Big 12 football power rankings after spring portal closes: Did Buffaloes get better?

Coach Prime and his family have talked a big game out all offseason in Boulder, but where do the Buffs realistically stack up in the new-look Big 12? It might not be as high as Sanders and Colorado fans hope.
Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2)
Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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. . . Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham. . Utah Utes. . Last Year: 8-5 Las Vegas Bowl L. 2. 843

Key losses: Nate Johnson, Bryson Barnes Key additions: Cam Rising (from injury) Dorian Singer

Kyle Whittingham is always going to have one of the toughest teams in the country. Last year, he just didn’t have a quarterback. Cam Rising never returned from his knee injury in the 2023 Rose Bowl, so Nate Johnson and Bryson Barnes had to split time. 

Even with an excellent defense, neither Johnson nor Barnes could turn the team into a consistent winner. Utah’s offense was so inept that the Utes had to flip Sione Vaki from safety to running back and he was arguably the best offensive player for stretches. Well, predictably, both quarterbacks left through the transfer portal and Whittingham will start the season with a healthy Rising. 

Rising is a solid veteran, but doesn’t give Utah an elite ceiling and comes with serious injury risk. In an underwhelming conference the Utes get the two spot, but Whittingham’s program could quickly be passed by younger teams with bright futures like Arizona and West Virginia.