Game at a glance

Matchup: Colorado Buffaloes (4-8, 1-7 Pac-12) at Utah Utes (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12).

Kickoff: 12:37 p.m. MST Saturday.

Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Capacity: 45,807; Turf: FieldTurf.

TV: Pac-12 Network.

Radio: KOA (850 AM and 94.1 FM). Pre-game starts at 10:30 a.m.

Odds: Utah by 16.5.

Coaches: Colorado — Mike MacIntyre (10-26, third season; 30-47 career); Utah — Kyle Whittingham (93-46, 11th season).

Series: CU leads 31-27-3, but the Utes hold a 15-14-2 advantage in Salt Lake City.

A win in Salt Lake City is not going to extend the season for the Colorado football team.

It could, however, be a big boost for the Buffaloes' program as it heads to the offseason.

CU (4-8, 1-7) visits Utah (8-3, 5-3) on Saturday and is seeking to send its 15 seniors out with a win and its underclassmen into the offseason with momentum.

"No doubt, I want to be able to go home to my family and friends and just know that we ended the season with a win and we didn't back down," junior defensive lineman Jordan Carrell said. "They're going to talk about this game leading into next year, so we have to end on a good note and I know we can."

First and foremost on the minds of the Buffs is getting one last win for the senior class. There are 15 Buffs who will play their final college football game on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.


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"Definitely you want to win every single game," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "The thing about being the last game, it is kind of final, so if you win it, it stays with you longer. For the seniors, you want to definitely win for them."

Junior tight end Sean Irwin came into Boulder with a lot of the seniors and said it means a lot to him to send them out on a winning note. The seniors who have been here four years are just 11-37 and those that have been here for five years are 14-47.

"I feel for them," Irwin said. "We need this win, we need it bad."

A win might mean more to the underclassmen than it would to the seniors, though.

This was a season that started with so much hope for the Buffs and yet they come into Utah riding a four-game losing streak.

The Buffs likely face a bowl-or-bust season in 2016, and taking a win into the offseason could be the boost they need.

"It's just been intense," Irwin said of the team mindset this week. "It's all about coming out to practice and winning the game today, and trying to do what we were supposed to do all year."

Considering CU's bowl hopes coming into the year, the Buffs underachieved in their minds. Yet several players said they still believe in MacIntyre and his staff to lead them into the future.

"Yeah, absolutely," senior defensive tackle Justin Solis said. "We've been close to beating a lot of good teams and being in a lot of games and people are really buying into what he's saying. You can tell with how people practice, how they're playing.

"We thought this was going to be the year that things were going to get turned around. Unfortunately it hasn't, but I feel like with the guys they're bringing in and the guys that are already here, they're going to have a good senior class next year. They're definitely on the upward."

Solis believes the Buffs are so close to turning the corner that the players coming back can't afford to lose faith now.

"We know we're right there and we just have to get over that hump," he said. "Only way we can do it is being on the same page with coach Mac."

This season proved that more works needs to be done, but Carrell said the players understand that and many of them are ready to put in the work to get better.

"We're right there, but this offseason we really have to dial in and get stronger and just continue to work and grow as a team," he said. "We have a big junior class that's coming back next year and we have to all come together with a lot more leadership this (next) year. It starts right after the season.

"From the defensive side of it, (defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt) is already talking about winter conditioning. It'll be nice to see the changes made. Hopefully the attitude carries onto to the offseason."

Nothing would help that more than a win against the Utes.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.