The experts agree: Utah football is in for a tough one when the Utes open their season at Florida on Saturday.

Several national media outlets have released their predictions for Week 1 of the college football season, and while No. 7 Utah is favored going into the matchup at “The Swamp,” there are many who believe the Gators can pull the upset.

Here’s a look at how four national publications predicted Week 1 with go for Utah, as well as BYU and Utah State.


Bill Connelly looked at several key games during the first week, and used two different ESPN metrics — the SP+ rankings and FPI power rankings — to help outline these matchups.

No. 7 Utah at Florida

“Big plays will likely determine Utah’s fate. The Utes will be ruthlessly efficient on offense, but they need a few more chunk plays and easy points (sophomore wideout Devaughn Vele might be the key to that), and the defense needs to be better at preventing the same thing,” Connelly wrote. 

“They are potentially the Pac-12 favorites even if they lose to Florida, but the weak schedule might hold them back in the CFP race if they drop this one and get to 12-1.”

  • SP+ projection: Utah by 0.2.
  • FPI projection: Florida by 0.7.

Utah State at No. 1 Alabama

“Utah State came nowhere close to covering as a big favorite against UConn last week; we’ll see if the Aggies fare better as big underdogs. The Tide should obviously roll, but it’s hard to get a read on who might star in Bama’s skill corps. Now we’ll get some answers,” Connelly wrote.

  • SP+ projection: Alabama by 36.6.
  • FPI projection: Alabama by 41.7.

No. 25 BYU at South Florida

“The Cougars should be a top-25-level team this season, but USF is experienced, and head coach Jeff Scott used the portal to significantly upgrade the depth chart. We’ll see if it works,” Connelly wrote. 

  • SP+ projection: BYU by 17.1.
  • FPI projection: BYU by 5.2.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt also made predictions on several big games, and he called for an upset in Gainesville.

“It’s a little early for a hold-on-to-your-butts game, but I’m hanging on for dear life Saturday night in the Swamp. This game is legitimately fascinating — The Utes are a top-10 team, they are rugged, and they are not afraid. But certain spots just speak to me and this one whispers ... Gators,” Van Pelt wrote.

Sports Illustrated

A panel of five experts made their picks for the Utah-Florida game, with the Utes getting a slight edge:

No. 7 Utah at Florida

  • John Garcia: Utah.
  • Molly Geary: Utah.
  • Ross Dellenger: Florida.
  • Pat Forde: Utah.
  • Richard Johnson: Florida.

USA Today

A panel of six experts weighed in on both the Utah-Florida game, as well as Alabama-Utah State.

Utah State at No. 1 Alabama

  • Scooby Axson: Alabama.
  • Jace Evans: Alabama.
  • Paul Myerberg: Alabama.
  • Erick Smith: Alabama.
  • Eddie Timanus: Alabama.
  • Dan Wolken: Alabama.

No. 7 Utah at Florida

  • Scooby Axson: Utah.
  • Jace Evans: Florida.
  • Paul Myerberg: Utah.
  • Erick Smith: Utah.
  • Eddie Timanus: Utah.
  • Dan Wolken: Florida.

Evans explained why he chose the Gators over the Utes: “Florida will pull off the first major upset of the 2022 season in taking down No. 8 Utah. Little is expected of the Gators this year — too little, in my opinion. This is still Florida, and there’s still plenty of talent here for Billy Napier to work with in his first season. 

“Quarterback Anthony Richardson could become a star in the SEC, and this game may serve as his breakout. Plus, Florida will have a major home-field advantage — “The Swamp” in early September just sounds unpleasant.”

Bleacher Report

Unlike the others, Bleacher Report’s Morgan Moriarty predicted the score for every game involving an Associated Press Top 25 team.

No. 25 BYU at South Florida

“BYU is a 12-point favorite, which sounds about right. The Bulls should be improved, but BYU has a much more experienced group,” Moriarty wrote.

  • Prediction: BYU 38, USF 24.
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No. 7 Utah at Florida

“This game looks like a potential upset with Utah having to go on the road to face Florida in a primetime matchup. It’s tough to open the season like that, but the Utes look like they have what it takes to get the job done,” Moriarty wrote.

  • Prediction: Utah 35, Florida 28.

Utah State at No. 1 Alabama

“Utah State is 1-18 vs. current SEC teams. Alabama should win big,” Moriarty wrote.

  • Prediction: Alabama 42, Utah State 17.
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