Strike 3: Local fans are getting geared up for the start of the college football season in less than three months. We’re already looking forward to Shedeur Sanders and CU vs Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi and Colorado State on national television 16 weeks from now. It’s exciting to know who’s probably going to be under center.

But when college hoops season tips off two months after that, we will have to study our rosters a lot closer to know who will be taking the court for the Rams and Buffs in mid-November.

Roster overhauls are the way of the world in college sports these days, but what’s happened to both these NCAA tournament programs from last year is still a head shaker.

For what it’s worth, CSU got a shot in the arm when starter Nique Clifford opted out of the NBA Draft and returned to Fort Collins. The other four Ram starters from last season – Joel Scott, Isaiah Stevens, Patrick Cartier and Josiah Strong – are all gone, out of eligibility and off into the real world. Their replacements aren’t likely to be familiar names.

CSU added a seven footer named Nikola (Djapa), a young and still raw sophomore from Long Island University. They also added an undersized point guard to assume the role of Stevens. Bowen Born has just a year left after leaving Northern Iowa, but he’s got a ton of experience. New guys like Purdue transfer Ethan Morton and Jaylen Crocker-Johnson (formerly of Arkansas-Little Rock) will be all over the roster

Counting Clifford, the Rams have four guys back from last season’s 13-man roster.

In Boulder, it’s the same story but for a different reason. The NBA Draft will see three now former Buffs (Cody Williams, K,J, Simpson and Tristen DeSilva) get picked for a shot at pros, and while their departure was planned for, having guys like Eddie Lampkin, Jr, J’Vonne Headly and Luke O’Brien hit the bricks too leaves Tad Boyle’s team without its top six rotation players from last season.

The Buffs should have Julian Hammond III back, but otherwise no one who’s played much for the Silver and Gold.

Boyle’s team is adding its own 6-foot-10 unproven (at the Division I level) transfer big man in Elijah Malone from NAIA Grace college, plus Washington State transfer Andrej Jakimovski and former Colorado Mesa standout Trevor Baskin.

A new (old) conference – the Big 12 – and a ton of new faces in Boulder.

It’s obviously too early to tell what all this roster turnover will do for these two programs, each of whom seemed to hit their stride last season. Boyle may be the anti-Deion in most ways, but he’s going to have to answer the same chemistry question that Sanders failed to pass last football season.

And CSU’s Niko Medved, who was rumored to be a hot coaching candidate for other jobs during last season before the Rams hit a rough patch late, is going to have to prove he can win with a group of newbies surrounding his one returning star.

Football season in Boulder and Fort Collins should be fun. Basketball season will start out a mystery.