BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado Buffaloes have two chances to avoid the worst season in school history.
The Buffaloes (1-9, 1-6 Pac-12) are in danger of going winless at home unless they can beat Washington today or Utah next week. It’s a tall order for a team that has given up an average of 52 points over its last six games.
Finishing 0-6 at home and having the first 11-loss season in the program’s history would add to the misery.
“It would be terribly disappointing, the whole season has been terribly disappointing so far,” senior defensive lineman Will Pericak said. “That would just be the cherry on top.”
Colorado has struggled in its first two seasons in the Pac-12. Last year, Colorado finished 2-7 in the conference, including a 52-17 loss at Washington. The Buffaloes have allowed at least 30 points in nine games this season and five times opponents have put up at least 50. Last week, Arizona beat the Buffaloes 56-31.
The blowout losses have taken a toll on them.
“I talked to the defense about pride, and that no matter how much they think about or wish or go over it, it isn’t going to change what happened on Saturday,” head coach Jon Embree said. “But they have an opportunity these next two weeks. I appealed to their pride.”
First up for the Buffaloes is bowl-eligible Washington (6-4, 3-3), which has won three straight after a tough start to the conference season. The Huskies practice in the morning during the week so they won’t be bothered by the early start, which will be 10:30 a.m. by their body clocks.
“I’m pumped, man. I’m so excited to get up, eat breakfast and go to the stadium and play the game,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Maybe these morning practices will finally pay off for us here the last couple weeks.”
The Huskies have turned things around since blowout losses at Oregon and Arizona sandwiched around a close setback against USC.
In last week’s 34-15 win over Utah, quarterback Keith Price threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns and Bishop Sankey had 156 yards rushing and two scores.
Although Arizona rushed for 438 yards against Colorado, Sarkisian won’t change his offense against the Buffaloes.
“We’re not going to try and reinvent the wheel, we’re not going to become Arizona and run Arizona’s offense this week,” he said.
Unlike the Huskies, the Buffaloes aren’t making postseason plans. Colorado has not played in a bowl in four years and Embree, in his second season as head coach, is trying to get the Buffaloes back to respectability after years of struggle.
He can take comfort in what happened to the Colorado program after first-year coach Bill McCartney went 1-10 in 1984. Five years later, the Buffaloes were undefeated and playing for a national title, and a year later they shared the crown.
Colorado isn’t worried about championships this year. The only goal is to win a home game and avoid infamy.
“It’s really important to send off this year on a good note, and the best note is winning a home game,” junior David Bakhtiari said.