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Buffaloes - Utes: Final thoughts for a final game

NCAA Football: Colorado at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Well gang, we’ve reached the end. To paraphrase a famous football coach, I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil. After four quarters of Saturday football in Salt Lake City, that’ll be that. There were good times, like the first month, and bad times, like every week since. And while it hasn’t felt like one since early-October, the Buffs undeniably still took a big ol’ step forward this year. A bowl game would have been a nice building block, but to paraphrase again (I have no original thoughts), you don’t always get what you want. It’s pretty obviously hoops season in Boulder already, but what’s one more Pac-12 game to nap through? Given how poorly the Buffs match up with Utah, napping seems like the best plan of action. Let’s dive in.

The Matchup is Baaaaad

I’m not going to frame this as a good-news, bad-news situation, because that would imply that there’s good news. Everything the Buffs are bad at, the Utes are good at. Even in what’s turned out to be a meh year, Utah’s defense is one of the best in the Pac-12 – they rank 3rd in points allowed (20.0), passing yards per game allowed (224.3) and total yards per game (312.8). They’re also tied for 3rd in sacks (31) and touchdowns (2). Essentially, they’re the Buffs worst nightmare. Their offense isn’t particularly good, but Stanford’s offense isn’t particularly good either and, you know. Maybe there’s some Last Game Weirdness in store, or the Buffs rise to the occasion with their pride on the line, but it doesn’t look great.

Utah’s Quarterback Situation Is Comically Tragic

I jumped the gun a little bit when I said there was no good news. So here’s something! Utah’s starting quarterback on Saturday will be Luke Bottari. If you don’t recognize the name, that’s because you’re not one of the three people who know the very bottom of Utah’s roster: Bottari is the 3rd QB Utah will start this year, and was at one point 5th (!!) on the depth chart. He’s a senior preferred walk-on who was a two-star recruit and has quite literally never played a D1 football game before. He did rip it up at College of San Mateo, though. So if the Buffs have it in them to pull off an upset they have no business pulling off, this is probably the game to do it. Of course, this also means that the lasting memory of the 2023 Colorado Buffaloes Football Season is getting torn to shreds by a 5th-string walk-on senior making the first and only D1 start of his career. And you thought the stakes were low.

It’s Going To Be A Game For Sickos

Here’s a list of players who are listed as questionable for the Buffs tomorrow: Shedeur Sanders, Juwan Mitchell, Omarion Cooper, Myles Slusher, Vito Tisdale, Trevor Woods, Brendan Gant, Charlie Offerdahl, and Ben Finneseth. I bet there are a few players who feel just fine and still won’t suit up, too – that’s life in the final week of the season when you’re a 4-win football team. If you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s that we might see some real playing time from guys who are expected to be contributors next year and beyond. Then again, with the way that this team recruits, who even knows. But for those of you who love scouting and hop on recruiting boards the moment the season ends, tomorrow will be a terrific appetizer.