First-year Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said Tuesday he views this week's game with the Utes as a rivalry game because it comes during a week when rivalry games are traditionally played. It doesn't matter to him that the programs don't have much recent history on which to base a rivalry.
"Yes, the last game of the year in the Pac-12 made it a rival," MacIntyre said. "We're close by and I do see it as a rival. I think when you play a Thanksgiving (week) game like that there is a lot of significance involved in it. Hopefully both of us will be playing for something more next year and that makes it more of a rival."
MacIntyre's comments came a day after Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the game still hasn't risen to the rivalry level in his eyes. It should be noted that MacIntyre said he still considers the Colorado State game played in September each year as more of a rivalry than this week's game.
When CU and Utah joined the Pac-12 Conference two years ago, they were paired with each other in the final week of the football season by default because every other school in the conference had a traditional rivaly game.
For the better part of two decades, CU had grown accustomed to facing Nebraska on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Utah was embroiled in the Holy War with Brigham Young each year at this time.
Now that CU doesn't play Nebraska anymore and the Utes don't play BYU every year, the programs are left wanting for a rivalry game at this time of year.
This is the first season since 1995 in which the Buffs won't be playing on the Friday after Thanksgiving. They played Nebraska on that Friday every year from 1996 to 2010 and played Utah on the Friday after Thanksgiving each of the past two years.
The teams have split the last two games in the series.
CU senior Parker Orms said those two outcomes have given the game against the Utes more of a rivalry feel than it had going into the game two years ago.
"I do," Orms said when asked if he sees this week as a rivalry game. "Just cause they're a close neighbor and the last two games have been pretty good games. We've both gone at it the last two years. We went down there and won and they came here and won. I think it's a good rivalry starting off."
The Buffs lead the series 31-25-3. The programs went 48 years without playing between 1962 and 2011. They used to play regularly in the first half of last century and were previously conference foes in both the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Mountain States Conference.
Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/kyleringo