Can Utah ride the tidal wave of emotion that obliterated Oregon? Will Utah State rebound from a thrashing at the hands of Wyoming and will BYU be able to muster one final win over its fifth Pac-12 opponent?
This is the final regular-season campaign for all the in-state FBS programs and it will set the tone for postseason play. Everyone is qualified to live another day and play in bowl games.
In short, yes, Utah will kill Colorado in Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Utah State will make pudding out of New Mexico.
BYU is favored to beat Southern Cal and should do so.
The Utes are enjoying a unique momentum every team wants to have in late November. The Cam Rising-led offense and run support is clicking. Morgan Scalley has the Utes defense playing physical and fast.
Utah is one of the best teams in the country over the last two months.— Seth Galina (@pff_seth) November 24, 2021
They play bully ball football with multiple tight ends on the field and then hit the ball in the intermediate areas off play action to create efficient offense.
Watch me break it down on the CFB Live Show: pic.twitter.com/i7k90xH8uw
The Utes are averaging 43 points a game in their four-game winning streak while giving up an average of 16.7. You can bust Kyle Whittinghm’s squad down any way you want over that streak but only one thing is necessary to understand the current state of affairs: Utah kicked the feathers out of No. 3 Oregon last Saturday night in an event that saw Utah cratering the Pac-12’s highest-ranked football team.
Colorado comes in with a 2-2 record in the past four and in the last two road trips, the Buffs lost 52-29 in Eugene and 44-20 at UCLA. When they have to pack, they leave out their fight pills.
Utah State got generally embarrassed by Wyoming in the final home game and that makes you wonder if they Aggies are sinkable against New Mexico since the Lobos beat Wyoming 17-3. But the Lobos are 1-3 in the last four, managing just 17 against UNLV, 7 against Fresno State and zero against Boise State. The Aggies’ firepower should prevail.
BYU and USC both give up yards but the Trojans do it more leniently than the Cougars.
You have to love Jaxson Dart and he’s had a tremendous freshman experience but USC will struggle to stop BYU’s receiver timing with Jaren Hall, and if healthy after all his work this season, Tyler Allegier will be very productive against the Trojans defense.
BYU-USC will boil down to who has the fewest turnovers and the Cougars have been very stingy in giving up the ball.
Kalani Sitake’s staff has done an impressive job carving out a “love and learn” culture that’s carried the Cougars to a 20-3 record the past two seasons. It is not smoke and mirrors, it is not a fluke and it isn’t based on luck of the draw. His team beat Arizona, ASU, Utah and Washington State in the trenches and with fewer mistakes in a rebuilding year. Add in the win over Virginia and the Cougars are 5-1 against Power Five teams this season.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdowns, which college programs have had their football & men’s basketball teams in all five final (or current) AP top 25 polls?— Jeffrey Fuller (@jjfuller72) November 22, 2021
That’s it… that’s the list
Pretty amazing job done by Holmoe, Sitake, Pope & staff, eh?#GoCougs pic.twitter.com/ZnNFBOmf5b
BYU opponents ASU and Utah and Washington State all have had folks project them for outright or shared Pac-12 divisional titles and Utah actually stood out in earning one.
A win over USC would give Sitake a 10-2 season heading into the early signing day in December. In that game, winning is a valuable talking point.
This week’s predictions
San Diego State 23, Boise State 21
Utah State 31, New Mexico 24
Iowa 31, Nebraska 17
Cincinnati 38, East Carolina 17
Washington State 37, Washington 21
Georgia 44, Georgia Tech 14
Ohio State 31, Michigan 28
Oregon 28, Oregon State 24
Michigan State 28, Penn State 24
Utah 38, Colorado 21
Oklahoma 28, Oklahoma State 24
BYU 27, USC 21
Last week 9-5; overall 126-59 (.681).