At 8-4, Utah is going bowling.

The Utes don’t know which bowl game they will play in yet, or their opponent, but will find out on Dec. 3.

Which quarterback will lead Utah as the Utes look to win their first bowl game since a 30-14 win over West Virginia in the 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl?

Bryson Barnes was unavailable due to injury in Utah’s 23-17 win over Colorado to cap the regular season, but Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said postgame that Barnes will hopefully be ready to go for the Utes’ bowl appearance.

“Hopefully we get Bryson back. It’s nothing that we don’t believe is long term. I guess it remains to be seen, but he is making progress. And with the timing of the bowl, of course, a later bowl game gives him more time to prep. But I think regardless, even if it’s one of the earlier ones, that he would be ready to go, that’s what we’re hoping for,” Whittingham said.

Of the potential bowls Utah will be considered for, the earliest possible bowl would be the Las Vegas Bowl vs. a Big Ten opponent on Dec. 23. That would give Barnes more than a month from his last played game, which was against Arizona on Nov. 18.

Other possible bowls include the Holiday Bowl vs. an ACC opponent on Dec. 27 and the Sun Bowl vs. an ACC opponent on Dec. 29.

Backing up Barnes, or if he is unable to play, would likely be Luke Bottari.

With Cam Rising out for the season, Barnes injured, Nate Johnson transferring, Utah wanting to preserve Brandon Rose’s medical redshirt, plus freshman quarterback Mack Howard not deemed ready by the coaching staff, the Utes went with Bottari in the regular-season finale.

The walk-on, fifth-string quarterback got his first Division I action in Utah’s win over Colorado. He wasn’t asked to do much, passing it just 10 times, completing six of them for 61 yards, and scoring two rushing touchdowns.

Related
‘He’s 1-0’: Fifth-string quarterback Luke Bottari scores two touchdowns in Utah’s 23-17 Pac-12 finale win over Colorado
Utah quarterback Nate Johnson will transfer
What Coach Prime said about Colorado football after ending the season at 4-8

Whittingham said on Saturday that if Bottari was hurt, it would have been either Ja’Quinden Jackson, who came to Utah as a quarterback, or Rose.

“If Luke was not available, it would’ve been Ja’Quinden Jackson. ... Well, between Rose and (Jackson), Rose had a small package that he was ready to execute, just a handful of plays as was Ja’Quinden,” Whittingham said. “Depending on the situation, they both probably would’ve played, but if we would’ve needed to run the clock out or whatever, JJ had the wildcat stuff down. So yeah, we had a watered down version for Brandon, very watered down because again, he just hadn’t been in meetings the entire season.” 

Borttari and Rose were the only quarterbacks to dress for Saturday’s game.

All indications point towards Utah, and Rose, wanting the redshirt freshman to take a medical redshirt. Rose was injured during a fall camp scrimmage, so to qualify for the medical redshirt, he would not be able to play a single snap in the bowl game.

For Utah’s bowl game, Barnes will be the starting quarterback if he’s healthy enough to play, with Bottari as the likely backup and Jackson as the emergency No. 3 option.