WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Colorado football program hasn't won a league title since 2001, sputtered to a 1-11 mark last season and has hibernated on the south side of mediocrity for the better part of two decades.
Despite that, Colorado has somehow managed to become the most compelling program in all of college athletics. Deion Sanders' arrival as head coach has coincided with the school positioning itself as a potential linchpin for the next round of conference realignment.
Keeping Up With Colorado has been the sport's smash hit of the offseason -- Louis Vuitton luggage coming in, waves of players heading out and school officials mulling a new conference partner. Welcome to the college football offseason in 2023 -- reality television plotlines becoming the industry's reality.
With the season's kickoff still nearly three months away, Colorado's conference affiliation has become the centerpiece of realignment speculation. Here in the dog days of June, the periscopes of paranoia from campuses and conference offices around the country are locked in on Boulder.
How will the Pac-12's impending TV deal impact Colorado and the Big 12? When will the SEC and Big Ten think about more expansion? And what's going on with the ACC? Here's a peek at some potential answers to realignment's biggest questions after talking to power brokers in all corners of the college sports industry.
What will Colorado do?
Here's the bottom line on Colorado. It has met with the Big 12. It has been in the Big 12 in a prior life, leaving after the 2010-11 season.
It remains improbable the Buffaloes leave for the Big 12 until the Pac-12 presidents get a firm sense of what their next television deal is going to look like. Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano has said as much. However, sources told ESPN that Colorado's patience has waned, which prompted the in-person meeting with the Big 12 back in May.