Quick question: Are you telling Deion “Prime Time” Sanders “No”?

No. That’s the answer. No, you’re not.

And neither is anyone else.

And that is exactly why the University of Colorado’s most recent hire – a miracle by nearly almost any measure – is the biggest news coming out of Boulder since the Buffs beat the Huskers 62-36 in 2001. Never – not even in the years when Buffs were vying for a national championship – has CU ever had this kind of star power on campus. Seemingly overnight, the perception of athletics at the University of Colorado has changed.

“We shot high,” said CU’s athletic director Rick George on “Lombardi, Moser and Kane” on Monday morning.

Indeed, they did. For the first time in a longtime, the Buffs said they wanted to be more than they are, and then went out and did something about it. Make no mistake, Coach Prime is currently “bigger” than the program to which he’s coming to turn around. For a man who’s won Super Bowls and played in the World Series, piddling around in the basement of the Pac-12 would never do.

“Guys, after we get finished with this work,” “Coach Prime” thundered to the crowd gathered at his intoductory press conference on Sunday, referring to unfinished business at Jackson State. “I just want you to know we’re on the way. Not to compete, but to win. Not to show up, but to show out. Not to be among the rest but to be the absolute best. We’re coming into work. We’re not coming to play. We’re coming to kill it, not to kick it.”

Preach, Prime, preach!

You know who else could seize the attention of a room better than anyone in the history of Colorado sports?

Bill McCartney.

Coach Mac could get into any living room in the country. Coach Mac could get a dollar out of any donor who ever proudly claimed to be a Buff. Coach Mac could get his administration to play ball, so that his teams could ball out.

Coach Prime checks those same boxes.

Perhaps more miraculous than his hiring is the fact that he’s already got five-star recruits coming to Boulder. Before his press conference even found its way to YouTube, Winston Watkins Jr. – a five-star recruit from Florida’s IMG Academy ranked as the 13th best prospect in the country – decommitted from Texas A&M and told the world he’d be following Sanders to Colorado.

It’s been rumored that Colorado doesn’t even have the money (currently) to meet the contract Sanders just signed, but fear not, George will have that raised in no time. If you build it, they will come, and bringing the Buffs to Prime Time (or visa versa) certainly constitutes “building it.”

“We need each and every one of (the donors),” Sanders not-so-subtly urged on Sunday. “Because the caliber of players that we’re getting ready to bring to you, they’re going to want something.”

And perhaps the biggest news – the stuff that’s almost as big as the coach himself – is that somehow, George’s hiring of Sanders is being accompanied by significant changes to the school’s academic admissions and transfer policies. The times have changed, but in essence, Sanders will be working within the same kind of rules that Coach Mac did. This shift alone will have massive impact on CU’s ability to equal the playing field.

No, the higher-ups at CU weren’t about to say “No” to Prime, either. How could they? The stodgy, pompous way of viewing football as it related to academia had to go. George knew that all along; the opportunity to hire someone like Deion Sanders had to be exactly what it took for CU’s brass to finally make a long-needed change.

CU chancellor Phil DiStefano who spoke first at the introductory press conference, promised an “expedited assessment of the transferability of academic credits from other institutions to be accepted at CU Boulder.”

Such changes to how the school views transfers and recruits will pay massive dividends on Saturdays, and – in the long term – to the school itself.

“This new initiative, combined with the NIL collective,” added DiStefano, “will set our football program up for long-term success.”

The sprawling campus we now know in Boulder grew by leaps and bounds once CU won its national championship in 1990 under McCartney. There’s absolutely no coincidence as to how or why that happened. There’s also no coincidence in the fact that CU’s policy makers started singing a different tune after a 1-11 season and with the opportunity to hire Sanders. Credit George – and probably Sanders, too – for connecting all those dots.

If anyone knows the impact someone like Bill McCartney can make, it’s George, who served as the Buffs recruiting director while McCartney stormed up and down the sidelines and into the living rooms of world class athletes like Alfred Williams, Kanavis McGhee, Eric Bieniemy, Darian Hagan, Mike Pritchard, Kordell Stewart and Rashaan Salaam – just to name a few. George saw firsthand how the foundation of a national championship was laid; he understood the rules under which McCartney operated and how they’ve changed over time.

He knows the type of man that has a chance to make CU football prominent once again – a believer. Mac was. Prime is.

Coach Prime is brash-y and flashy. In many ways, he’s everything that McCartney was not. But he’s also man of great faith; a man of conviction; man who believes; a man with a plan; a man who’s not familiar with, or willing to accept, the word “no.”

The color of Deion Sanders’ skin or the shine on his perfectly tailored suit might be different from that of McCartney. But the answer both men seek, know and expect, when sitting next to an 18-year-old athlete and his parents in their own living room, is unquestionably the same.