Schedule and Odds
Utah had a surprising 2014 season, finishing with nine wins, although 5-4 in Pac-12 play. They were up-and-down throughout the year with wins against UCLA and USC, but an early-season loss to Washington State. The Utes bring enough talent back to again pester some of the other South teams that are expected to win the division.
The Utes will once again have a solid offense that will be run through running back Devontae Booker (1,818 total yards, 12 TDs). Some are even labeling Booker as a dark-horse candidate for the Heisman. He was a beast last year and may see the ball even more in 2015 with Utah’s top two receivers gone. Quarterback hasn’t really been decided yet, but it’ll come down to Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson, both of whom have experience, but also a history of injury issues. Neither played in the spring Game for that reason alone. Both are seniors, but it’s hard not to see Wilson not getting the start in the opening Game.
Receiver was one of Utah’s main focuses in the spring and it will continue to be. Kenneth SCott (48 receptions) is still there, but the next three top receivers from a year ago are gone. New names such as Deniko Carter and tight end Wallace Gonzalez are expected to help out. The offensive line was much improved in 2014 and while they lost a couple pieces from that group, should once again lead a strong rushing Game.
Utah lost a couple big names on defense as well, but this is a team that is almost always stout on the defensive end. They gave up just 24.9 points per Game last year and should be just as good this year. The defense dominated the spring, but a lot of that could be due to Wilson and Thompson not at quarterback. The line will be strong again with Lowell Lotulelei slimmed down and Hunter Dimick at the top of a deep group. Linebacker Sunia Tauteoli has been one of the bigger names from the spring and while the Utes lost top guys in the secondary, they have experience to use in Dominique Hatfield and Tevin Carter.
They may have to replace a couple NFL guys on defense, but have enough depth that it won’t be a huge problem. The Utes are also dealing with two new coordinators, although hired familiar guys so there won’t be much change for Kyle Whittingham’s team.
Utah went to Ann Arbor last year and beat up the Wolverines and now they host them. The Utes have a tough couple opening Games, but they are all winnable. Things get a little tougher in Pac-12 play as they travel to Oregon right out of the gates and then USC a few weeks later. Home Games against California, Oregon State and Colorado will be good chances for Utah to lock up some wins.
The Utes should once again battle for first place in the South with a top RB and experienced QBs combined with a solid defense. While nothing puts them over the top, Utah could easily see nine wins again, if not 10 due to a slightly easier Schedule.
2015 Utah Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. Michigan
Sept. 11 vs. Utah State
Sept. 19 at Fresno State
Sept. 26 at Oregon
Oct. 10 vs. California
Oct. 17 vs. Arizona State
Oct. 24 at USC
Oct. 31 vs. Oregon State
Nov. 7 at Washington
Nov. 14 at Arizona
Nov. 21 vs. UCLA
Nov. 28 vs. Colorado