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Fresh off its 2021 performance, which included its first Pac-12 championship, its first Rose Bowl appearance and a No. 12 final ranking in The Associated Press poll, Utah football is receiving plenty of attention during the offseason, and deservedly so.

The Utes are ranked highly in the early preseason polls. Deseret News columnist Doug Robinson examined what that means.

“It’s only May but already the results of the preseason college football rankings are in, and it’s good news and bad news for the University of Utah. The good news: The Utes are ranked very highly in all polls. The bad news: The Utes are ranked very highly in all the polls,” he wrote. “The highest the Utes have ever been ranked in the AP preseason poll, which comes out in August, is 14th. In 2004 they were ranked 20th in the preseason and No. 4 in the final rankings. In 2009, they were 19th in the preseason, 18th in the final. In 2019, they were 14th in the preseason, 16th in the final. In 2020, they were 22nd in the preseason, unranked in the final. And in 2021, they were 24th in the preseason, 12th in the final.”

The AP preseason poll comes out in August.

Utah also moved up in the ESPN’s SP+ preseason projections.

Meanwhile, national respect for coach Kyle Whittingham is growing. In April, the Utes boasted a first-round draft pick in Devin Lloyd.

Numbers game

4: Utah’s preseason ranking according to The Athletic.

6: Utah’s preseason ranking according to USA Today.

12: Utah’s rating in the updated version of ESPN’s SP+ preseason projections.

From the archives

Updated ESPN SP+ preseason projections look favorably on Utah and BYU
The 2021 fiscal year was not all that kind to the Big 12 or Pac-12
Former Utah Ute Carson Tabaracci is transferring to a major Pac-12 rival

Extra points

  • Utah’s Kyle Whittingham leaps into top 10 of this Power 5 coaches ranking (Deseret News)
  • USC football is adding the best wide receiver in the country (Deseret News)
  • Utes getting a lot of love in preseason polls — but is that a good thing? (Deseret News)
  • Former Utah Utes 4-star QB Peter Costelli reveals his transfer destination (Deseret News)
  • Utah golf team headed to NCAA championships for first time since 1988 (Deseret News)


Comments from Deseret News readers

“‘Most sustainable’ predictive measure? Perhaps not. On the one hand, thanks for the exposure and respect, and this poll seems to be a bit more down to earth than some other ‘way too early’ polls. A whole lot of Utah fans could live finishing No. 12. And this poll suggests that there is the potential to do more. ... I can live with that suggestion. But one might question the poll from one perspective. USC comes in at 51st. OK, this is going to be a new-look Trojan team, and last season was a downer at Troy, but hey, there have been significant changes, really significant! USC will realistically be the U.’s greatest conference hurdle. Those changes may not fit into the SP+ paradigm, but that makes it a little questionable. For the Ute Nation, the Trojans are not the immediate concern, Florida is!! Go Utes!!!!”

— stathis

“Wait and see. Will Texas and ND be ‘top 10 preseason’ <em>again? </em>That said Utah is far from being annually overrated. They look legitimate given how they traded blows with Ohio State. High expectations but I just don’t see the Utes locker room being full of themselves ... that is just not the culture of the program.”

— 96 U

Up next

Sept. 3 | TBD | Football | vs. Florida | @Gainesville, Florida | TBD

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham watches a replay in the game against Ohio State in the 108th Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, Calif.
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham watches a replay in the game against Ohio State in the 108th Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, CA, on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News