When Colorado goes on the road Saturday to face Utah for its final game of 2023, Deion Sanders will be looking to close out his first season as coach of the Buffaloes on a high note. Colorado is officially eliminated from bowl eligibility but has a chance to reach the five-win mark for the first time since 2019 with a victory in Salt Lake City.
The Buffaloes are coming off a 56-14 blowout loss to Washington State that officially ended their quest at a bowl game. After starting the season 3-0 under Sanders, Colorado has lost seven of its last eight games and find themselves on the outside looking in heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Utes are coming off a disappointing 42-18 loss to Arizona. The two-time reigning Pac-12 champions won't be appearing in the Pac-12 Championship Game next weekend for the first time since 2020 after participating in the title game four of the last five seasons.
Both programs will play their final regular season game as Pac-12 opponents before officially moving to the Big 12 next season. The Utes will await their bowl game fate in two weeks, while Colorado will start preparing for the 2024 season.
How to watch Colorado vs. Utah live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 25 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium -- Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: Pac-12 Network | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
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Colorado vs. Utah: Need to know
Status of Shedeur Sanders: Colorado's star quarterback won't be on the field when the team closes the 2023 season Saturday. Sanders was ruled out due to an injury suffered in a loss to Washington State last weekend. Sanders exited the Washington State game early because of a hand injury and was considered day-to-day heading into the matchup. Sanders broke the Colorado single-season passing record in the loss to WSU and if he does indeed sit out the season finale, he will finish with 3,230 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. Colorado freshman Ryan Staub will start in his place.
Good things ahead for the Utes: Speaking of quarterbacks, Utah got positive news about star signal caller Cameron Rising last weekend. Rising announced that he would be returning to the program in 2024 as they make the transition to the Big 12. Rising has missed the entire 2023 season after suffering a major knee injury in the loss to Penn State in January's Rose Bowl. In his absence, Utah has rotated quarterback Nate Johnson and Bryson Barnes. Rising certainly gives Utah stability at the position if he can return to his previous form.
Looking ahead to 2024 for the Buffaloes: Last season was a dumpster fire for Colorado. The Buffaloes finished 1-11 before the program made a splash and hired Sanders. Colorado won't play in a bowl game this season, but it's hard not to be optimistic about the trajectory of the program because of what was accomplished in Year 1 at the helm. Sanders has a chance to quintuple Colorado's win total from last season with a victory over the Utes. Securing a win over the two-time reigning Pac-12 champs would be a chance to parlay positive momentum heading into a critical offseason for the program.
Colorado vs. Utah prediction, pick
Odds via SportsLine consensus
With the status of Sanders up in the air, it's hard to believe Colorado will be able to generate much offense against a stout Utah defense. The Buffaloes looked lost in the second half without their star quarterback and it could be a sign of bad things to come if Sanders can't suit up for the final game in the regular season. By Utah standards, this could be considered a disappointing season because they failed to reach the Pac-12 title game. They still have an opportunity to end 2023 strong against Colorado and in the bowl game next month. If Sanders doesn't play, except Utah to cover this gigantic line. Pick: Utah -22
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