Colorado could actually win a football game Saturday.

No, seriously, it's not a joke.

Coach Jon Embree's team obviously has to make it happen and no one is going to believe it until they see it, but a road win over Arizona, spoiling the Wildcats' homecoming, is within the realm of possibility even for the 1-8 Buffs.

There have been only a few times in the history of the Colorado program when the Buffs and their fans have needed a win as badly as they do now. The Buffs have lost five consecutive games in blowout fashion and are widely considered among the worst teams in the Football Bowl Subdivison.

Despite all that, there is hope because Arizona senior quarterback Matt Scott is doubtful with a concussion.

Scott has been the key to the Wildcats' success this season but he is unlikely to play after getting his bell rung in a 66-10 loss at UCLA last week. Yep, that's right. There are other teams in the Pac-12 giving up monstrous point totals this season.

Without Scott, a dynamic playmaker who ranks fourth nationally in total offense, Arizona is still talented but nowhere near as polished offensively. Junior B.J. Denker is expected to make his first career start. He has played in five games this season, completing 13 of 23 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Wildcats are nearly as bad as CU this fall. Arizona ranks 87th in run defense, 117th in pass defense, 118th in total defense and 105th in scoring defense, allowing 35 points per game.


"What you have to do as a coach is try and fix your issues, and not necessarily try to tailor and become something different, because they struggled with an offense scheme," Embree said this week when asked if the Buffs can take advantage of anything the Wildcats struggled with against UCLA.

If the Colorado offense is ever going to emerge from its slump, move the ball and score some points, Saturday is probably the best opportunity. Unfortunately, Colorado hasn't had consistent quarterback play at all this season and the Buffs are expected to use a new starter as well.

Senior Jordan Webb was benched this week after completing 11 of 21 passes for 50 yards and no touchdowns in the past two games combined. The Buffs have scored a total of 20 points in the last three games combined and rank next to last nationally in scoring, averaging just 16 points a game.

Third-year sophomores Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood competed for the job in practice all week. Who starts is expected to be a game-time decision.

Embree made it clear that he will play whoever he feels gives the team the best chance to win and he is not making the change simply to give younger players experience. Embree did not rule out turning back to Webb if things don't go well for Hirschman and Wood Saturday.

Quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer said this week he believes Webb has lost confidence in recent weeks as the Buffs have struggled badly against three consecutive top-25 opponents. But the reality is, coaches still believe Webb is their best option under center and they are hoping that seeing things from a different perspective this week on the sidelines helps get him back on track.

"Part of it is we need to help him make plays," Embree said of Webb. "He can be streaky in that if he gets a couple things going on early, he can build off of that. Last week, obviously those things didn't happen."

With Scott out of the lineup, the Buffs can expect a heavy dose of Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, who has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards this fall with 13 rushing touchdowns and one receiving. If Colorado can slow down Carey and make Denker the focal point, the Buffs could be in the game in the fourth quarter for the first time since it won at Washington State in September.

But the CU offense has to make a dramatic improvement from its most recent outing. The Buffs were shut out at home last week for the first time in 26 years and failed to produce even 100 yards of total offense.

At least the Buffs appear to have a chance before the opening kickoff this week. What they do with it will tell us a lot about players' commitment to finishing the season strong or playing out the string.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleRingo