Facebook Twitter

What a few national outlets are saying about the Utah Utes following their drubbing of the UCLA Bruins, plus bowl projections

SHARE What a few national outlets are saying about the Utah Utes following their drubbing of the UCLA Bruins, plus bowl projections
merlin_20991.jpg

Utah Utes defensive back Vonte Davis (22) and defensive end Mika Tafua (42) bring down UCLA Bruins running back Martell Irby (6) as Utah and UCLA play a Pac-12 football game in Salt Lake City at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Utah won 49-3. 

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah is drawing ever closer to securing a spot in the College Football Playoff.

That’s the contention of The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel and ESPN senior writer Heather Dinich.   

In the aftermath of the Utes’ 49-3 rout of UCLA, both national college football analysts believe Utah to be among the seven best teams in the country, with Dinich ranking the Utes No. 7, while Mandel considers them the sixth-best team nationally. 

Both writers were impressed by the way the Utes took down the Bruins, with phrases like “left no doubt” and “just keep trucking people,” used to describe the team’s play.

There are doubts as to the viability of a Utah berth in the College Football Playoff, however.

“If Utah can beat Oregon in the conference title game and finish as a one-loss Pac-12 champion, it certainly will be considered for a top-four spot,” wrote Dinich, “but it might not edge out a second SEC team if Georgia beats LSU. One reason Utah is ranked behind Oregon is because of the Utes’ loss at USC — a team Oregon beat. That doesn’t mean, though, that Utah can’t overcome it. The bigger problem could be a nonconference schedule that included BYU, Northern Illinois and Idaho State.”

Mandel was of a similar mind.

“UCLA came to Salt Lake City boasting a 4-2 Pac-12 record and left with a 49-3 drubbing. Utah held the Bruins to 269 yards and forced five turnovers, while the conference’s most efficient passer, Tyler Huntley, went 14 of 18 for 335 yards and two TDs,” he wrote. “This is a special team, but one that’s vulnerable in the Playoff race, given none of its wins have come against a team with fewer than four losses.”

Ultimately, Utah must win out to have a chance at the Playoff, but if the Utes’ recent play is any indication they’ll be in the discussion from here on out.

Other links, bowl projections edition

And finally …

Fox Sports’ Tim Brando went to bat for Utah with the College Football Playoff committee.