Week 13 – Utah at Colorado

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Utah at Colorado

Utah (4-7) at Colorado (1-10) Nov. 23, 3:00, FX

Here's The Deal: In four combined chances to go bowling since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah and Colorado have succeeded just once. This year was not one of those times.

The Utes and the Buffaloes have been disappointments since joining their new digs, particularly this fall. Utah began the season with hopes of shaking up the South Division. However, while others, like UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State, were shooting past expectations, the Utes were contrarians, only handling lowly Washington State and Cal in league games. Last Saturday's loss to Arizona marked the end of Utah's nine-year postseason run.

Of course, things could be worse for Kyle Whittingham. He could be coaching Colorado. At least for now, that job belongs to Jon Embree, who has lost 10 games in consecutive years. It was believed that the former Buffaloes player would never be canned after just two seasons, but that was before his kids lost seven consecutive games, each by at least 25 points.

Why Utah Might Win: This week's opponent is last nationally in scoring offense and scoring defense, so the Utes can pick their path to a season-ending win.

Talent and execution-wise, Colorado is an FCS team; a poor FCS team. Utah is a stout defensive team, a lesser version of Stanford that's paced by its front seven. NT Star Lotulelei is one of the country's premier defensive players, while LB Trevor Reilly and safeties Brian Blechen and Eric Rowe are all-star-caliber complements. The Buffs have been shooting themselves in the foot all year with turnovers and stalled drives on third down.

Why Colorado Might Win: Utah doesn't want to be here.

The Utes aren't accustomed to closing regular seasons without the knowledge that another game awaits in December. In fact, that hasn't happened in a decade. How will the players react, especially to making the 500-mile trip to Boulder? Utah has defensive talent, but has hardly been impenetrable in 2012. The Buffaloes will attempt to tap into the production they enjoyed two weeks ago against Arizona, when rookie RB Christian Powell ran for 137 yards and two scores, and the quarterbacks were on target.

What To Watch Out For: This being Utah's final bridge to spring football, the staff would like to get one final look at first-year QB Travis Wilson. He's the future in Salt Lake City, a strapping 6-6, 220-pounder who received an extended apprenticeship after starter Jordan Wynn retired. The true freshman is coming off his best game, going 28-of-40 for 311 yards, two touchdowns and a rarity, no interceptions. He can use this game to improve the bond with his sophomore targets, TE Jake Murphy and rangy receivers Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott.

What Will Happen: Utah can take its eye off the ball, yet still handle Colorado on Friday afternoon.

Against a different opponent, the Utes would be ripe for the picking. Against the Buffaloes, they'll capture some momentum to take into the offseason. The Buffs are not even approaching competitiveness on either side of the ball, making an upset unlikely. Wilson will build on last week's solid effort, while RB John White will go over 100 yards for a fifth straight week to just barely crack the 1,000-yard mark in each of his two seasons in Salt Lake City.

CFN Prediction: Utah 37 … Colorado 20
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Utah -23 O/U: 53
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 ��� Life of Pi): 1.5