For the fifth straight season, Utah will begin the year ranked in The Associated Press preseason college football poll.

The Utes came in at No. 14 in the preseason AP poll released Monday, with less than three weeks until Utah’s season opener against Florida on Aug. 31.

Despite a looming exodus of Pac-12 teams — eight league members will be in new conferences in 2024 — the conference is expected to be competitive this season, and that’s reflected in the preseason AP poll.

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There are five Pac-12 teams in the preseason AP top 25: in addition to Utah, USC is No. 6, Washington is No. 10, Oregon is No. 15 and Oregon State is No. 18.

That nearly mirrors the Pac-12 placement for the five schools in the USA Today coaches preseason poll, which was released last week.

The two-time defending Pac-12 champion Utes are coming off a 10-4 season and finished the 2022 season ranked No. 10 in the final AP poll.

Utah returns quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe — both are rehabbing from ACL injuries — and the defense is again stacked with talent and depth.

Utah spent the entire 2022 season ranked in the AP poll, only the third time in history that the Utes have made it the full season ranked in every weekly poll.

The Utes started last year ranked No. 7 in the preseason AP poll, the highest preseason ranking in the school’s history.

Utah’s No. 14 ranking in this year’s preseason AP poll is tied for the second-highest the Utes have started in the AP poll — in 2019, Utah also began the year ranked No. 14 and ended that season ranked No. 16.

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Four Big 12 teams are ranked in the preseason AP top 25, including Texas at No. 11, Kansas State at No. 16, TCU at No. 17 and Oklahoma at No. 20.

BYU is headed into its first season in the Big 12, and Utah is one of four current Pac-12 members that will join the Big 12 next season.

Two-time defending national champion Georgia comes in at No. 1, followed by Michigan at No. 2, Ohio State at No. 3, Alabama at No. 4 and LSU at No. 5.

Utah State will begin its season against a top 25 opponent — Iowa is ranked No. 25 in the preseason AP top 25. The Hawkeyes host the Aggies on Sept. 2.

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