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Utah Utes

College Football

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Utah football continues to cruise along with success, yet hasn’t won a Pac-12 South title, the only eligible team not to do so. Still, the Utes have won 28 games in the last three years and that includes three bowls. This team continues to be consistent, but elite isn’t something anyone would call Kyle Whittingham’s squad.

And being elite won’t happen this season with a revamped offense led by new coordinator Troy Taylor, who comes over from Eastern Washington. Quarterback is still up in the air, although Troy Williams has the experience from last season. But with a new coordinator, he’s not guaranteed to be the starter with Tyler Huntley also in the mix along with Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman. The line has talent to build around in Salesi Uhatafe, but there are a lot of new faces there, which could cause problems in a new offense. The Utes also lost running back Joe Williams with Zack Moss (382 yards) expected to take over. The receiving game loses experience with Raelon Singleton (27 receptions, 464 yards, 4 TDs) the top returnee. With a new offense and multiple new skill position players, this group isn’t guaranteed to improve and that’s what could cost this team a Pac-12 South title.

It’s kind of the same situation on the defensive side even with how consistent Utah’s defense has been throughout the years. But just like on offense, the Utes lost loads of talent and a lot of new starters will be plugged in. The first need will be finding players to rush the quarterback as they lost most of their guys in that area. Lowell Lotulelei can hold down things in the middle, but someone like Kyle Fitts will need to step up on the outside, while the back seven has some holes, as well. Senior linebacker Kavika Luafatasaga needs to have a big season so this group doesn't drop off and the same can be said for one of the lone returning players in the secondary in safety Chase Hansen.

All that said, it’s clear why Utah has +1400 odds (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the Pac-12. That puts them at third in the South behind USC and UCLA, and slightly ahead of Colorado. Just like last season, nothing will be a gimmee for the Utes outside of a couple non-conference games. A trip to BYU could easily result in an early-season loss, while they get tested in their first Pac-12 game, hosting USC. Having to travel to both UCLA and Colorado won’t help and that could lead to three conference losses with Washington and Oregon still on the schedule.

It looks to be another good, but not great season for the Utes with seven or eight wins most likely. To reach eight or even nine would require Williams (or whoever wins the QB job) to roll with the new offense and with new weapons. The defense will also have to do better than 23.9 points per game allowed and that starts in the secondary where they were torched a season ago.


2017 Utah Utes Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. North Dakota
Sept. 9 at BYU
Sept. 16 vs. San Jose State
Sept. 22 at Arizona

Oct. 7 vs. Stanford
Oct. 14 at USC

Oct. 21 vs. Arizona State
Oct. 28 at Oregon
Nov. 3 vs. UCLA
Nov. 11 vs. Washington State
Nov. 18 at Washington
Nov. 25 vs. Colorado

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