It’s only the end of June, a couple of months before the start of the college football season, but that didn’t stop The Athletic from releasing a projection of the Top 25 — based on advanced statistical models and simulations to predict outcomes.

Utah is the only local team ranked — at No. 14. According to this model, the Utes are projected to win nine games and they have a 17.5% chance at winning the Pac-12 championship. Utah is seeking its third-consecutive league title.

Five other Pac-12 teams are included in these rankings — USC (10), Oregon (11), Washington (12), UCLA (18) and Oregon State (21). 

Why national college football writers see good things for 2023 Utes

The Big 12, which welcomes four new programs on July 1 (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF), boasts three ranked teams — Texas (8), Oklahoma (19) and Kansas State (23). 

The Athletic’s Austin Mock describes how he put together these rankings:

“My model takes in play-by-play data from every game but also factors in returning production, recruiting rankings and transfers,” he wrote. “For now, it relies on projections, but as the season starts, those games will become a more important factor in the formula.

“With the ratings in place, the model can simulate every game in the entire season. Those simulated seasons produce a variety of outcomes, which show how often a team wins its conference or the national title, for example. That’s how you can see the projected win totals, which is an average of the wins they got throughout the simulations, and conference title chances.”