SALT LAKE CITY -- Rivals are meeting on college football fields across the nation this weekend with plenty of talk about settling old scores and leaving it all on the field.

Meanwhile, a pair of 4-7 teams that haven't quite developed a genuine distaste for each other just yet will clash at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday with nothing more on the line than avoiding last place in the Pac-12 Conference South Division.

Sure, both teams would like to win the game for their respective senior classes and to charge into the offseason on a positive note, but Colorado and Utah yearn for better days ahead when the final week of November is more meaningful.

Perhaps, Saturday's game will play a part in this series taking on more of a rivalry feel down the road.

Certainly men who spilled blood for these programs in recent decades aren't wound tight with anticipation as kickoff approaches the way they would be if the opponent was Nebraska for CU or Brigham Young for the Utes, but the players on the field might feel differently five or 10 years from now.

Each team has managed to kick the other in the gut in the two years since the series was revived after a 49-year hiatus when both schools joined the Pac-12. The Buffs came here two years ago and won as 22-point underdogs, preventing Utah from playing in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game. Last year, the Utes came to Boulder and handed CU one final humbling defeat in a 1-11 season by returning a fourth-quarter kickoff for a touchdown moments after the Buffs had done the same.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who has a lengthy history in the Utah-BYU rivalry, almost yawns at the idea of this as a rivalry game. First-year CU coach Mike MacIntyre embraced the idea of this as a rivalry game this week simply because it's being played the same week traditional rivals such as Ohio State and Michigan and UCLA and USC are poking each other in the eye once again.

If wide receiver Paul Richardson can score a touchdown against Utah, he will own all the major single-season receiving records for the Buffs.
If wide receiver Paul Richardson can score a touchdown against Utah, he will own all the major single-season receiving records for the Buffs. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

"It's going to be a fun game for our kids to play in," MacIntyre said. "It's the last game for both teams, so it's kind of one of those games where there are seniors in that locker room that will never play football again. So, that's an emotional time for those young men. So, it'll be fun for both sides."

While the teams have the same records, the Utes clearly are closer to a winning record and the postseason than the Buffs.

Two of Colorado's wins came over teams from the Football Championship Subdivision and the Buffs once against struggled badly against most of their Pac-12 opponents. The Utes, beat Stanford at home last month and nearly beat Arizona State. Those two teams will play for the Pac-12 championship next week.

Utah lost quarterback Travis Wilson to a season-ending concussion, which might have ruined its bowl hopes. The Buffs have enjoyed one of the healthiest seasons from an overall team perspective in recent memory.

Yet, in a lot of ways these teams mirror one another. Their best playmakers on offense play wide receiver and wear No. 6. Both teams want to run the ball first and foremost and each can be opportunistic on defense.

CU wide receiver Paul Richardson will be adding to his single-season receiving records Saturday with every catch he makes. If he can score a touchdown, he will own all the major single-season receiving records for the Buffs.

Dres Anderson, who leads the Pac-12 in yards per catch for the Utes, needs 92 yards to become the seventh player in Utah history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

Perhaps one of those two play-making receivers will play a part in the development of this so-called rivalry. Maybe it will be one of the quarterbacks, CU's true freshman Sefo Liufau or former walk-on Adam Shulz for the Utes.

Or maybe today's game ends up being just what it appears to be, just another game at the end of disappointing season.

"I think it is important to have a rival like that," MacIntyre said. "I think it's fun for the fans. I think it makes it fun for the media and that type of thing. Right now, to me I think the way I see everything, of course we have the Pac-12 and everything but, we have to progress in the Pac-12 so our game really means something and I think that's when a rival happens."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at or