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Colorado Football Weekend - Air Force Takes On Utah, Buffaloes Hope To Upset The Sooners

SB Nation Denver takes a look at the local football action this weekend.

Every Friday through the end of the season we will be breaking down all of the local football games of the week and highlighting a few of the other games of note for the weekend. We won't be predicting the outcomes here, we will leave that for all of you in the comment section.

College Football:

Colorado Buffaloes @ Oklahoma Sooners- Norman, OK - 7:15 ESPN2
Colorado +23

The Colorado Buffaloes head to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the #9 ranked Sooners. Oklahoma fell for the first time last Saturday in a loss to the Missouri Tigers. The Sooner offense will be looking to rebound from a mistake filled 27 point performance against a Buffalo defense that has struggled the last two weeks, allowing over 400 yards to Baylor and Texas Tech respectively.

Colorado will attempt to stop the fact-paced Oklahoma offense without several playmakers on defense. Middle linebacker Jon Major is out with a knee injury creating a big hole to go along with the missing players at defensive end and nickelback. The Buffaloes will need to get pressure on quarterback Landry Jones and limit the yards after catch from Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray in order to keep the score close.

On offense the Buffs will be playing with out starting quarterback Tyler Hansen, who ruptured his spleen against the Red Raiders. Cody Hawkins is back and he hopes to get his second big win over the Sooners. The Ralphie Report knows that the Buffs have to run the ball to have a chance this weekend.

1. Re-establish the run - Giving up on the run game will be the road to ruin. The only chance Colorado has to find a Bowl at the end of the rainbow is to focus on making the ground game succeed, using everyone capable of running besides Cody, and put each of them into the best situation to use their talents. Get the speedy ones going north ASAP. Get the strong ones into the middle quickly. Act like you know what you're doing with your rushxiers, and you will succeed.

Utah Utes @ Air Force Falcons - Colorado Springs, CO - 5:30 CBS College Sports
Air Force +7

After a tough 38-7 loss to TCU, the Air Force Falcons get another chance to upset an undefeated team as the eighth ranked Utah Utes head to Colorado Springs. The Falcons would most likely re-enter the rankings with a win and would reach the minimum win total for bowl eligibility.

Air Force has lost two games in a row after starting the season 5-1. While all three of the losses would have come against some strong competition, a third straight loss would derail much of the early season momentum that the Falcons had managed to generate. Utah has a very strong defense, but they haven't faced a rushing attack like they will on Saturday.

The Utes travel to Air Force, which is facing its third top-10 team of the season. The Falcons have lost two straight but still have the top rushing offense in the country, though they were held to a season-low 184 yards on the ground last week against TCU. Though these games are generally close, Utah has won six of the last seven. Critics have pointed to the soft Utah schedule as a reason that it is overrated, so winning here would be huge. It would also set up a game to watch in Week 10, as it hosts No. 4 TCU.

New Mexico Lobos @ Colorado State Rams - Fort Collins, CO - 4:00 The Mtn.
Colorado State -16

The Colorado State Rams are favored for the second time this season as they welcome the winless New Mexico Lobos to Fort Collins. The Rams hope to get the offense going again after losing to Utah, 59-6. New Mexico hasn't won since beating the Rams last season by two points.

Colorado State is still hoping to become bowl eligible, but will need a win on Saturday to keep any bowl dreams alive.

New Mexico (0-7, 0-3) will look for their first win since they beat CSU (2-6, 1-3) last year. The Rams are in must win mode if they want to become bowl eligible. Last year the Lobos beat the Rams by two points. This year the Lobos must travel to Fort Collins where the Rams are 2-1 and seem to actually play football instead of whatever they do on the road. On the year the Rams are averaging just 16.4 points a game, however at home against teams not named TCU they are near 40 points. The Lobos have a high score of 14 on the road this year which came against New Mexico State.

The Rams have a shot at 6 wins and the famed bowl eligibility given for winning half your games. The Rams will take on UNM and BYU at home and travel to SDSU and WYO. The easiest of the four games is today at home against New Mexico. The hard one will be next week at San Diego State the surprise team of the MWC. I believe they can beat BYU at home since they seem to be a legitimate football team at Hughes Stadium. That could leave quite a Border War with WYO who is also in must win mode and has a shot as they play SDSU, @Lobos, @Rebels, and host the Rams. If both teams can squeak past SDSU it could be a very interesting game up in Laramie in November.

Other Games Of Note:

#5 Michigan State @ #18 Iowa - Iowa City, IA - 1:30 ESPN
#6 Missouri @ #14 Nebraska - Lincoln, NE - 1:30 ABC
#1 Auburn @ Mississippi - Oxford, MS - 4:00 ESPN2
#25 Baylor @ Texas - Austin, TX - 5:00 FSN
#2 Oregon  @ USC - Los Angeles, CA - 6:00 ABC


Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers - London, England - 11:00 CBS
Broncos +2
Broncos fans felt like they were waking up in the middle of a nightmare a week early last Sunday against the Raiders, suffering one of the worst losses in the history of the storied franchise. A game that many expected would be an easy Denver win and the start of a solid stretch of football turned into a 59-14 beat down.

Now the Broncos head to take on the "home" team 49ers in London, England in a game between two of the most disappointing teams this season. The game will be played in London's Wembley Stadium in front of English fans who will no doubt question why the NFL would send these two squads across the Atlantic Ocean in a hope to reach out to a new audience.

The Denver defense will be facing off against a 49ers offense that figures to send heavy doses of running back Frank Gore the Broncos way, as San Francisco will be trotting out their third string quarterback, Troy Smith. Starter Alex Smith was injured in Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers and was replaced by David Carr for the rest of the game. Head coach Mike Singletary thinks that Troy Smith gives the Niners the best opportunity to win:

"Troy Smith gives us a good opportunity to win this game," Singletary said. "He has enough of the offense to play. The bottom line is I think for where we are, Troy Smith gives us a good opportunity to win the game."
On offense the Broncos hope to find a lot more success than they did against the Raiders against a strong 49ers defense.

Defensively, the Niners rank 24th in points against (23.1), 13th in Total yards against (321.9), 15th in Pass Defense (215.7) and 15th against the run (106.1). They have 13 Sacks and allow opponents a 40% (38/95) conversion rate on 3rd down. The 49ers' defense has been fairly solid against the run this season, but opposing teams with speedier RB's have had success starting their runs up the middle and then bouncing them outside.

Other Games Of Note:

Green Bay Packers @ New York Jets - East Rutherford, NJ - 11:00 FOX
Minnesota Vikings @ New England Patriots - Foxboro, MA - 2:15 NFL FOX
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New Orleans Saints - New Orleans, LA - 6:20 NBC