Deion Sanders speaks during a press conference on Sunday at CU's Folsom Field in Boulder. (Photo special to The Denver Gazette by Alyson McClaran,)

The University of Colorado’s Buffs have had some stellar football seasons — even a national championship back in 1990 — and plenty of solid seasons, too. This just doesn’t happen to be one of them. CU finished this year at the bottom of the Pac-12.

“…We’re in the basement right now,” is how Colorado sports legend Dave Logan put it to The Gazette’s sports staff the other day.

But the Buffs’ fortunes are about to change.

Deion Sanders is coming to the rescue. The flamboyant, two-sport Titan — he has two Super Bowl rings and one for a World Series — is bringing his many talents to the foot of the Rockies.

Neon Deion, aka Prime Time — now “Coach Prime,” having taken Mississippi’s Jackson State to a conference championship just this past Saturday — will work his magic in lifting CU out of its college football doldrums. At least, that’s the plan. Our hopes are high.

Logan, for his part, offered more than just hope. He knows his stuff. The onetime CU star wide receiver was one of six players ever drafted into Major League Baseball and the NBA as well as the NFL. Nowadays, Logan is also Colorado’s most successful prep football coach.

“…A guy like Deion comes in and, just because of his persona … immediately gets the attention of not only kids around here, but kids nationally,” Logan said. “You can’t win in football unless you have talent. … You gotta have the requisite talent in order to win and I think that’s one thing he’ll be able to do.”

There’s also Sanders’ charisma — best rendered in his own words.

“Do I look like a man that worries about anything?” Sanders asked in jest at a CU news conference Sunday. “Did you see the way I walked in here? Did you see the swagger that was with me? Worry? Baby, I’m too blessed to be stressed.”

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Vintage, bold and brash Sanders; we’ll take it, assuming he delivers.

It’s the shot in the arm CU needs right now. It also stands in stark contrast to a hiring of a very different kind discreetly announced last week by the university system.

The administration is about to create a position paying $325,000 a year — $400,000 counting benefits — for the chief of staff of Colorado’s retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Danielle Radovich Piper will join CU on Jan. 3 as senior vice president for external relations and strategy.

Meaning, the school is tapping its basic operating budget to further bloat CU’s front office bureaucracy — to perform a political favor. It provides no discernible benefit to the students and parents who will pick up the tab through skyrocketing tuition.

Of course, Sanders’ compensation — reportedly, a five-year, $29.5 million deal — will be many times Piper’s. It’s an eye-popping sum, certainly, befitting the multimillion-dollar compensation packages routinely awarded in today’s competitive market for college coaching.

But none of it will come from Colorado taxpayers or the school’s hard-pressed students and parents. Sanders’ base salary will come from the school’s $89 million athletic budget — entirely self-funded through “conference distribution” payments from the Pac-12, royalties for televised games, ticket sales and so forth. And much of his contract consists of supplemental salary for activities like radio and TV appearances and athletic department promotions and fund-raising.

If only university administrators faced such a standard.

The Gazette editorial board