Utah's Kyle Whittingham says Colorado "back on the map" because of Deion Sanders

The Utes coach is excited to have the former Pac-12 foes transition to the new conference
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Kyle Whittingham expressed admiration for Deion Sanders and the direction of the Colorado football program. He acknowledged the significant changes in Boulder since Coach Prime took over last year and recognized the positive impact Sanders has had on the team.

The Utah Utes were predicted to win the Big 12 conference in the preseason media poll, and are among a select "Four Corners" teams to make the jump. With both Colorado and Utah fielding backup quarterbacks in their previous matchup, this year's encounter in Boulder promises to be notably different from the snowy affair in Salt Lake City to wrap up the 2023 season.

"Coach Sanders has done a great job of infusing excitement and talent into that program," Whittingham remarked ahead of his 20th season leading the Utes. "His own sons are terrific players. I know we didn't get to see Shedeur, but from watching the tape, he's a terrific talent. Essentially, Sanders has put Colorado football back on the map."

Whittingham acknowledged that in Sanders' second year, Colorado will be aiming for progress. "They started off very strong last year before injuries caught up to them, and it didn't end the way they wanted. But he's definitely rejuvenated things in Boulder," he said.

Despite Sanders' efforts, Colorado couldn't snap a seven-game losing streak in the "Rumble in the Rockies" Rivalry. However, their last win in the series did occur at Folsom Field, where the two teams will meet on November 16.

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"We have to go to Boulder this year; it's a tough place to play," Whittingham noted. "Last time we were in Boulder, there weren't many people in the stands. Now, it's full every week, so that'll be an environment that we haven't experienced."

Whittingham's comments underscore the renewed energy and competitiveness Coach Prime has brought to Colorado. The anticipation for the upcoming matchup is high, with both teams eager to showcase their progress and capabilities. As Sanders continues to rebuild and invigorate the Buffs, the clash with Utah will serve as a significant test and a potential turning point for the program.

For Whittingham and his team, the challenge of playing in a revitalized Folsom Field adds an extra layer of complexity to their quest for conference dominance. The Utes will need to adapt to the charged atmosphere and bring their best game to maintain their winning streak against Colorado. The upcoming game is set to be a pivotal moment in the season, highlighting the evolving dynamics within the Big 12 and the impact of new leadership on traditional rivalries.

Jason Jones