Is this the year the Utes win the South? Is this the year to wake up an smell the roses in Pasadena? Is it the year for Utes fans everywhere to have a shot at a national championship that their rival BYU Cougars claimed in 1984? It’s time to stir things up here and closer take a look at this upcoming season game by game.
Game 1 Wildcats in the Rice Eccles House:
Weber State might be a tough team that almost upset defending FCS Champion James Madison last year but they aren’t upsetting the Utes of the Conference of Champions! In this game the Ute defense will keep the offense on the field as long as possible. The athletic quarterback Tyler Huntley will be able to make himself a toasted cream cheese bagel, call his girlfriend, book a table for two at the Olive Garden and still have time to dodge Wildcat defenders and throw touchdowns. This one won’t be close!
Final Score: Utah 42 Weber State 10
Game 2 The Utes go for the semi Huskies:
Heisman hopeful Jordan Lynch is no longer with Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois is no longer relevant nationally. The Utes are always very relevant especially in a month like September. Expect the Utes to run away with this one on their home field against the Junior Varsity Huskies.
Final Score: Utah 31 NIU 17
Game 3 The Utes take on the Varsity Huskies:
Two Huskies in a row? I haven’t seen that since I went to the dog pound! Washington has been looking good with former Boise State coach Chris Petersen. You can never sleep on Jake Browning and this high octane Washington team. Expect to see a tight game in Sack Lake City but in the end the groceries will tear open the sacks like a bunch of badly placed groceries.
Final Score: Washington 20 Utah 12
Game 4 No Luke Sky Falker in this episode:
A year removed from Luke Falk lighting up the PAC-12 (something you don’t hear a lot of in Pullman Washington) this Logan High phenom became the biggest fanboy as he was drafted the same number as Tom Brady was. Mike Leach is a good coach but without his prolific experienced quarterback who had a special chip on his shoulder over his home state schools and everyone else that passed him up, these Cougars have no edge. The Utes get the job done but once again Huntley gets a little banged up early in conference play and eyes will turn to the backup for the next week.
Final Score: Utah 24 WSU 20
Game 5 Utes head to face the Nerds of the West:
I predict this will be one of the best wins the U of U will have on their resume this season. Stanford is never an easy opponent and the road is always tough but I expect Jack Tuttle to excel as the backup and get his receivers a couple more touches than Happy Feet Huntley. The Utes win this game in the trenches with a solid O-Line and D-Line.
Final Score Prediction: Utah 27 Stanford 24 OT
Game 6 The Utes make Sumlin look silly:
This wouldn’t be the first time the Utes made an SEC coach look silly. Sure Kevin Sumlin no longer coaches at Texas A and M and is coaching a streaky team in Arizona but that’s besides the point. Sumlin is getting paid 2 million a year to start rebuilding the Wildcats but it won’t happen this year. The Wildcats may get revenge on the Cougars but they aren’t sweeping the Beehive State this year, especially at Rice Eccles. Huntley returns and runs circles around these guys.
Final Score: Utah 21 Arizona 13
Game 7 Utah pulls out a Trojan Horse vs USC (that actually works this time):
Does everyone remember the two point conversion attempt that the Utes used to ALMOST beat the mighty USC Trojans last season? Well the scoreboard usually doesn’t remember those things in the eyes of history but the Utah players sure remember and will be looking to convert a close play here this time at home. Look for the Utes to get tricky with it if they find themselves in a similar situation. Instead of running right the whole time they might start going one direction and sweep it to someone the other direction to make the Trojans hesitate enough to allow a score this time and catapult the Utes into the upcoming CFP rankings conversation.
Final Score: Utes 22 USC 21
Game 8 Utes Cruisin’ for the Bruins:
Chip Kelly returns to the PAC-12! Surprisingly he never faced the Utes in his tenure there as the Utes faced the little brother Beavers in their first two years in the PAC-12 before Kelly left. Look for Kelly to coach strong but honestly can he lead this team to victory after Heisman finalist Josh Rosen left for the NFL? That remains to be seen. The Southern California teams haven’t been the powerhouses that we’ve seen of old and it could be time for the Utes to pounce. It’s on the road but I take the Utes in another close battle with a So. Cal team. The Utes might be the cardiac kids of the PAC-12 if they can pull off these close wins!
Final Score: Utah 34 UCLA 28
Game 9 Utah at P.K’s Alma Mater:
It wouldn’t be a college football season without taking a shot at our favorite singer sports radio in the state. Herm Edwards might come up with a cute speech beforehand like “You play to win the game!” but it won’t change things in year one. The Sun Devils always play nice football and get hyped and ultimately end up in a bowl game but ever since the Utes became the O.G BCS Busters they’ve had their sights set higher. The Utes will win this game with some classic smash mouth football but Tyler Huntley goes down with an injury at the end. Lucky the new four game will still allow Tuttle to finish the regular season while keeping his redshirt on.
Final Score: Utah 21 ASU 17
Game 10 Duck…. Duck……. Utes:
Oregon isn’t Oregon. Chip isn’t the coach. Mariota isn’t under center. There is no way a guy named Justin Herbert will beat the Utes! I know he was good before the injury but he sounds more like the chess club captain than a football captain. Expect the first two quarters to be Duck, Duck but expect the second half to be Utes. Utah is going to tire out their web footed friends in the second half by increasing the physicality and tempo just a notch and maintaining it for the last 30 minutes.
Final Score: Utah 38 Oregon 20
Game 11 Utah heads to Boulder for DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL:
It’s the PAC-12 it ain’t intramurals! Ok it’s been a while since the epic Dan Hawkins rant but Colorado for some reason has always been tough for the Utes. A couple years ago the Utes were doing mighty fine at 8-2 before hiccups to Oregon and Colorado at the end! Had they won out they would have attained that coveted South Division title and played Washington for an outside shot at the Playoff or certainly the Rose Bowl. I think this is the year the Utes cement the South title with a win here and the lone division loss being to the North champion Washington Huskies. The seasons a wrap! But wait…..
Final Score Utah 31 Colorado 24
Game 12 Holy War Thanksgiving Leftovers:
Fortune 500 companies might go from the red to the black on the Friday after Thanksgiving but it will be all red on Saturday again for the Utes! As I said in the Cougar season preview I think the Utes very well could lose this game. I have three reasons for this hot take:
1. The games are always close. Ever since the 54-10 debacle every game has been one possession in the rivalry game. It only takes a couple bounces the Cougar’s way to change things around just like they did in the basketball rivalry last year.
2. The Utes have nothing to play for…. besides their dignity. And even if they barely lost this game it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They could still have a successful season and hold their heads high for seven straight victories over their rival.
3. It’s supposed to be a rivalry. It’s not considered one until the other team wins at least sometimes. It’s been almost 9 years since Max Hall beat the Utes and expressed his hatred for them immediately after on the news. Auburn sometimes beats Alabama. It’s been a while since Michigan best Ohio State but with Urban on the hot seat for possible violations Harbaugh could finally do what he was hired from the NFL to do and beat the Buckeyes.
It’s time for the rivalry to return to prominence. Bronco even said Utah State vs BYU was the featured in state rivalry game because they play every year and as of late USU has had more parity with BYU. The Cougars need to get a win if the Holy War is still going to be the big ticket in the state
Final Score Prediction: Cougars 24 Utes 23
So there you have it. The Utes finish the season at 10-2 and play the Huskies in the title game. If they win they’d have a shot at the college football playoff but win or lose they’d likely be headed for the Rose Bowl and it would be difficult to beat a top Big Ten team. They would have some West home advantage but Power 5 Football travels well. I’m saying the Utes get their third loss to the Huskies and the fourth loss to someone like Penn State or Michigan State in the Rose Bowl. Not as impressive as the Sugar Bowl beat down 10 years ago but certainly something that Ute fans have been waiting for. Every other team in the South has had a spot in the PAC-12 title game. It’s their time and any real Ute fan would take this level of success over another win over their rival any day.