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The wait is almost over. College football is just around the corner.

Every day, it seems, a new college football award watch list is released. The University of Utah has been very well-represented on those lists, featuring players like quarterback Cam Rising, running back Tavion Thomas, cornerback Clark Phillips III, safety Cole Bishop, offensive lineman Braeden Daniels, linebacker Mohamoud Diabate and defensive lineman Junior Tafuna.

See the up-to-date list of all the awards and local products that have been named candidates.

The Pac-12 released the preseason All-Pac-12 teams Tuesday and it featured six Ute players on the first team — tying USC for the most.

Utah opens fall camp next week and the season opener is Sept. 3 at Florida.

Pac-12 football media day will be held Friday in Los Angeles. Commissioner George Kliavkoff will address issues facing the conference, primarily how it is dealing with the departure of USC and UCLA in 2024, possible expansion, and the situation with the league’s ongoing media rights negotiations.

Indeed, all eyes are on the future of the Pac-12. And everyone hopes there is some resolution sooner than later.

In case you missed it

There’s a lot of speculation about what could happen to Pac-12 schools like Utah. Will the remaining 10 Pac-12 schools stick together and survive? Or will more programs bolt for other conferences, like the Big Ten or the Big 12?

The Big Ten held its media day this week and the Deseret News’ Trent Wood reported on commissioner Kevin Warren’s comments that leave the door open for future expansion. If the Big Ten does expand, only seven teams would reportedly be considered.

Numbers game

13: Number of Utah players listed on the All-Pac-12 preseason teams.

1.2 million: Average number of viewers for Pac-12 football, per game, per school, except Arizona and Oregon State, according to television ratings.

From the archives

Related
Is the Pac-12 actually still stable? Here’s what TV numbers say in relation to the Big 12
The line between the NFL and the college game growing thinner

Extra points

  • Utah football gets commitment from Texas HS cornerback Joseph Smith (Deseret News)
  • These players with Utah ties have been named to college football award watch lists (Deseret News)
  • Even with Utah and BYU leading the way, there are fewer Utah ties in the NFL right now. Here are a few reasons why? (Deseret News)
  • How former Cougars, Utes and Aggies combined to form the best team in 2022 Powder League (Deseret News)
  • Former Utah football running back Jordan Wilmore transfers to Utah State (Deseret News)
  • Craig Smith’s new-look Runnin’ Utes display physicality, athleticism (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

I could be wrong, but I suspect that the Big Ten and SEC do stay at 16 for now. Based on comments from the SEC commissioner, I think he does know college football will succeed more if it’s nationally relevant. Sure, it makes them look strong when you have an all SEC title game, which has happened twice now, but I think he knows long term that college football would become more regionalized if that becomes more of the norm, particularly if the western part of the United States doesn’t ever have a team representing them. This is why I believe they know expanding the playoff and not expanding their conferences to be too big are better for the long term health of the sport. I could be completely wrong, that’s just how I’ve read the situation.

— FremontAlum

I‘ve been saying it for weeks now. College football will become professional football played on Saturdays. Well, not all of college football, only the 35-40 teams that will be in the P2. They will form their own league and hold their own championship. The players will sign contracts, be paid a salary. This will keep them from entering the transfer portal at will and they won’t be required to attend class. Minor league football, only with a higher level of fan support and television money than minor league baseball or basketball.

— KimmyP

My boy, true sophomore Cole Bishop, is right where he belongs — first team All-Pac. He’s the best football player to play in the state of Utah since Eric Weddle, but I believe he’s even better than Weddle.

I watched the last 6 games of last year’s season on the Pac-12 Network a few days ago and just watched Bishop when Utah was on D — freaking UNREAL folks. I saw an interview with KWhitt on 247 Sports the other day and KWhitt calls Bishop “a phenom.” Has KWhitt ever said that about anybody else in his entire life, especially a defensive player? Not that I know of. Bishop truly is “a phenom.”

Enjoy Bishop fellow Utes, because he’ll be NFL bound after next year. Goooooooo Utes!!!!!!!

— Utah-Hawaii Alum

Up next

Aug. 10 | 7 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Idaho State | @Salt Lake City

Sept. 3 | 5 p.m. | Football | vs. Florida | @Gainesville, Florida | ESPN