Utah’s 29-26 loss to Florida was one of Week 1’s marquee matchups, with lots of eyes on the Utes and Gators as the two teams battled at the Swamp.

Here’s a roundup of what national voices thought of the thrilling contest.

David Cobb, CBS Sports

“Throughout the offseason, Utah was anointed the Pac-12’s best hope of snapping a CFP drought that dates back to 2016. After going toe to toe with Ohio State in a Rose Bowl loss to cap the 2021 season, the Utes brought back 14 starters to one of the nation’s most-established programs under coach Kyle Whittingham, who began his 18th year with the program Saturday night.

While a Week 1 loss doesn’t completely eliminate Utah from CFP contention, it removes any margin for error and makes the task particularly daunting. The Utes started 1-2 last season with losses to BYU and San Diego State and still managed to win the Pac-12 but finished 11th in the CFP Rankings, well out of true contention.

‘I’ll go to war with this team’: No. 7 Utah disappointed with loss to Florida — but Utes learned a lot about themselves
Putting Utah safety R.J. Hubert’s early, big play at The Swamp in perspective
How Florida chomped Utah in dramatic ending at The Swamp

With Oregon, USC and Washington all breaking in new head coaches, Utah still has an excellent opportunity to repeat as conference champions. Once again, however, there’s little benefit of the doubt for a Pac-12 favorite when it comes to the playoff picture. With Utah’s loss, the conference is 1-8 against SEC teams in Week 1 over the last 11 seasons. Pac-12 teams were ranked in seven of those eight losses.”

Stewart Mandel, The Athletic

“If nothing else, Saturday was a friendly reminder of the vast abyss separating the SEC and the Pac-12. Defending national champion Georgia treated 11th-ranked Oregon more like an overmatched FCS team than a program that won at Ohio State less than a year ago. Florida-Utah, by contrast, was a down-to-the-wire thriller, the Gators sealing a 29-26 upset by intercepting Cam Rising in the end zone in the final half-minute. But it was still a Florida team picked to finish fourth in the SEC East beating a preseason top-10 team picked to repeat as Pac-12 champion.”

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 Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic

“Here is my boldest prediction of the weekend: I still think Utah is going to make the College Football Playoff. This is why I’m keeping the Utes in my top 10, even though they lost to an unranked Florida team in the Swamp. First of all, I hate punishing teams that go on the road into tough environments instead of playing lower-level opponents they’d beat handily. Close, dramatic games like Utah-Florida are why I love this sport, and while the winner deserves a ton of credit, I don’t think the loser should be penalized much if at all.”

David Hale, ESPN

“As always, the Pac-12 was kind enough to largely eliminate itself from the playoff discussion in Week 1 with losses by Utah and Oregon.”

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