story and see how it unfolds. But you can't take a team like that lightly whatsoever. Negate the records, negate all that nonsense and understand this team is building something and they're gonna be phenomenal. I believe in coach Dillingham tremendously."
Both teams come into this week looking to snap conference losing streaks. CU has lost eight consecutive Pac-12 games, the longest current streak in the conference. ASU has lost six in a row since its 42-34 win in Boulder on Oct. 29, 2022.
Praise for Shedeur
Shedeur Sanders has been one of the top quarterbacks in the country this season, completing 74.8% of his passes for 1,781 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. It's no surprise to Dillingham.
"(During the recruiting process in 2019), I got to meet with him on a whiteboard and he was phenomenal," Dillingham said. "Super smart as a 16-17 year old. ... An unbelievable throwing session out in the indoor field for a camp session. It was unbelievable. Seeing him put it together here in college doesn't shock me. He's an older version of what that 17-year-old was.
"He's always poised. He's very hard to get uncomfortable. He's always comfortable. ... He doesn't get rattled. He's very poised, very confident and can make every throw, extends plays. He's a really, really, really, really, really good football player."
CU brought Alton McCaskill IV in as a transfer from Houston during the offseason, projecting him as its lead running back. That hasn't happened yet.
McCaskill missed the 2022 season because of a knee injury and didn't play in the first three games this year. In the last two weeks, the 2021 AAC freshman of the year has played sparingly, with six carries for 22 yards.
On Thursday, running backs coach Gary Harrell, the Buffs' associate head coach, joined the Buffaloes Primetime Radio Show and gave an update on McCaskill.
"(Coming off the knee injury), we wanted to make sure we took care of him, that we did not put him in harms ways," said Harrell, who filled in for Coach Prime, who was under the weather. "He didn't move very well (early on). He was very frustrated, trying to force the issue, so we kind of slowed him down.
"We think right now he's to the point where he can make the right cuts off the knee. He knows the system. We want to continue to build his confidence, but it was good to get him in a game setting to get hit and get a good feel before we move forward."
McCaskill is also just a sophomore and Harrell said the coaching staff is thinking long-term with his health.
"We're very intrigued to see, once we get him to that point, how he's going to help us in the run game," he said. "We feel good about him, but we just have to bring him along slowly. He's a dynamic player."
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