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Utah football ranked No. 22 in Associated Press preseason poll despite 2020 season cancellation

The University of Utah football team opens spring camp in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 2, 2020.
The University of Utah football team opens spring camp in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 2, 2020.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Utes won’t be playing football in 2020, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be ranked at least once this season.

The Associated Press released its preseason top 25 college football poll Monday, and the Utes came in at No. 22 with 211 votes.

Currently, only 76 of the 130 college teams at the Football Bowl Subdivision level are planning to play the 2020 fall season. Four conferences — the Pac-12, Big Ten, Mountain West and Mid-American — postponed their fall sports earlier this month. The AP explained that, for the first poll of the year, it would allow voters to consider all FBS teams, not just those planning to play this fall.

“The preseason poll has always been a speculative ranking of teams based on last year’s results and knowledge about the new makeup of teams,” Michael Giarrusso, AP’s global sports editor, said in a story from Aug. 14. “This year, we think it is crucial to give all the teams and all their fans a snapshot look at what the Top 25 would have been to open the season.”

Following the preseason poll, the Associated Press asked voters to only consider ranking teams that are playing the 2020 season.

Oregon (No. 9) and USC (No. 17) also represent the Pac-12 in the AP preseason poll, and the rankings include nine teams (six from the Big Ten) that will not be playing this fall. That includes No. 2 Ohio State.

Defending national champion Clemson is No. 1 in the preseason poll, followed by the Buckeyes, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma to round out the top five.

Utah finished the 2019 season No. 16 in the AP poll, following an 11-3 season that saw the Utes win 11 of their first 12 games and rise as high as No. 6 in the polls.

The Utes debuted at No. 20 in the coaches preseason poll released Aug. 6, five days before the Pac-12 postponed its fall schedule.

BYU, the lone program in the state of Utah that currently has plans to play this fall, did not receive any votes in the AP preseason poll.