USC, UCLA, and Oregon are legitimate competition for No. 13 Utah. Aside from those brands, Utah hasn’t had a tremendous amount to worry about in the Pac-12. The latest absolute victim for the Utes will be Stanford on Saturday.
After a rough start to the season, which saw Stanford lose four of its first five games, the Cardinal pulled off an upset vs. Notre Dame and followed that with a win over ASU. After those two victories, however, the Cardinal returned to its losing ways in lopsided affairs to UCLA and Washington State. Needless to say it’s been a disappointing season for head coach David Shaw.
Utah should roll over Stanford, not just because the visitors have a lot of injuries, but because they just aren’t that good. It’s the kind of game Utah needs to clean up quickly and protect starters against injuries for the showdown with Oregon next week in Eugene.
Stanford, like Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Colorado, has turned out to be a kind of upper-tier Mountain West caliber competitor in the Pac 12. OK, that may be a little rough. The Pac-12 is 7-1 vs. the MWC, the only Mountain West success came with Air Force beating Colorado.
Stanford is the kind of academic school that will struggle in the era of the transfer portal and NIL, according to Steve Godfrey of Athlon Sports.
Said Godfrey, “It’s never been more difficult to compete as a “smart school” in the changing landscape of college football. Programs like Stanford are hamstrung in the transfer portal era, as admission standards can’t keep up with the free agency atmosphere building in the sport.
“The Cardinal were blown away by Wazzu 52-14 last weekend, their sixth loss in eight games that extends a 14-25 skid for David Show since the program’s last (non-COVID-19) winning season in 2018,” Godfrey continued. “Stanford hasn’t found a way to replicate their success developing skill position talent like Andrew Luck, Bryce Love, Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffery in recent seasons, and in the meantime, the Pac-12 North has become a more competitive division from top to bottom.”
Now they’ve got the Utes.
Whittingham respects Stanford’s talent on offense but he sees they’ve had challenges.
“On offense, they’ve got good players, big receiving corps. The tight end’s catching a bunch of balls, quarterback’s got a big arm. Just haven’t been able to get in sync very often this year. But yet, they beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame. They’re a little bit hot and cold, but they do have talent. They play hard on defense.”
Utah State at Hawaii
Utah State has only one more road game this season, and when you talk about road games, there is none like a trip to Honolulu to play Hawaii. There’s the time zone difference, humidity and cultural distractions of paradise, which could result in a focus issue.
This could be a loss for the Aggies because Hawaii has a way of getting up for games, especially when the Warriors have their backs to the wall.
But USU has won three of the last four and QB Cooper Legas is back from injury and holding the reins. Combine that with head coach Blake Anderson’s admirable ability to get the most out of football teams, and the Aggies should handle Hawaii, a team currently on a three-game losing streak.
BYU coach Kalani Sitake on a 5-5 record: “I put more pressure on myself and this team than anybody else, so we are worried about going 1-0 every week. I’m trying to keep it simple, but these guys know what’s at stake now. Obviously, we love getting the win, but more than anything I think we just keep working because that is an eternal principle.”
BYU’s offensive linemen have top grades in the West, according to SuperWestSports.
This week’s picks
Oklahoma 28, West Virginia 21
Oklahoma State 24, Iowa State 21
Baylor 27, Kansas State 24
Kansas 31, Texas Tech 21
TCU 34, Texas 31
Tennessee 38, Arkansas 24
UCLA 34, Arizona 17
Oregon State 24, California 17
Oregon 37, Washington 28
Washington State 34, ASU 21
Alabama 33, Ole Miss 27
Southern Cal 38, Arizona 10
Notre Dame 38, Navy 24
Utah 38, Stanford 7
Utah State 21, Hawaii 17
Last week 5-6; overall 83-42 (.664)