Laura Seitz,
Utah Utes quarterback Troy Williams (3) runs gainst Oregon Ducks Oregon Ducks linebacker Troy Dye (35) and Oregon Ducks defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux (92) at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016
It’ll say a lot about our character. You know, the type of guys we are if we’re able to bounce back from this, go down there and get a win. —Utah quarterback Troy Williams

BOULDER, Colo. — It was supposed to be for all the marbles in the Pac-12 South . . . and it still is for ninth-ranked Colorado. The Buffaloes (9-2, 7-1) can earn a berth in next week’s conference championship game against Washington with a victory over Utah Saturday (5:30 p.m., FOX) at Folsom Field.

The 20th-ranked Utes (8-3, 5-3) could have been playing for the same reward. However, last week’s 30-28 loss to Oregon knocked them out of division championship contention.

Now it’s more of a pride thing.

“It’ll say a lot about our character,” said Utah quarterback Troy Williams. “You know, the type of guys we are if we’re able to bounce back from this, go down there and get a win.”

History is on the Utes’ side. They’ve won four straight in the series since the teams joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The Buffaloes won the meeting that year, upsetting the Utes in Salt Lake City and costing them a title-game appearance.

The battles that followed have also been closely contested.

“It’s been very competitive and that’s just been the nature of the series,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that things have been "very, very tight."

Even so, Whittingham doesn’t believe the “rivalry” has been restored in a series that was dormant from 1963-2010. He insists such thoughts aren’t meant to be disparaging or negative. Whittingham said that he has nothing but respect for Colorado, but said the lack of bad blood in the games have prevented it from becoming a rivalry.

Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre noted that things have been a bit lopsided with Utah. The Utes, after all, prevailed in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

"It's a rivalry when we start beating them, but we haven't beat them since I've been here. Hopefully, we're able to beat them this week,” MacIntyre said in a report on “Right now they've beat us up pretty good every time we've played them. We need to find a way to get them."

All of the Pac-12 matchups between the Utes and Buffaloes have all been decided by a touchdown or less.

2011 — COLORADO 17, UTAH 14: At Salt Lake City, the Utes lost out on a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game with a shocking loss to the Buffaloes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Colorado snapped a 23-game road losing streak with the win.

2012 — UTAH 42, COLORADO 35: At Boulder, the Utes overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to prevail. Reggie Dunn highlighted the rally with a 100-yard kickoff return. Utah’s defense had five takeaways in the game.

2013 — UTAH 24, COLORADO 17 : At Salt Lake City, the Utes jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half but needed a late interception by Trevor Reilly to hold on for the victory. Kelvin York ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

2014 — UTAH 38, COLORADO 34: At Boulder, Dominique Hatfield took an interception back 20 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Utes edged the Buffaloes. Travis Wilson threw for 311 yards and three scores.

2015 — UTAH 20, COLORADO 14: At Salt Lake City, defense ruled the roost with the Utes netting six sacks and four turnovers (three interceptions). Viliseni Fauonuku led the pressure up front with four sacks.


No. 20 Utah (8-3, 5-3) at No. 9 Colorado (9-2, 7-1)

Folsom Field, Boulder

Saturday, 5:30 p.m.


Radio: ESPN 700AM

Twitter: @DirkFacer