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Dane Miller’s Week 12 Colorado-Washington State Preview

The outcome is pivotal for each team's season and the trajectory of both programs going forward

Posted on November 16, 2023

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

Aside from Colorado’s impressive television draw this season, Friday’s Pac-12 football game between the Buffs and Cougs isn’t likely to ring a lot of bells on the national stage.

Pac-12However, the outcome couldn’t be more pivotal for each team’s season and the trajectory of their programs going forward.

I look at the matchup in Pullman here and preview the other five Conference games tomorrow.

The picks of our writers and broadcasters appear at the bottom.

Colorado at Washington State

Friday, November 17
7:30 pm PT, FS1

It’s bowl elimination season.

The path to six wins for the Buffs and Cougs is difficult, but neither will be able to reach .500 if they lose on Friday.

For those who say Bowl Season doesn’t matter and only the College Football Playoff games have any relevance: Shield your eyes. Reaching six wins matters to the players on these rosters, the coaching staffs, and the fans.

For Washington State, it’s a last gasp before their bleak conference future comes to fruition. For Colorado, it’s an opportunity to regain the respect of the nation after starting the year strong.

On the field, it’s a battle between two prolific passing offenses. WSU’s Ben Arbuckle’s system has produced the nation’s No. 3 passing offense while CU’s Shedeur Sanders leads the country’s No. 9 passing offense.

Buffs QB Shedeur Sanders has over 3,000 passing yds this season | CU Athletics

The deciding factor, then, could come down to the defenses. The Buffs are one of the top teams in the FBS at taking care of the ball and the Cougs are one of the worst.

Forget the pass-defense statistics (which are poor for both teams). This game figures to be determined by which defense forces more turnovers. Or which team makes more mistakes—however you want to look at it.

Advantage Colorado.

For all the sacks the CU offensive line gives up, Sanders rarely throws interceptions. Coming into the game No. 6 nationally in turnovers lost, Colorado’s ability to protect the ball is what will make the difference.

Look for Wazzu to commit key TOs in pivotal moments that hand the game to Coach Prime and the Buffs.

Game Picks from Our Senior Writers and Broadcasters

—More from Dane Miller—