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Morning links: SB Nation underestimates the Utes; Jazz have money to spend and no huge needs

Utah's Head football coach Kyle Whittingham talks with the media after practice at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City Tuesday, April 12, 2016.
Utah's Head football coach Kyle Whittingham talks with the media after practice at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City Tuesday, April 12, 2016.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Bill Connelly of SB Nation is underestimating the Utah Utes football program in his 2016 season preview, but he admits that he's doing so at his own peril.

First off, Connelly admits that he underestimated the Utes last season. And then Connelly goes on to doubt the Utes again, this time based on the logic that a team can't improve in the rankings every year.

"So this is where Utah regresses, at least temporarily, right? Maybe?" wrote Connelly. "There are still games to be won in a division where Colorado is still struggling and where the Arizona schools are resetting. But it is very rare to improve for four years in a row."

So, here's Connelly's bottom line based on his statistical projections:

"Whether Utah regresses a little or a lot, though, could dictate a pretty significant shift in win projection. Per S&P+, Utah is given a greater than 70 percent chance of winning in one game and a greater than 70 percent chance of losing in one game. Ten games fall between 36 and 69 percent, and four fall between 41 and 57. Quick adapting by the new quarterback and new linebackers, or the emergence of a big-play weapon or two on offense, or simple luck of the bounce could make the difference between 5-7 and 9-3."

Ute fans will surely remind Connelly of his projects should Utah exceed his expectations.

Jazz have money to spend and no real needs

Sporting News contributor Danny Leroux broke down what the Jazz could do with the increased salary cap space with no serious needs for a free agent.

"Utah has every one of its key players under contract for the 2016-17 season already, with serious cap space on top of it," Leroux wrote. "Every single member of the Jazz should expect a pay raise on their next deal, from cornerstones Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward to bench players Trey Burke and Tibor Pleiss. Center Rudy Gobert will be eligible for an extension this summer, though the team could go the Kawhi Leonard/Andre Drummond route and maximize his hilariously low cap hold in 2017 by not agreeing to terms this year."

That isn't to say that the Jazz couldn't use some of that cap space to go after a veteran.

"At the same time, adding another piece could help secure a playoff berth for next season," Leroux wrote.

MLS website spotlights RSL's Yura Movsisyan's experience as a refugee contributor Matthew LaPlante wrote a fantastic article on RSL's Yura Movsisyan and his experience as a refugee from Azerbaijan.

The story chronicles Movisiyan's escape from Baku in the early 1990s with his mother Aida.

"There were nearly 200,000 Armenians living in Baku when Movsisyan was born. Today there are almost none — as if the entire population of Salt Lake City disappeared from the densely populated high desert valley where he now resides," LaPlante wrote. "A Russian neighbor smuggled the Movsisyan family out of Baku in the middle of the night. 'It was just us and some clothes,' Aida says. 'That was all we had. We just had to get up and go.'"

Be sure to read the rest of Movsisyan's story here.

Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.