Summer is here, and that means football season is upon us. A summer tradition unlike any other — grinding out research for football futures. I’ll have a series of my favorite NCAA Football futures releasing all the way up until the start of the season in late August.
Utah was good to me back in 2019 when I took them to go over nine wins, finishing the regular season at 11-1 — a loss to Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship likely kept them out of the College Football Playoff. Phil Steele, who joined me on the Unreasonable Odds podcast to discuss futures for the upcoming college football season, had Utah pegged as his No. 1 surprise team that year.
But after 2019, the Utes had a ton of turnover, losing key pieces of their dominant run game, and returning just two starters on the defensive side of the ball. Following a weird down year in a strange COVID season, I expect Utah to be much closer to the product we saw back in 2019.
For starters, the defense should be back on track. After a ton of turnover, now the Utes return nine starters on that side of the ball. The run game should also be dominant, thanks to a strong group of RBs, and more importantly a veteran offensive line. Phil revealed on Unreasonable Odds that Kyle Wittingham (Utah’s head coach) told him that this is the best offensive line that he’s ever had. That’s not something to downplay. This running game is going to be tough to stop.
Finally, Utah has a QB! Charlie Brewer was a big-time prospect at Baylor, and while we saw the upside, he was also running for his life. Brewer played behind a terrible offensive line, but after transferring to Utah he should now have the time to make the plays he wants to.
The schedule isn’t exactly perfect, which is why playing the over on Washington’s win total is my favorite play in the PAC-12. But there’s also a chance Utah is only an underdog once this season if it plays to its abilities — Oct. 9 at USC being the game the Utes will clearly be a dog.
The Utes do get Arizona State and Oregon both at home, and avoid playing the Huskies all together. In the end, I feel we see a 10-win team here, with the downside of 9-3 still cashing us our over tickets.
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