This is kind of a minor, yet fun, point to consider, but has anybody thought about how Walsh and Butler will do in the thinner air in Boulder?
Matt Melton has compiled some data on how Colorado’s kickers have performed on kickoffs over the past two seasons which indicates that may not be a small factor:
The Air Up There
One of the most difficult variables to account for when evaluating home/road splits is schedule strength. Some teams may play better at home, not because they have a great homefield advantage, but because they happened to play much weaker teams at home. Similarly a reverse split could exist because team’s road schedule was much easier. However, there is one facet of football for which the ability of the opponent has practically no effect on a team’s performance. Kickoffs. I’m not referring to returns here, which has very much to do with the blocking and return skills of the opposing team. I’m talking about the action of kicking off and trying to force the opposing team to down the ball in their own endzone. Commonly referred to as a touchback by those in the know. In the past 2 seasons, Colorado has had 2 players kickoff for them, Aric Goodman and Jameson Davis. Goodman has converted 15 touchbacks in 53 kickoffs and Davis converted 15 in 48 kickoffs. Thus, as a team, the Buffs have combined for 30 touchbacks in 101 attempts. However, when we look at how they have performed at home versus on the road, one can easily tell Goodman and Davis have been aided tremendously by the thin air in their home stadium.
I think Fabris would have driven us crazy handling the challenge, were he still around.
Maybe Walsh will get a shot at kicking a 60+ yard field goal.