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Since the two teams entered the Pac-12 together in 2011, the league has certainly seemed to want Utah and Colorado to be rivals.

So far … it hasn't happened.

"Utah and Colorado are definitely not rivals," said Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt. "Not the way USC and UCLA are or Washington and Washington State are."

And Klatt would know. He's a Colorado native; he was a CU quarterback; he still lives in the state.

Pac-12 Network college football analyst Yogi Roth insisted that nobody at the channel is trying to make Utah-Colorado bigger than it is.

"Nobody's trying to say, 'Oh, it's the most epic rivalry in history,' " said Roth, who will work the pregame and halftime for the game (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., P12N.) "Of course there's a natural rivalry, just from a proximity standpoint."

The Utes and the Buffs are closer than they are to any other Pac-12 school. But they're not close.

Compared to the 514 miles (driving distance) between them, the Pac-12's other five rivalries are neighbors. It's 292 miles between Washington and Washington State; 47 miles between Oregon and Oregon State; 111 miles between Arizona and Arizona State, 45 miles between Cal and Stanford; and 16 miles between UCLA and USC.

"Colorado and Utah aren't even all that close," Klatt said. "And there's not much history between the two."

Not recent history, anyway. The two teams have met 61 times (CU holds a 31-27-3 advantage), but didn't play at all from 1963-2010.

It's not that the games haven't been competitive since the two joined the Pac-12. The average margin of victory was 5.25 points. CU won 17-14 in '11; Utah won 42-35 in '12, 24-16 in '13, and 38-34 in '14.

"I've been lucky enough to call that game every year," said Roth. "And it's been an absolute blast. The better the game, the better the rivalry."

But the fact is that the games haven't meant much. Colorado has had nothing on the line — not even a chance finish .500. And they're just 3-8 this year.

Utah hasn't had much, other than a shot at the Pac-12 title game in 2011 (Utah would have been would have been 5-4 with a win; 7-2 USC was ineligible). A win or loss on Saturday probably helps determine which of the lesser bowls invites Utah. (Although ... would a loss drop them into the Las Vegas Bowl — opposite BYU?)

"The best way to build a rivalry is to play in games that mean something," Klatt said. "If we have three or four years when the winner goes to the league championship game, things will really get really interesting. Really heated."

But that, clearly, is not happening this year. And maybe not anytime soon.

Klatt's last two years at CU (2004-2005) were the most recent two years the Buffs have had winning records. Their string of consecutive losing seasons extends to 10 with this year's 3-8 record.

"When you look at Colorado, and I have no problem saying this, it was one of the worst teams I've ever seen in my career in college football five years ago when they were getting going in the Pac-12," Roth said. "They came from a far deeper place than Utah did.

"I think they're headed in the right direction. But they're not finishing games. They're not making the big plays."

Once again, however, when the two teams meet on Saturday, Colorado will have nothing to lose.

"This could be a great rivalry someday," Klatt said. "It's not now. But maybe it will be eventually."

Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.