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Utes’ goal for 2022 season? Dominate

Coming off their first Pac-12 championship and first trip to the Rose Bowl, expectations are high for Utah heading into new season

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Utah quarterback Cam Rising evades the tackle of Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell during the Pac-12 championship game.

Utah quarterback Cam Rising evades the tackle from Oregon Ducks linebacker Noah Sewell during the Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Utah begins defense of its Pac-12 title Sept. 3 at Florida.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

This article was first published in the Ute Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Wednesday night.

August is winding down, and Camp Kyle has concluded.

That means that the start of Utah’s much-anticipated football season is a little more than a week away, as the No. 7 Utes visit Florida on Sept. 3.

After months of preseason rankings, projections and predictions, it’s time to settle things on the field.

Expectations are sky-high for Utah, which is the defending Pac-12 champion and is picked to repeat. The Utes are ranked No. 7 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 8 in the coaches poll. They are viewed as a possible College Football Playoff contender.

According to the latest bowl game projections, Utah is returning to the Rose Bowl, with a matchup against Michigan in the “Grandaddy of Them All.” ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and 247 Sports’ Brad Crawford are all predicting a Utah-Michigan game in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Bonugura and Schlabach said they considered Utah for the final spot in the College Football Playoff, but gave the edge to Clemson.

“Utah and Oklahoma received strong consideration for the final spot, but ultimately Dabo Swinney’s track record over the past decade was the justification for putting the Tigers in,” Bonagura wrote.

When asked what the program’s goal is for this season, cornerback Clark Phillips III said,  “Dominate. I have some goals that I look at every single morning. I won’t go into detail but I’d say for us as a team I just want to dominate. I want to win every single game. We don’t have a particular game circled other than Game 1. We want to win the (Pac-12) championship again and we want to be in the playoff. That’s me being candid.”

In case you missed it

Deseret News columnist Doug Robinson takes a look at coach Kyle Whittingham’s career at Utah — and how it all got started, when he was hired by coach Ron McBride in 1994.

“It’s been so much fun to see what Kyle has done,” McBride said of Whittingham. “He’s done a really good job. He’s organized. He has a plan. He knows where he’s going. He’s a very intelligent football coach. He’s all business. Very serious. There’s no flash to him. He just works, and he’s gotten good people to work for him.”

Numbers game

12: Where Utah ranks in the ESPN SP+ rankings.

9: Where the SP+ metric ranks Utah’s offense nationally.

38: Where the SP+ metric ranks Utah’s defense nationally.

From the archives

Extra points

  • Why Tyler Huntley is going viral (Deseret News)
  • This former Utah quarterback has been named the starter at his new school (Deseret News)
  • Oregon and the Big Ten have reportedly begun ‘preliminary’ expansion talks (Deseret News)
  • These players with Utah ties have been named to college football award watch lists (Deseret News)
  • This Utah native’s first NFL touchdown united both sides of the Utah, BYU rivalry (Deseret News)
  • Here’s when elite basketball prospect Keanu Dawes will reportedly visit BYU, Utah (Deseret News)
  • Is there room in Utah’s backfield for freshman running back Jaylon Glover? (Deseret News)
  • Why the ‘clock is ticking’ on the Utes’ O-line (Deseret News)
  • These 4 players are Utah football’s 2022 captains (Deseret News)
  • ‘You can do hard things’; What Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah learned from last season’s tragedies and triumphs (Deseret News)
  • ‘A natural leader’: Devin Kaufusi making the most of final season of college football (Deseret News)


Ron McBride deserve a good chunk of credit for where Utah football is today. Younger fans may not realize just how bad the program was before he arrived. From 1974 to 1989, Utah had just five winning seasons (with two of those being six-win seasons) and no bowl appearance. From the mid-’70s through the end of the ’80s, Ute fans just hoped to be competitive with BYU and maybe upset a team like Wyoming or Hawaii for a win here and there. The stadium was half-empty most of the time, and there was just a lot of apathy for Utah football. Some good players came into the program, but the overall talent just wasn’t there.

McBride instilled toughness and accountability. He tapped into some recruiting pipelines that Utah hadn’t used or had success with. He built relationships and brought in good coaches like Whittingham. He started beating BYU and got Utah to bowl games. He helped develop NFL talent and got Utah some regional respect and occasionally made some national noise.

McBride’s downfall was his inconsistency and his inability to take Utah to the next level. But without him, there is no Utes program as we know it now.

— jmac77

(Lander Barton’s) one of the highest rated recruits in program history and will see the field often this year. ... He has the potential to seriously exceed the accomplishments of his brothers.


Up next

Aug. 25 | 7 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Denver | @Salt Lake City

Aug. 26 | 10 a.m. | Volleyball | vs. Loyola Marymount | @Salt Lake City | Utah Live Stream

Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. | Volleyball | vs. Kansas | @Salt Lake City | Utah Live Stream

Aug. 27 | 4 p.m. | Volleyball | vs. Utah Valley | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Aug. 28 | 6 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Illinois State | @Salt Lake City

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

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham hoists Pac-12 trophy after Utes beat the Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham hoists the Pac-12 trophy after the Utes beat the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News