Utah Utes Win Total: o/u 9.5 wins
Kyle Wittingham took over the Utes program when Urban Myer left at the end of 2004 and has led Utah to a winning season in all but two of those seasons since. The Utes were a powerhouse in the Mountain West Conference until joining the Pac 12 in 2011 and have become a perennial contender in their new conference as well. Utah has notched double-digit wins twice in that time and reached a top 5 AP ranking in both of those seasons.
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At USC (10/9): The Trojans beat Utah in “week one” for the Utes last year, which didn’t end up being until mid-November. The Pac 12 schedule was a result of an early decision that the conference wouldn’t be playing College Football in 2020 but was later reversed as the shortened season kicked off in November. The Trojans and Utes are tied for the second-best odds to win the Pac 12 South division at +250 per Bovada, trailing only division favorite Arizona State (+200). Clay Helton’s team has the highest preseason ranking of the three at 15th in the AP poll.
Arizona State (10/16): The aforementioned South division favorites come to Salt Lake City a week after the Utes travel to Los Angeles. Herm Edwards’ team comes with quarterback Jayden Daniels leading the charge. Daniels’ dual-threat ability should challenge Pac 12 defenses all season, and his experience will be a difference-maker as he suits up for his third season as Arizona State’s starter. These two teams have split the last six matches ups so expect a close one to help determine the Pac 12 South winner.
Oregon (11/20): Utah gets to navigate the challenges of their division rivals early in the schedule but their toughest conference test comes in November. The Ducks are the favorites to win the Pac 12 according to BetUS at +200. Edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux is the presumed best player in the conference and possibly the nation and is joined on defense by young star linebackers Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell. If the Ducks get quality play from the quarterback position, they could be in line to make a run at the College Football Playoff.
Utah brings back 18 total starters from the 2020 team that finished the season on a three-game winning streak. On offense, they will be breaking in a new quarterback, but Charlie Brewer, a graduate transfer who started multiple seasons at Baylor, comes in and could provide a veteran presence at the position. The defense returns eight starters and looks to get back to playing at levels consistent with 2018 and 2019, in which they allowed less than 20 points per game.
Over 9.5 wins.
This might be going out on a limb, but Kyle Wittingham has a history of success with this program and brings back a heavy veteran team. USC seems like the team that could give the Utes problems in the division, especially with the matchup coming on the road. Utah will also look to get revenge against Oregon after a disappointing loss in the Pac 12 Championship in 2019 that eliminated any chance of the Utes making the CFP.
Utah Pac 12 Champions: The South division seems to be up for grabs between Utah, USC and Arizona State. If the Utes can emerge between the three teams, they will likely face either Oregon or Washington in the title game. Bovada has the Utes betting line at +400 to win the conference, while BetUS offers the line at +500.
Utah to make the College Football Playoff: Only two Pac 12 teams have reached the end of season tournament, Oregon and Washington. If Utah were able to navigate their schedule and win the conference with no more than one loss, the Utes could be the third. Bovada has their chances at +2200.