The Utah Utes went 4-5 in the Pac-12 in their first year in conference, but have gone backwards since, winning 3 in 2012 and 2 last year. This year they have 53 lettermen back, including 12 starters, but still a tough schedule may keep them from attaining a bowl game this year. Schedule & preview are below.
The Utes put up a healthy 29.2 ppg and with 6 starters back, including QB Travis Wilson, they should have another solid offensive year. This is if he is able to go, which is still in question thanks to a medical condition that cut last year short for him. If he doesn’t go it will be up to Kendal Thompson to run the offense. Whoever runs the offense will do so with a WR corps that doesn’t have allot of returning talent, outside of Dres Anderson, who had 1007 yards receiving and 7 TDs. The running game for the Utes should be in good shape with Bubba Poole returning after running for 607 yards last year, to go along with highly touted JC transfer Devontae Booker, who was academically ineligible last year. The OL has 3 starters back but still is just average at best. The Utes have allowed 25 and 28 ppg in their first two year in the Pac-12 and that is unlike this defensive minded team. They lose 16 lettermen from last year’s squad, but still 22 do return, including 6 starters, so I look for improvements on this side of the ball. Replacing Tevor Reilly (16 TFL last year) will weaken the DL that has just 1 starter back. They do have decent talent to plug into the line, but will take a bit to gel. The LB corps, looks to be a strength of this team, with 3 starters back, while the secondary is an average group. Jacoby Hale and Giionni Paul were expected to add solid depth to the LB corps, but both suffered injuries in the spring.
The Utes are slowing building up their talent level at depth and they look like an overall improved team this year. The offense should continue to grow, and will be so much better if Wilson is in there and if the running game can produce as expected. The Defenses has been beat up the last 2 years, but they may be turning the corner on that side of the ball, despite the loss of Hale and Paul. Road games vs Michigan, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford, plus home dates vs USC, Oregon and Arizona will not help the improvements that this team has made show up in the W/L column. KEY TREND: 6-0 ATS after playing Arizona State.
2014 Utah Utes Football Schedule
Thu, Aug 28th, 2014 Idaho State
Sat, Sep 6th, 2014 Fresno State
Sat, Sep 20th, 2014 at Michigan
Sat, Sep 27th, 2014 Washington State
Sat, Oct 4th, 2014 at UCLA
Thu, Oct 16th, 2014 at Oregon State
Sat, Oct 25th, 2014 USC
Sat, Nov 1st, 2014 at Arizona State
Sat, Nov 8th, 2014 Oregon
Sat, Nov 15th, 2014 at Stanford
Sat, Nov 22nd, 2014 Arizona
Sat, Nov 29th, 2014 at Colorado
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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Golden Nugget Games Of The Year
Steve Fezzik from Pregame.com takes a look at some the games of the year tat have been released by the Golden Nugget, along with some tips for handicapping them.