2018 Football Preview – PAC 12 – Utes
Looking for 2018 Utah Utes predictions? If there ever was a time for the Utah Utes to snag a coveted PAC 12 Championship, this is the season with other clubs dealing with uncertainties. The offense is returning nine starters, while the defense did lose some talent, but they are still returning seven starters. At the very least a PAC 12 Championship appearance is in order for the Utes, now they just need to prove it.
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2018-18 College Football Preview – Utah Utes
Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham
2017 Record: 7-6
Utah Utes Odds to win the 2018 FBS Championship: +25000
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The pieces are there, can the Utes capitalize?
2018 Utah Utes Predictions: Team Strengths
Experience Is Key:
The Utah defense will feature seven starters from last year whom contributed in producing a defense that finished third in total defense and third in scoring defense, despite the fact that a usually potent pass rush was uncharacteristically not there at times.
With another year under their belt, these upperclassmen have watched the tape and learned from their lessons, so expect to see a more smash-mouth style of play.
Utah’s linebackers set the tone although they’ll be without their two top tacklers in Kavika Luafatasaga and Sunia Tauteoli, but they’ll have talented Chase Hansen and Donavan Thompson run the corp.
Their secondary may be the best part about them as their big physical corners Julian Blackmon and Tyrone Smith could be the best duo in the PAC 12, while Marquise Blair should be fine as well. Utah’s defense finished second in pass efficiency a season ago.
At 6-1 and 190 pounds, QB Tyler Huntley fits in well with this Utah system that likes to pound the rock and ask questions later.
He has the arm to sling it over the field as he posted 2,411 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, while he also have the legs to make defenses pay as he posted 537 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
He needs to take care of the ball (10 interceptions), and he needs to take care of himself and learn when to go down as he missed three PAC 12 games last season due to injury.
If he can limit those things, then this offense is primed for a PAC 12 Championship.
2018 Utah Utes Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Offensive Line Has Ground To Make Up From Last Year:
One of the issues with Utah last year was the offensive lines inability to protect their quarterback or blow defenses off the line.
The offensive line gave up a ridiculous 38 sacks after previously giving up 27 the year before, while the running game only averaged 164.0 yards per game, which was the worst since their 2013 season.
This is a heavy line that should be able to blow opposing defenses off of the line with the likes of Lo Falemaka, Darrius Paulo, and Jackson Barton, they just really need to want it.
Getting To The Quarterback Is A Must:
Another issue was Utah’s pass rush as they could only produce a measly 25 sacks a season ago after posting 43 the year before.
Bradley Anae was able to contribute seven sacks, while Cody Barton was able to produce four sacks, but thats where the production dropped off.
They will have a force in 6-5, 300-plus pound Leki Fotu anchoring the interior to go along with a couple other 300-pounders, it really just depends on the outside linebackers.
This defense should be alright as the secondary and front seven are going to complement each other as we see a more dominant defense from last year
Utah Utes Prediction: 9-3
This Utah squad has the veteran and experience in place to take a PAC 12 that is certainly up for grabs this season.
The offense will be better, and we should expect this defense to be tops in the PAC 12.
Their schedule has a couple of early tests such as facing Washington then playing back-to-back road games in weeks four and five heading to Washington State and Stanford.
Of course facing USC and UCLA in back-to-back games will be a test, but those are certainly winnable games for Utah.
We saw a 9-5 team (Stanford) and an 11-3 squad (USC) face each other in the PAC 12 championship last year, and there should be some room for error this season as well.
2018 Utah Utes Football Schedule
- 8/30/18 8:00 PM ET WEB
- 9/8/18 7:30 PM ET @NIU
- 9/15/18 10:00 PM ET WASH
- 9/29/18 TBD @WSU
- 10/6/18 TBD @STAN
- 10/12/18 10:00 PM ET ARIZ
- 10/20/18 TBD USC
- 10/26/18 10:30 PM ET @UCLA
- 11/3/18 TBD @ASU
- 11/10/18 TBD ORE
- 11/17/18 TBD @COLO
- 11/24/18 TBD BYU
What do you think about our 2018 Utah Utes predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2018!
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