Ever since their incredibly successful spring game, it’s felt like the sky is falling for the Colorado Buffaloes.

A whopping 25 players have transferred out of the program since Saturday, and Boulder has descended into a state of panic, as casual college football analysts begin to spell doom for the Coach Prime era.

But you shouldn’t freak out just yet!

The future still looks wildly bright in Boulder, and almost all of these departures seem to be part of Coach Prime’s master plan. Here’s how and why.

The Colorado Buffaloes needed a dramatic rebuild

The primary reason the Colorado Buffaloes will be fine, despite the dizzying number of players currently leaving the program, is that this type of extreme roster overhaul was necessary for Coach Prime to get the CU Buffs to where he wants them.

Due to the mass transfer exodus the Buffaloes experienced last offseason and Karl Dorrell’s lack of recruiting prowess, the 2022 Buffaloes were wildly malnourished from a talent perspective. That’s what led to the CU Buffs being the very worst Power-5 football program.

In the past, solving a supreme famine of talent, like this, would take four years, as the new head coach slowly brings in ‘his guys’ while slowly graduating out the players brought in by the prior regime. Considering how far behind the 8-ball Colorado already was, that would’ve been an incredibly slow and lengthy process.

Why would Coach Prime go through such a drawn-out process, when he’s already proven he can operate the transfer portal and add high-level instant-impact talent with ease?

They’ve added 28 transfers, and, as we’ll discuss briefly, are getting ready to add a lot more.

Sure, the sheer quantity of departures has been insane at first glance, but despite (at the time of publish) losing 36 players from last season’s team to the portal, the Buffaloes should be ok, thanks to their plan to build through the portal.

Without these recent departures, Coach Prime wouldn’t have had the room to add the transfer prospects he desires this summer. And he wants to keep adding. Just look at TCU and USC to see how successful transfer portal overhauls can be.

In 2021, USC and TCU had a combined record of 9-17. Ahead of the 2022 season, the two programs hired new coaches, brought in 20 transfers and 14 transfers, respectively, and as a result, combined for a 24-5 record the next season, each finishing the year as two of the nation’s top 12 teams.

This year, Coach Prime should blow those numbers out of the water.

He isn’t inheriting a mediocre team that fell just shy of a .500 record, Lincoln Reily and Sonny Dykes were. Instead, he’s taking over a team that was lucky to win a single game last year, and who hadn’t invested in talent acquisition in several seasons.

The year before Reily and Dykes were hired, USC and TCU ranked as the 10th- and 29th-most talented teams in college football, per 247sports’ talent composite. The Colorado Buffaloes ranked 63rd last season, and frankly, that seems generous.

The Buffs needed a lot more help than either the Trojans or the Horned Frogs did, so it should come as no surprise that their offseason has just looked like a more dramatic version of what those two schools did a season ago.

Based on those school’s successes, it feels safe to say that, so long as the CU Buffs didn’t lose important high-end contributors, and are able to add a bunch of quality transfers, this strategy should be successful and it should be successful in a hurry. Fortunately, it appears they’ve accomplished just that.

Most of the players leaving were projected to fill small roles

This is another case where, at face value, the departures seem scary, but upon applying further scrutiny, the exits don’t seem all that troubling.

The three running backs that Colorado has lost since the spring game combined for 507 yards and three scores on 118 carries in 2022. On top of that, none of them were higher than third on the depth chart. Deion Smith and Jayle Stacks were buried on the depth chart as complete afterthoughts, lucky to receive a snap in 2023, and are in their fifth and fourth year of college, respectively. As an upperclassman, you can’t afford to not see the field, so transferring out is a sensible answer.

The loss of Victor Venn, a back who almost made the ‘stock up’ section of our spring game recap, stings a little, as he was slated to see some playing time and was just entering his second season with the team, but still, he was a tertiary contributor at best.

That snapshot of the running back position beautifully encapsulates how we can expect these transfer losses to impact the roster. It’s not impacting the starting lineup, and it might not even be robbing CU of the ‘next man up’ but behind that squad, they’re losing considerable depth.

Now, that’s still a problem, but it’s a much less severe one, and also, you’d expect a once-dreadful team going through this type of overhaul to have some roster holes here or there. The fact those holes are largely related to the program’s depth feels like a positive sign.

The only areas that might present some problems are the wide receivers and the defensive line.

At wide receiver, the CU Buffs were hit by their two biggest transfer losses. Montana Lemonious-Craig announced he’d be transferring out after turning in a stellar spring game, during which he looked like the best pass catcher on the field. Soon after that, Jordyn Tyson, who led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns last season, also announced he would be moving on.

Lemonious-Craig and Tyson were two very talented receivers who will be big-time contributors wherever they land. Losing them hurts what Colorado’s receiver rotation will look like. But, with that said, they were likely transferring because they understood they were unlikely to see the field much.

Tyson was a non-factor in the spring game, while Lemonious-Craig was primed to become the team’s No. 4 receiver (effectively removing him from the starting lineup) once transfer Xavier Weaver arrives on campus.

So, while the CU Buffs lost two younger, very talented players, those players still weren’t projected to start or see too many snaps, which minimizes how much their departures will really damage the program.

Along the defensive line, the Buffaloes notably lost Na’im Rodman and Jalen Sami. Rodman was a steady contributor, while Sami was the team’s best defensive lineman returning from last year’s team. They didn’t possess the star power or talent of either Lemonious-Craig or Tyson, but whereas receiver might be the strongest position on Colorado’s roster, the defensive line is the weakest.

On top of that, your ability to rotate depth players into the game is much more important along the defensive line than it is at wide receiver.

Losing Rodman and Sami will hurt the CU Buffs’ ability to improve on their abhorrent run defense from a season ago.

That said, Colorado had already added Deeve Harris, Taylor Upshaw, Jordan Domineck, Leonard Payne Jr., Taijh Alston, and Shane Cokes to the group, and today, they added Florida State transfer Derrick McLendon as well, so the unit should be improved nonetheless.

As you can see, even when looking at the biggest and most damaging portal losses, the Colorado Buffaloes shouldn’t be too negatively impacted.

We haven’t seen the talent the Colorado Buffaloes are adding yet.

Finally, the top reason for fans of the CU Buffs to temper their panic is the fact that we haven’t seen the flip side of this situation yet.

We’ve only gotten to see one side of the equation so far — the players leaving.

We haven’t seen who they’re being replaced with.

If someone takes five dollars from you, you’d be upset. If they then were to turn around and offer you a crisp $20 in return, your frustration would likely melt away.

In regard to the Colorado Buffaloes, we haven’t reached that second step yet. We’ve only seen what the team has lost via this process. We haven’t seen all that they stand to gain, and as Coach Prime has repeated ad nauseam, they’re still looking to add a lot of talent to this team.

“I think we’re number one,” Coach Prime said, in regard to Colorado’s transfer class ranking, via Thee Pregame Show. “And we ain’t got started. We haven’t gotten started in the portal yet. We’re about to really get started, as soon as we’re allowed to.”

This week, on Wednesday’s edition of the Pat McAfee Show, he doubled down on that sentiment.

“When we release the list of guys that we already got coming in, then everybody’s gonna say, ‘oh ok. Now I see what he’s doing. I see now. Now I understand,'” Prime said, in a taunting manner.

Now, the CU Buffs are ‘allowed to’ hop into the fray, and some answers have begun to reveal themselves.

Alton McCaskill, a Houston running back that tallied 18 touchdowns on way to winning AAC Freshman of the Year, in 2021, has been tied to the Colorado Buffaloes by Bruce Feldman and 247Sports’ crystal ball.

Adding to that, two Houston offensive linemen, one of whom earned all-conference honors, are set to visit Boulder this week.

Before you panic about the ‘talent’ Coach Prime has lost, wait a month, and observe the talent he brings in.