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Utah Utes jump to No. 21 in AP poll, No. 18 in Coaches, BYU Cougars receiving votes ahead of rivalry game

Utah running back Tavion Thomas celebrates his touchdown with offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni in Salt Lake City.
Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) celebrates his touchdown with Utah Utes offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni (77) during the season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Utah Utes leapt several spots in both major polls ahead of their in-state rivalry game with the BYU Cougars this Saturday.

The Utes jumped to No. 18 in the first regular-season USA Today Coaches poll released Tuesday morning, after being one spot out of the rankings in the preseason poll. Later in the morning, the new Associated Press was released, and the Utes jumped three spots to No. 21 in that poll.

Utah opened up the 2021 season last week with a 40-17 victory over Weber State.

BYU, following a 24-16 victory over Arizona, is among other teams receiving votes in both polls, with 65 in the Coaches (six spots outside the top 25 in that poll) and 10 in the AP.

It was a good week for the Pac-12 South, which has four of its six teams in both polls.

USC is ranked at No. 14 in both polls, while UCLA jumped into the top 25 at No. 16 both after an upset win over previously ranked LSU. Arizona State is No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the Coaches after a win over Southern Utah, while Pac-12 North member Oregon is the top-ranked team from the conference — at No. 11 in the Coaches and No. 12 in the AP.

The top five are the same in both polls.

Alabama, following a convincing win over Miami, stayed at No. 1, while Georgia, with a 10-3 victory over Clemson, jumped to No. 2, and Ohio State moved up a spot to No. 3, with Oklahoma and Texas A&M rounding out the top 5.