2016-17 Football Previews – (Pac-12) – Utes
Looking for 2016 Utah Utes predictions? The Utes started last season 6-0 before dropping a road contest to the USC Trojans. From there, the team won two, lost two, then one two more to end the year 10-3. This year, it would be unwise to underestimate this group. It’s coming off its best campaign since joining the Pac-12 and it’s looking to continue progressing despite having to replace a few key pieces.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – Utah Utes
Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham
2015 Record: 10–3 (6–3 Pac-12)
Utah Utes Odds to win 2017 FBS Championship: +7500
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That said, there are plenty of questions this team must answer — questions that will be difference makers in terms of maintaining progress, taking a small step back and taking a significant step back.
Utah Utes Predictions: Team Strengths
If Utah is going to do the unthinkable and improve yet another consecutive season, it’s going to rely on the pass defense to help it accomplish that inconceivable task. Pass rusher Kylie Fitts is going to be crucial in that aspect — as is a well-groomed secondary.
The team’s best defender is arguably defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei, but pass rusher Kylie Fitts is going to be crucial in that aspect.
He’s currently projected as the 13th best defensive end that will be entering the 2017 NFL draft, per CBSSports.com.
This team also has a well-groomed secondary that will contribute to the pass defense.
The team brings back everybody except Tevin Carter, and as good as Carter was, this team has plenty of pieces and plenty of cohesion that should help the Utes find success on the less glamorous side of the field.
Utah Utes Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Utah is in a good position because the offense has a chance to click and take the program to yet another level.
The catch is: There are significant questions on this end regarding how the team replaces key pieces from last year’s system.
The Utes are forced in 2016-17 to find replacements for their two best quarterbacks. Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson are gone, leaving just one player with any experience (sophomore Chase Hansen with a whopping one attempt and zero completions to his name).
Simply put: This team has absolutely no guarantees at the game’s most important position.
On top of replacing the quarterback position, Utah must replace the team’s top running back (Decontae Booker) and its top three receivers.
Don’t forget that this team also lost a three-year starter at center this spring to a career-ending injury.
Utah Utes 2016 Prediction: (8-4)
There are plenty of reasons not to count out the Utes this season. Then again, there are plenty of reasons to assume this team won’t take yet another positive step forward.
Realistically, Utah will be a notch behind both the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 South Division this season. Assuming they take a step back, we’re looking at either an eight- or nine-win team.
At this point, with so many questions on offense, we’ll look at the former as a safer bet.
But if things click early in the year (and specifically, if whoever steps in at quarterback and wide receiver can establish a chemistry that helps spread the field), don’t be shocked if nine victories becomes a reality (for the fourth straight season).
2016 Utah Utes Football Schedule
- Thursday, Sept. 1 vs. Southern Utah – 8:00 PM ET
- Saturday, Sept. 10 vs. BYU – 7:30 PM ET
- Saturday, Sept. 17 @ San Jose State – 10:30 PM ET
- Friday, Sept. 23 vs. USC – 9:00 PM ET
- Saturday, Oct. 1 @ California – TBD
- Saturday, Oct. 8 vs. Arizona – TBD
- Saturday, Oct. 15 @ Oregon State – TBD
- Saturday, Oct. 22 @ UCLA – TBD
- Saturday, Oct. 29 vs. Washington – TBD
- Thursday, Nov. 10 @ Arizona State – 9:30 PM ET
- Saturday, Nov. 19 vs. Oregon – TBD
- Saturday, Nov. 26 @ Colorado
What do you think about our 2016 Utah Utes predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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