Sitting at 2-9 and having lost five Pac-12 contests by an average of 32 points, it's not like Colorado has a lot to lose when they head to UCLA this Saturday. Which might explain why Buffs quarterback Tyler Hansen felt comfortable publicly guaranteeing a win over the Bruins in the wake of his team's surprising rout of Arizona last Saturday.
In most cases, a head coach would put the kibosh on that kind of talk with a quickness, talking about how much he "respects" the opponent and how he wants the team to "play its game" and "not worry about who we're playing" or something similar. But when you're seven games under .500 and have lost an FBS-high 22 straight road games? Jon Embree said Tuesday thinks that kind of bravado is fine--and in fact, he predicted a win himself:
"I just believe part of reaching success and attaining some things, you have to say it. If you want to win a championship, you have to say, 'I expect us to win a championship.' And then you got to go do it ...As Embree himself points out, it's not like there's any secrets between the two locker rooms this week anyway; in addition to the connection between Embree and Neuheisel from their previous time in Boulder, Jon's son Taylor Embree is a wide receiver for the Bruins. Jon told the Los Angeles Times the game will decide "bragging rights for an eternity."
"It does not change how teams are going to play. Rick Neuheisel wants to beat Jon Embree's behind, in anything we do, and it goes all the way back to noon hoops when he was here as an assistant. So I don't expect it to change. ... There is not a coach in America that doesn't go into a game thinking his team is going to go win.
"So whether it's said in the locker room, whether it's said publicly, to me it doesn't change anything."
So whatever material Embree and Hansen offer the UCLA bulletin board, the stakes are already as high as they could be for both teams -- the Bruins are still fighting for a bowl berth (and even a potential Pac-12 title game appearance), and for the Buffs there's pride both personal and professional. (As pointed out by the Daily Camera, there's as many players on the UCLA roster that have played in a road victory as Buffaloes than there are on Colorado's.)
In short: if you're convinced you're going to snap a 22-game losing streak and the other team already doesn't need the help getting focused, might as well call your shot, right?