Jack from our hated "rival" SBNation site, The Ralphie Report was kind enough to do a quick Q&A with us to preview the game Saturday afternoon.
What are Buff fans current patience level with the coaching staff in Boulder? Do they give them another year or more to be bowling, or are they willing to be more patient?
RR: It's interesting that you say more patient, because some would say that four years to get to bowl is really patient. I think the general consensus is that Coach Mac has next year to go bowling. It's an old team, a talented team, and should have another year with Leavitt on defense and the offense should get back on track. The home schedule sets up nicely for some conference wins, and they actually have a bye week AND 12 games. The excuses have run out Time to win. There are factions that want him gone now and factions that want to give him five years no matter what. I think that results should be expected next year, but you always have to play it by ear.
Are Buff fans overall happy with the move to the Pac-12, now 5 seasons in, or do they wish the Big 12 was still where you called home?
RR: I'm definitely happy with it. This conference is a much better fir culturally, in much more stable footing going forward, and more fun to travel to. The PAC-12 South is a horrible incubator for a bad team, however, and there are days in which I look at the Big-12 North and think, "we could go to bowl game over there". Trial by fire, right?
Outside of Nelson Spruce, who do Utah fans have to watch out for on offense? Same on defense?
RR: Well, if you look at the Washing State game, literally nobody. Taking the long view, however, shows that Shay Fields and Phillip Lindsay are the biggest threats. Fields has the speed to beat anyone deep (if the QB can get it there) and Lindsay runs hard and fast, but the offensive line has had a very hard time getting anything going near the end of the year. Patrick Carr should get some play and he is a game-breaker. On defense, assuming that you already know about Chidobe Awuzie, a top 3 cornerback in the PAC-12, I'll talk about Isaiah Oliver, who came in for Ahkello Witherspoon last week for a good long while and played great. He's long and quick, and exceptionally bright for a freshman. Somehow, we stole him out of Arizona, presumably because he's also competing in track, but he is going to be a player. Look for him at the boundary corner slot.
With Sefo Liufau out, what does the backup QB situation look like?
RR: Not as good as the Buffs would like. Cade Apsay had a good USC game, but he had a bad Wazzu game, as did the rest of the team. One of the best QB's on the roster, Steven Montez, can't play this year, and Jordan Gerkhe has been indisposed recently. Cade can make the short throws, but he struggles with the long ball and decision making. He displays all the classic problems with a freshman QB. Hopefully, he shows some poise against the Utes.
What are your thoughts on the "rivalry?" Do you even want Utah as the rival in conference?
RR: Uh, it's not one yet. Neither of these teams have played this game with anything on the line, so there's no emotional investment yet. If there's a game that decides something between these two teams, then it could get interesting, but until then, no dice. We want a rival in the conference, that's for sure, and Utah seems to fit the bill the best. Proximity, competition for recruits, but there's something that's just too nice about you guys. Your coach needs to disrespect the Buffs more (see- Todd Graham)
How do you see this game going?
RR: CU is going to lose this game, it's just a matter of how. If they get blown out again, all momentum built is lost. If it's another close loss, the season hurts, but it's something to build off. I know this is a short answer, but it's a pretty easy to call game.