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Commentary: Utah Utes football presented with biggest opportunity in program history

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  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 22, 2013 9:34 p.m.

    It sounds like the pre-season prognosticators are finally starting to realize the true potential of the PAC 12 Utes; occassionally competitive, but seldom ever a real factor in the conference race. Utah had one great season set up by a series of close home wins over good teams and a nice Sugar Bowl win over a disinterested Alabama team. Now they're reverting to their true stature.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:38 p.m.

    No argument can be made that jake murphy is the best receiver in the state.

  • wYo8 Rock Springs, WY
    July 22, 2013 9:51 p.m.

    I'll take Cody over jake anyday.

  • giantfan Farmington, UT
    July 22, 2013 10:01 p.m.

    "Jake Murphy...arguably the best receiver in the state of Utah"

    How can anyone take Landon Hemsley seriously with ridiculous comments like that?

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    July 22, 2013 10:42 p.m.

    Loved the video clip attached to the article "Tell that to Barry Switzer."

    Fun!

  • Sambonethegreat Salt Lake City, UT
    July 22, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    "According to voters, Utah is second to last in the Pac-12 South, ahead only of Colorado."

    Ouch, Utah. I hope U play with a chip on your shoulder and score a major upset somewhere. That would be sweet.

  • TheSportsAuthority Arlington, VA
    July 22, 2013 11:46 p.m.

    "Save for Jake Murphy... not a single Ute was named a candidate for a national college football award."

    Why even bother? No Utah player has ever won a national individual award of any kind.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 12:24 a.m.

    The problem with this team is we haven't had a OC for more than an year or a healthy starting QB in 3 years. If DE and Wilson can fix the offense I think we're looking at a 7-5 season and 8-4 is a real good year.

    @Uteanymous: "Utah had one great season set up by a series of close home wins over good teams and a nice Sugar Bowl win over a disinterested Alabama team."

    As much as #16 Oregon State was disinterested in playing BYU in Vegas after losing out on the Rose Bowl? The funny thing is after we whopped Bama, they haven't been losing much since then.

    Go UTES!!

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:46 a.m.

    "Save for Jake Murphy... not a single Ute was named a candidate for a national college football award."

    Again, this is false. Trevor Reilly is on the Butkus list. DN not very observant.

  • Guam_Bomb BARRIGADA, GU
    July 23, 2013 2:05 a.m.

    I hate this part of the football year. All the pundits talk, but the true test is between the lines. The most exciting thing in Utah College football this year is that the 3 largest schools have a compelling season ahead of them. Bring on the season, win or lose my blood runs red. GO UTES!!!

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    July 23, 2013 2:42 a.m.

    @Duckhunter

    Yeah Jake Murphy is a real talent. As a Ute fan, my concern is that the QB and offense will struggle getting Jake the ball in places to make big plays.

    It's like Cody Hoffman and BYU needing the QB and offense to do the same thing. I marvel at the numbers Hoffman has put up the last two years with a limited offense. Plus defenses focus on stopping Cody, yet he still gets his receptions, yards and TDs.

    From an offensive perspective, success on the field has so much to do with QB play. That said, when Utah went 8-5 the first year in the PAC 12, they did it with Hays handing the ball to John White IV 40 times a game (no joke). However, last year Mr. durability (White IV) was still feeling the wear and tear from his heavy carry total the year before. He was banged up and the freshman Travis Wilson (post Wynn shoulder injury number 100) was a disaster. I am still not sold on him although maybe Ericson makes a difference there.

    If I was a BYU fan, I would be confident in Anae. Taysom Hill lacks experience though.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    Shocking!

    Hey, just for the record... I and several others were predicting a bowl-less Ute season months ago, long before these sports pundits.

  • andrewute1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    I can tell you all right now, the football team knows what the media is saying about them and it is just fueling their fire. The Utes are going to surprise a lot of people this year.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    32 names of former utes who could care less about being put on a preseason list:

    Burton, Brandon
    Asiata, Matt
    Beadles, Zane
    Siliga, Sealver
    Bergstrom, Tony
    Black, Conroy
    Brenner, Sam
    Misi, Koa
    Shelby, Derrick
    Soliai, Paul
    Stanford, R.J.
    Dunn, Reggie
    Sylvester, Stevenson
    Finau, Tevita
    Schlauderaff, Caleb
    Gross, Jordan
    Lotulelei, Star
    Smith, Steve
    Johnson, Robert
    Weddle, Eric
    Rolf, David
    Kruger, Paul
    Kruger, Dave
    Kruger, Joe
    Lee, Mo
    Reed, David
    McCain, Brice
    Sellwood, Sean
    Smith, Alex
    Smith, Sean
    Stevens, Tevita

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    Uteanymous,

    ".....a nice Sugar Bowl win over a disinterested Alabama team."

    In the second half of the game a "disinterested Alabama team" gets the score to within a touch down. Kick off to Utah, hold them to a three and out, get the ball back and tie the score. Instead, Utah takes the ball on an 80 yard drive and goes back up by two touch downs. Was Alabama "disinterested" when they could have tied the game up? I don't think so.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    @gdog

    I think murphy is a talent, but the comment that he "is arguably the best receiver in the state" was ridiculous. Hoffman is head and shoulders above every other receiver in the state. But I more or less agree with you on all of that, thankfully it is almost football season and we'll start finding out who steps up and gets it done and who doesn't. I'm starting to get excited.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Utah 8-4(4-0 sweep over byu)
    usu 8-4
    byu 7-6

    Utah 30
    byu 14

    Mark it Down!

    Go UTES!

    Long live the Pac 12!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    byu would donimate the PAC11!

  • 965 Sandy, UT
    July 23, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    As a Ute fan I can't even say Jake Murphy is the best receiver in the state, while he has the potential to be I think that needs to be proven. He might not even be the best receiver on the team with Kenneth Scott and Dres Anderson.

    I don't think Hoffman is anything special, but as far as statistics go he is probably the top receiver in Utah. Not very much competition though since both USU and Utah didn't have great passing offense last year. Then again Hoffman hasn't exactly had the best QB's, he could be the next Collie. As much as I didn't like Collie he went to my colts and was a beast, I hope his concussions don't ruin his career. Last I heard he was working out for the niners.

    I do however, think that Jake is the best TE in state.

    Any way, all this is pointless to debate.. As Utah will extend to 4-0 against BYU seniors. :)

  • killarney Lincoln Park, IL
    July 23, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    christy

    You got the numbers for Utah about right, just in the wrong order.

    4-8 is pretty much the upper limit for Utah this year; 5-7 would be outstanding, but 3-9 is a real possibility.

    As far as the head-to-head with BYU; this is BYU's year. The Utes are going to have to live with their cowardice for the next three years. Enjoy the bragging rights of beating Fresno St!

  • clehman Sandy, UT
    July 23, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    @Ernest T. Bass

    "byu would donimate the PAC11!"

    They ought to try dominating Utah once in a while.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    Ernest,
    There's more truth in your sarcasm than you realize. It's certain that the Utes won't dominate.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    July 23, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    wwookie

    "32 names of former utes who could care less about being put on a preseason list:..."

    Remind us which bowl game Star and the Krueger brothers played in last season.

    Individual awards are usually made possible by team performance.

    It's not a coincidence that a program that's only managed to finish in the AP Top 25 five times during their entire history has never had a player win a single national individual award.

  • My Humble Opinion Sandy, UT
    July 23, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    @ Ernest T. Bass: byu hasn't beat Utah for three straight years. And as you byu fans have pointed out, Utah hasn't exactly been at the top of the conference. So what makes you think byu could win a game in the PAC, let alone dominate the entire PAC?

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    July 23, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    "Jake Murphy...arguably the best receiver in the state of Utah"

    Phil Steele, whom Ute fans consider the guru of pre-season college football prognosticators, ranks BYU's receiving corps as #12 in the country.

    No mention of the Utes.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    July 23, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    My Humble Opinion

    BYU has been beating PAC teams for years - see Oregon, OSU, UCLA, Washington, WSU, and Arizona just during the Bronco era.

    BYU wouldn't dominate, but they would be a lot more competitive than the Utes have been. Bronco never would have lost to a pathetic 10-loss Colorado team at home with a gift-wrapped PAC South there for the taking.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    July 23, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    We're cooking crow up on the Hill for the byu "fans"...
    And as I drove threw happy valley yesterday, I got a whiff of them yummy turnovers. lol.
    Go Utes, Go Virginia, Go Heaps.

  • KTar Boise, ID
    July 23, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    "According to voters, Utah is second to last in the Pac-12 South, ahead only of Colorado. Not a single voter picked Utah to beat Oregon or Stanford."

    Haha, well there you go Utes, now you know how much respect you've earned now that you belong to a "mighty BCS conference!" Long live the BCS!! Not one vote! Hahaha, that's rich.

  • BlacksburgCoug Blacksburg, VA
    July 23, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    I just don't see Utah wining only 3-4 games. As much as I dislike them, they always seem to beat expectations (which drives me nuts). In years where I think that BYU is clearly the better team, Utah beats them. Yeah, i'm expecting Utah to surprise people.

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    July 23, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    Yet another Utah story that has the trollers coming out of the woodwork!

    Thanks for your support for all things Ute, guys. We love and appreciate how you hang on every word that is written about Utah!!

    As far as Murphy goes, no byU "fan" will ever give him the credit he deserves because he came to his senses and chose the right school. While he may not be the best receiver in the state, or on the Utah team, I do believe he has the greatest upside of any TE or receiver in the state, both at the college level and at the next level. He still has two years to hone his craft.

    @killarney: "this is byU's year"
    Says every byU "fan" every year. Bronco needs to put that saying on a t-shirt and sell it to the byU masses. At least you would have another t-shirt to add to your collection of un kept promises.

    Go Utes! Onward and Upward!!

  • Solomon Levi Alpine, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    ekute

    "We're cooking crow up on the Hill for the BYU "fans"...

    Better add some spice and make it tasty, because Utah fans will be eating it.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    @Uteanymous

    I hope we can revert back to our true MWC stature, where the legacy program down south was just a "speed bump" to TCU and Utah accomplishments.

    MWC Tiles:
    1. TCU 5 (Rose)
    2. Utah 4 (Fiesta, Sugar)
    3. BYU 4 (Bowl Diddly)

    Last 3 years in the MWC:
    1. TCU 36-3
    2. Utah 33-6 (lost to @#6 TCU, @#12 BYU, @#11 Oregon, @#2 TCU, @#9 Boise, @#26 ND)
    3. BYU 28-11 (lost to Arizona (8-5), FSU (7-6), @USU (4-8), @AFA, Nevada, etc.)

    Last year the pundits had us 8 to 10 wins... then reality set in when Wynn went down AGAIN and we had no depth to compete in the PAC-12. This year at least the QB depth seems to be solved.

    "Our preseason hype last season was misguided, and the Utes' lack of depth was exposed. It takes time to build not only a starting lineup that can win in the Pac-12, but also the depth behind those starters. [Except for 2-star, legacy program like BYU]" -- ESPN

    If Utah plays like last year then yes we win 3 games: BYU, Wazzu, and Colorado.

    Go UTES!

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    July 23, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    killarney: "The Utes are going to have to live with their cowardice"

    We'll show our "cowardice" with a home and home with Michigan. In the mean time, byU shows its "bravery" with a home and home with Middle Tennessee State. We play at The Big House while byU plays at Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium. That about sums it up!

    Go Utes!! Onward and Upward!

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    Just curious. If Utah is awful, and has beat this crop of BYU seniors 3 times already - what does that make BYU?

  • ekute Layton, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    levi,

    Them turnovers are perfect the way byu serves them up.

    Go Utes, Go Middle Tennessee, Go Idaho State.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    The last time this years High School Seniors saw BYU beat Utah, they were all in 8th grade. That's Jr High and Middle School, for those BYU trolls on this thread that haven't made out of Elementary School yet.

  • scott Alpine, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    Uteology

    "I hope we can revert back to our true MWC stature..."

    Unfortunately for U, you're reverting to your WAC stature, where BYU is your bowl game, and your chances of winning a conference championship are even less than your 1 championship every 20 years pace in the WAC.

    Last four years in the MWC/PAC/Independent

    BYU has beaten #18/#18 Utah and #16/#17 USU and is 4-0 in bowl games.

    Utah has beaten unranked/#25 BYU and is 2-1 in bowl games.

    "Last year the pundits had us 8 to 10 wins... then reality set in when Wynn went down AGAIN and we had no depth to compete in the PAC-12."

    Last year the pundits believed Whittingham's misinformation that Wynn was ready to play, when anybody who was paying any attention could clearly see that Wynn wasn't even close to being at full health. Blame Whittingham for leaving his QB cupboard completely bare.

    "It takes time to build not only a starting lineup that can win in the Pac-12..."

    Whiny excuse-making has replaced bold predictions from the kids on the hill that Utah could play with the big boys.

  • jej SANDY, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    I am a huge BYU fan. The reality is this. The Utes are in a much better situation. I would take being in the PAC-12 with BCS money and big bowl access any day over being independent. I think Utah is in a great spot. They are in a great conference playing great competition and receiving big money for it. They updated their facilities and I would assume a stadium renovation/expansion aren't too far off in the future. With all of that will come better recruits that can compete at a higher level. BYU has too many restrictions/baggage to keep them from landing those amazing recruits or getting an invite to a BCS conference. Honor code and no sunday play are a couple of those. This is just fine. I am happy to be a BYU fan and I am happy with what they accomplish year after year. If roles were reversed I would be much much much happier to be the bottom dweller of the PAC-12 than to be an independent.

  • Solomon Levi Alpine, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    UU32

    "Just curious. If Utah is awful, and has beat this crop of BYU seniors 3 times already - what does that make BYU?"

    Your whole premise is false.

    First of all, most of this crop of seniors has already beaten U, in 2009.

    Second, two close, fluke wins in the last three meetings doesn't prove anything. It could just as easily have been BYU winning 3 of the last 4.

    Third, final records and rankings are a much better indicator of overall team strength, in which case, BYU has finished ahead of the Utes in record and rankings 3 of the last 4 years.

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    July 23, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    Sheesh, a lot of concerns across the board for the U. I hope that they can at least make the games interesting. If they are blow-outs, I fear that Whit will have lost his team, which may cost him his job. I have a sneaking suspicion though that Dennis has a few tricks up his sleeve that should help the Utes out in making the games a little more competitive.

    I knew that moving to the PAC 12 was going to be rough, but had no idea that it would be this hard. Week in and week out heavy competition has its wear and tear on teams. I have gathered a lot more respect for the strong conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big 10, etc..) now that we play in the same sandbox.

    GO UTES!! (fingers and toes crossed)

  • Warrior Parent Belle Glade, FL
    July 23, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    well Utes... there is always gymnastics

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    Soloman,
    2 fluke wins? By your definition of flucke BYU's lone win in 4 seasons over Utah could be considered a fluke. Therefore, its alot closer to being 4-0 for Utah, over 4 years, than it being 3-1 for BYU (And their arent any hypotheticals when the actual record shows 3-1 for Utah, 4-1 utah if you extend it one year more year).
    Final Rankings? The only completely subjective measure. Didn't BYU finish ahead in rankings after losing by 44 points? All that shows is that BYU had one seriously weak schedule.
    Give it up dude, why are you ashamed of the truth? BYU cant compete with Utah, doesn't mean you cant be a perfectly happy being a fan of your own team.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    jdub1942

    The last time this year's high school Seniors saw Utah win a road game against a PAC 10/12 team with a winning record... well, none of this year's high school Seniors were in pre-school.

    The Utes are all talk, but no walk when it comes to actually competing in the PAC.

    Despite all of your bloviating claims about the Utes leaving the Cougars in their dust, Utah fans are still and always will be obsessed with BYU. It's what U do.

    It's obvious that your first priority is beating BYU. How you do in the PAC is only a secondary concern.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    Warrior Parent,
    Well...the is always the chance your kid makes the honor roll. Congrats if that happens, but don't get the bumper sticker.
    Jej, cant figure out why more fans aren't like you. Sure you dished some subtle smack on your rival, but you can also be happy with you own team.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    Uteanymous,
    Last time Utah won a Pac10/12 game against a team with a winning record, was actually one game more recent than the last time BYU beat Utah.
    I only address BYU because your kind are on this UTAH ARTICLE spouting off nonsense. Do I want the Utes to beat BYU? Yes, but for only one reason, my wife is a BYU fan. But its not my priority (as a Ute fan), I wouldn't say its the 10th most important game, its the 12th, right after USU, #1 would be a bowl game (so I guess BYU could move up to #11)

  • Warrior Parent Belle Glade, FL
    July 23, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    jdub1942... the ignorance is yours. My Kids...

    National Merit Scholar
    Sterling Scholar
    Straight A's
    ACT's in the 30's
    plus All State and National athletes

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    jdub1942

    "Final Rankings? The only completely subjective measure. Didn't BYU finish ahead in rankings after losing by 44 points? All that shows is that BYU had one seriously weak schedule."

    This is where Utah fans are constantly proving how little they actually understand about college football.

    Rankings are based on a combination of wins versus schedule. Given a tougher schedule, BYU's 10-3 record in 2011 would have qualified for a MUCH higher ranking. Utah's poorer 8-5 record and stronger schedule yielded a worse ranking.

    In Sagarin, BYU finished #34 and #26, average #30; Utah finished #39 and #61, average #50.

    It's laughable how Utah fans only whine about schedule strength when the Utes are losing.

    Remind us how strong your SOS was in 2004 and 2008.

    In 2004, you qualified for a BCS bowl by only beating THREE teams with winning records, none with better than a 7-5 record. In 2008, Utah's SOS was around 60th.

    The fact that Utah is so seldom ranked is not a product of SOS, but of not winning.

    Stop losing to 10-loss teams and start having more 10+ win seasons, and you'll have a better chance of being ranked.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    Warrior Parent,
    I said congrats if that happens. Ignorance was mine, I had the timeline all mixed up.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 12:38 p.m.

    jdub1942

    "Last time Utah won a Pac10/12 game against a team with a winning record, was actually one game more recent than the last time BYU beat Utah."

    two words: reading comprehension

    The last time this year's high school Seniors saw Utah win a ROAD game against a PAC 10/12 team with a winning record... well, none of this year's high school Seniors were in pre-school.

    Utah is going to have to beat good PAC teams on the ROAD in order to win a conference championship. So far, since joining the PAC, the Utes haven't even proven that they can beat good PAC conference opponents at home.

    You do realize, don't you, that the Utes have a lifetime losing record against almost every team in the PAC, including a very ugly 0-8 record versus Washington, a team BYU has a 4-4 record against?

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    @scott

    Unfortunately for U, you're reverting to your WAC stature, where BYU is your bowl game, and your chances of winning a conference championship are even less than your 1 championship every 20 years pace in the WAC.

    ------

    You wish Utah was reverting back to WAC days. That way you can finally beat us.

    BYU must be a worthless bowl game since we decided cancel it 2014 and 2015.

    You are aware that 1 in 20 PAC-12 titles is much better than ZERO titles for BYU. Why? Because at the very least Utah will be in the Rose Bowl. When you accomplish your "Quest" you will understand the difference.

  • Todd_i Midway, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    I expect it to take a few years for the Utes to truly be in the top tier of the PAC12. But, I do expect it to happen.

  • 965 Sandy, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    @killarney

    I don't understand how you can poke fun at Fresno St. when that's a quality opponent compared to half your schedule...

    Get real, br0.

    You have 3 teams on your schedule that are better wins than Utah, and Wisc. is debatable as they're a huge question mark. Notre Dame with a new QB, and Texas hasn't been Texas as of late.

    Those teams don't hold a candle to UCLA, Oregon, Standford, or USC for that matter.

  • midpacmajor Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    jdub1942

    "Do I want the Utes to beat BYU? Yes, but for only one reason, my wife is a BYU fan. But its not my priority (as a Ute fan), I wouldn't say its the 10th most important game, its the 12th, right after USU, #1 would be a bowl game (so I guess BYU could move up to #11)"

    LOL at the spin.

    Utah fans talk about BYU 100 times more than they do all of their PAC 12 opponents COMBINED!

    Sure, Utah fans reference the PAC 12 conference incessantly, just like they've plastered PAC 12 logos all over Salt Lake Valley, but Utah fans only rarily actually talk about individual PAC 12 teams, except during game week. Even during game week, Utah fans are focused as much on BYU, as they are on that week's opponent.

    The current week's loss to whatever PAC opponent is hardly noticed while you're waiting for the first article about BYU's game to be posted, so you can immediately begin commenting about the team that really matters most to U.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    July 23, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    @Warrior Parent

    Belle Glade, FL

    "well Utes... there is always gymnastics"

    Side stepping?

    There's always football!...That's what you're worried about.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    Uteanymous,
    Wow! Thank you so much for enlightening us all so much on how rankings "work". May I remind you that computer rankings do not take into account margin of victory (44 points in the Utah BYU game), and the voters simply cannot watch every game and are more biased and self serving than most Congressmen.
    You got beat by 44 points, 44! 54-10, what don't you get?

    As for you on "the road" qualification, what difference does that make? Especially compared to a bowl game? Your comparisons are always so loaded with qualifications to somehow make you look better, I must apologize if I didn't properly keep track of all of them.
    Yes I realize the Lifetime records, Utah was very bad for a very long time. Yet, somehow still have a winning all time record vs. your program.

  • jdub1942 PROVO, UT
    July 23, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    midpacmajor,
    That was my opinion, how can my opinion be a spin. I never said Utah fans in general, though your assumption that Utah fans are more obsessed with BYU, than BYU fans are obsessed with Utah is laughable considered your obsession with Utah football.

  • Dnquixote Las Vegas, NV
    July 23, 2013 1:12 p.m.

    Has there ever been a less exact science than preseason projections?
    Last year:

    Jordan Wynn was going to be healthy and the Utes were going to give USC a run for its money in the south.

    Matt Barkley was returning for what was billed as a virtually guaranteed run at the title.

    Riley Nelson was going to be a potential Heisman candidate and Mendenhall said he could see his team reaching the top 10 by years end. (Don't get me started on the 2011 Jake Heaps projections, pre meltdown of course)

    And on and on and on.... Everyone is guilty.

    For my money, its better to have a team with something to prove, than a team that "should" do great. With the exception of a few true perennial power-house teams, everyone has ups and downs. But high expectations normally result in major letdowns.

  • EarlOfHemsley Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    Props to StGtoSLC. I can't believe we missed out on Trevor Reilly on the Butkus list. I could have sworn I went through every single watch list. Bummer that I missed that one. Sorry, guys.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    July 23, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    Boy, that was a pretty depressing article. But hey, when you're on the bottom, there's only one way and that's up. Right?? Right, Chrissy??? I love my pac 10.C&U membership, Man!!!

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    965

    "I don't understand how you can poke fun at Fresno St. when that's a quality opponent compared to half your schedule..."

    How can you claim that a team that's only been ranked 3 times in their entire history, the most recent almost a decade ago, it a stronger opponent than a perennial top 25 team?

    Utah isn't replacing BYU with BYU's schedule; Utah is replacing BYU with Fresno St.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    July 23, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    4 wins and Whittingham will be holding a sign in December that says "Will work for Food."

  • FatMan86 West Jordan, UT
    July 23, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    I suppose I'm one of the very few who has no ties to either BYU or Utah, but it sure would be nice to see at least one of the local teams do something great. I think the Utes have the best chance of that. One real obstacle to their success seems to me to be their fixation with one-upping BYU. I know not all involved in the program see it that way, but there are plenty who see the Pac 12 membership as nothing more than a vehicle to laud some sort of superiority over non BCS schools.

    I'm going to suggest that they are flat missing the boat with that type of thinking. This is why taking 2 years off from the rivalry is probably a good thing for the Utes. It's time to move beyond BYU. It's time to see your success quantified with PAC 12 victories rather than just the silly BYU game. Rose Bowls and Pac 12 championships should be the objective here, not how the Utes look relative to BYU. BYU is going nowhere with a brutal independent schedule and lack of team speed year in and year out.

  • GoRed WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 23, 2013 2:40 p.m.

    @thesportsauthority

    "No Utah player has ever won a national individual player of any kind."

    The last time I checked, football was a team sport.

  • midpacmajor Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 23, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    Uteology

    "You wish Utah was reverting back to WAC days."

    Wish?

    The Utes have been in steady decline since 2008, but BYU managed to beat them while they were still a Top 20 team, and should have beaten them three of the last four years, if not for a fluke shanked punt, that bounced off a BYU blocker and kept Utah's game winning drive alive, and a bad snap scoop and score, that gave Utah another unearned win. BYU outplayed Utah in both games every where but on the scoreboard.

    Utah's heyday is over. Bottom dwelling conference finishes and bowl-less seasons are the new (old) norm for U.

  • TanMan_101 West Jordan, UT
    July 23, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    The reason that nobody picks utah is because one sportswriter started saying they couldn't compete, so a few more "experts" joined in. Then all fans everywhere decide that these self proclaimed experts know everything, so they too decided that utah isn't good enough. Only time will tell, but, I believe all these experts will be wrong.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 3:18 p.m.

    "According to voters, Utah is second to last in the Pac-12 South, ahead only of Colorado."

    This shouldn't be new to anyone, after all, the other four teams in the south could conceivably be ranked (presumably not all of them will be since Oregon Stanford Oregon State Washington USC UCLA Arizona and Arizona State will play enough games against each other that a few of them will fall out).

  • GoRed WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 23, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    @midpac

    And yet, with all of your downgrading the Utes, they STILL keep beating BYU.

  • Salemite Salem, Ut
    July 23, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    - - Chris B. I apologize for my previous comment. It was not right. I admire your loyalty and enthusiasm to the U of U.

    Best of luck.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    July 23, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    "not a single Ute was named a candidate for a national college football award."
    This is not a flattering article about Utah football.

    And, how about mentioning Coach Kyle Whittingham (a nice man and former BYU star player) who is drawing a 1 1/2 Million dollar yearly salary. How long will he last if the Utes don't start producing?

    Oh, I forget momentarily; if you are in the BCS, that is all that matters. Some bloggers think that means you are automatically "wonderful" no matter what you do on the field!

    Go Cougars!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 23, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    Utah is a PAC doormat and cant win good teams and byu is way better.

  • BYUtah Fan Herriman, UT
    July 23, 2013 4:14 p.m.

    Despair not Ute fans. The talking heads have never played a down, caught a pass or won a game. Plus their prophetic abilities leave much to be desired. If the Utes can get a few early wins and get their confidence up, these kids have the talent to beat anyone. I have always appreciated the effort and skill of the guys in red. Yes, my blood runs blue, but I live in Utah. Go Utes!!!

  • CO Ute PARKER, CO
    July 23, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    @Solomonlevi

    Curious how you consider last years game a 'close fluke win' for Utah. It took a blown assignment on 4th down on the Y's final drive and then a fluke penalty to give them a chance at the final FG attempt. Even if they had made the FG it would have only tied the game, not given them a win. This was far from a fluke.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    July 23, 2013 6:30 p.m.

    @wookie

    I thought that the Utes would do better than they have too. The Utes went into the PAC12 with momentum, a stingy defense, and great special team play. They also benefited from being in a division where they would not face the top two teams in the league and USC had been struck with sanctions. Unfortunately, the Utes wilted at home against a Colorado team that was frankly atrocious throwing away what will be the easiest route to the PAC championship they likely will ever have.

    Something happened on the way to the Rose Bowl...

    The middle of the league has improved much more than I had anticipated. Arizona, Oregon State, Washington and UCLA now have the stuff to compete with the top (O, AZ ST, USC, Stanford). I expected the Utes to be in the middle tier. The bottom tier teams were supposed to be Washington St., Colorado, Cal. Utah still should beat those three teams most years but something tells me Washington State is about to turn its program around.

    The Utes do not seem able to stay healthy. Until they find greater depth they won't be getting back to bowl eligibility.

  • CO Ute PARKER, CO
    July 23, 2013 7:08 p.m.

    @byualum - the comment that this was not a flattering article is your opinion. The article is very realistic about the U's football team is my opinion. The article is not about the team from Provo is a fact.

    No, a major conference affiliation does not mean a school has a good team but it does mean two things. First, the school will have a great schedule of opponents and second it will continue to irritate some fans of other schools (not in the conference) to the point they feel compelled to make a post that berates the U because they are jealous.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:13 p.m.

    EarlOfHemsley, no problem, good article overall. Everyone makes mistakes, but you're fun to read, and your interaction is cool, too!

  • KTar Boise, ID
    July 24, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    CO Ute"to the point they feel compelled to make a post that berates the U because they are jealous."

    I'm not speaking for every BYU fan, only myself. When I heard the Ute's were headed to the Pac12 with Colorado and not BYU, I was initially jealous. I can admit that. It hurt to see a rival move on to a better league, leaving my Cougars behind. It hurt that the rivalry game was only that - a rivalry game, without conference implications.

    However, a few years later my perspective has changed. Have you ever heard the proverb "Milk before Meat." It seems that Utah was in no way prepared for the "meat" of the PAC, and were definitely better off with the "milk" of the MWC. One could make the argument that your road to the BCS was easier in the MWC than it is now.

    What has Utah moved on to? More money, possibly more exposure, an edge in recruiting in-state, and conference irrelevance. If this embarrassing trend continues, I would argue that their situation was better in the days of the MWC.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    @jdub1942

    "I wouldn't say its the 10th most important game, its the 12th, right after USU"

    Your fans always storm the field for the 12th most important game?

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    July 24, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    Uhmm best tight end in the state, reciever? No way, sorry Murph. Love the spin article, no opportunity here to run the table, do you think ute fans?

    I'd be surprised to hear u fans think this season is nothing more than trying to get to .500.

  • Play Nice Herriman, UT
    July 24, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    I know Jake Murphy is a good receiver. But to name him the best in the state is quite a bit like hiding your head in the sand. Did our writer forget about Cody Hoffman down south?

  • Play Nice Herriman, UT
    July 24, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    Jake Murphy had 33 receptions last season. Cody Hoffman had 100. Jake had 349 yards receiving and Cody had 1248 yards receiving. Cody found the end zone 4 times while Cody put up six points 11 times. How arguable might that be?

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    July 24, 2013 1:56 p.m.

    We all know that preseason rankings and predictions are pretty worthless. However, I have to agree with the main point of the article that it is an opportunity for the Utes to blow away those predictions of poor performance. I hope the Utes play with something to prove and amaze everyone!

  • Solomon Levi Alpine, UT
    July 24, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    CO Ute

    "Curious how you consider last years game a 'close fluke win' for Utah."

    Easy answer.

    With BYU down 7-10, the Cougars had marched from their own 30 to the Utah 20 and were threatening to tie the game or take the lead, when an errant snap scoop and score gave the Utes a gift touchdown and a 17-10 lead. Without that unforced turnover, BYU likely ties or takes the lead late in the 3rd quarter in a game in which Utah's offense was being completely shut down by BYU's defense. The Utes didn't have a single touchdown scoring drive over 39 yards; and that one-play scoring drive, along with Utah's other two-play, 17-yard scoring drive, were both set up by long punt returns. Utah's offense only crossed mid-field once on drives that started on Utah's half of the field.

    The final box score shows just how fortunate the Utes were:

    1st Downs
    BYU 25
    Utah 14

    Rushing Yards
    BYU 106
    Utah 49

    Passing Yards
    BYU 206
    Utah 196

    Total Yards
    BYU 312
    Utah 245

    The better team doesn't always win.

  • GoRed WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 24, 2013 3:19 p.m.

    @solomom levi

    You and your BYU fan base are always coming up with excuses. The bottom line is, Utah won the game last year, as they have the last 3 years in a row, 4 out of 5, 8 out of 11, and overall 56-34-4. Nit picking last year's game won't change the fact that you lost.

    When your fans can come to terms with this and realize that you are on the short end of the stick in everything related to the Utah-BYU football rivalry, then that will be a first step in becoming competitive again.

  • 2BCSWINS West of I15, UT
    July 24, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    @solomon Levi...."threatening to tie the game or take the lead, when an errant snap scoop and score gave the Utes a gift touchdown and a 17-10 lead."

    So do you not pay attention to the entire game? We also had an unforced error late in the game on a punt that let the Y even have a chance to come back. If not for that unforced error the Utes win that game going away. I can sit here and list unforced errors, bad calls, etc. from almost every one of these games. However their just excuses "BETTER TEAMS" don't make excuses! They win the game regardless of bad calls, unforced errors, etc.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 24, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    @Solomon Levi

    I guess you weren't watching the same game.

    Utah dominated the first 3 Qtrs and nearly choked in the 4th.

    BYU had 161 total yards the first 3 quarters
    Utah around 200

    The result of which according to ESPN was:

    Gameball goes to... Jon Hays had two touchdown passes for Utah, which led after three quarters, 24-7. Stat of the game... 14-0. BYU rallied furiously in the final quarter, outscoring Utah 14-0.

    I was at the game and we thought the route was on after we took a 24-7 lead.

    It didn't happen. I give credit to BYU for not quitting, unlike in 2011 @LES when down 24-10 BYU quit.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    July 24, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    Solomon Levi

    "CO Ute

    'Curious how you consider last years game a 'close fluke win' for Utah.'

    Easy answer.

    With BYU down 7-10, the Cougars had marched from their own 30 to the Utah 20 and were threatening to tie the game or take the lead, when an errant snap scoop and score gave the Utes a gift touchdown and a 17-10 lead. Without that unforced turnover...."

    Actually, the mis-snap was 100% forced. The U merely had to line-up Star directly over C at NG, which they did, and their C became terrified as he immediately/understandably lost sight of his responsibility in snapping and placed 100% focus on how he would survive Star and live to play another down. I witnessed this phenomena throughout Star's career, typically resulting in false-starts, but sometimes in TDs. 14-0 against USC as Star straight blew-up their all-everything C Holmes, before their coaches wised-up and gave him mandatory assistance, is yet another example. Holmes was so flustered/anxious/frantic/emotional, it was equally pure-comedy to witness!

    No, this TO was unequivocally 100% forced by Star's mere presence.!

  • anti BCS Anaheim, CA
    July 24, 2013 6:16 p.m.

    Uteology

    "Utah dominated the first 3 Qtrs..."

    Typical Ute crimson-colored hyperbole. The game was tied 7-7 at the half and Utah only lead 10-7 midway through the 3rd, with BYU deep in Utah territory and poised to take the lead, before Utah's lucky scoop and score.

    The Utes hung on by their finger-nails as BYU's game-tying FG try hit the upright with no time left. Two inches to the right, and the game goes into overtime, with Utah shell-shocked and BYU having all of the momentum.

    It's alright. U can admit that the Utes barely survived a devastating defeat.

    The remainder of the season proved which team was better.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    July 24, 2013 6:16 p.m.

    Solomon Levi--

    "CO Ute

    'Curious how you consider last years game a 'close fluke win' for Utah.'

    Easy answer.

    With BYU down 7-10, the Cougars had marched from their own 30 to the Utah 20 and were threatening to tie the game or take the lead, when an errant snap scoop and score gave the Utes a gift touchdown and a 17-10 lead. Without that unforced turnover....The final box score shows just how fortunate the Utes were:"

    Here are merely four examples of unforced errors--

    Our botched punt and two PF penalties during 2-Star byu's TD drive making it 24-14; Our botched punt giving 2-Star byu the ball on our 14 yard line, leading to a TD and providing our final margin of victory, 24-21; JK face-mask penalty on RN in the end-zone on 1st and 10 on their own 5, negating our safety and giving them another 1st and 10 on their 20.

    Finally, the 47 yard completion at the end was our two B.U. safeties committing a Football 101 error. Our two FR All-American starting safeties would never have allowed him to get behind them, ever!

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    July 24, 2013 6:42 p.m.

    Correction--

    Should read, "Our two PF penalties during 2-Star byu's TD drive making it 24-14; Our botched punt giving 2-Star byu the ball on our 14 yard line, leading to a TD and providing our final margin of victory, 24-21; JK face-mask penalty on RN in the end-zone on 1st and 10 on their own 5, negating our safety and giving them another 1st and 10 on their 20."

  • anti BCS Anaheim, CA
    July 24, 2013 6:48 p.m.

    AZUTE1

    "Actually, the mis-snap was 100% forced. The U merely had to line-up Star directly over C at NG, which they did, and their C became terrified as he immediately/understandably lost sight of his responsibility in snapping and placed 100% focus on how he would survive Star and live to play another down."

    LOL at your delusional spin.

    Riley simply turned his head to realign his RB at the same moment that the ball was snapped; crowd noise might have been a factor, but Star was a non-factor.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    July 24, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    anti BCS--

    "The Utes hung on by their finger-nails as BYU's game-tying FG try hit the upright with no time left. Two inches to the right, and the game goes into overtime, with Utah shell-shocked and BYU having all of the momentum."

    Were the refs competent, they would've realized bm and others from their sideline were the nearest non-participants on the field to falslev/football, thus off-setting penalties and no "Doink" ever takes place.

    "It's alright. U can admit that the Utes barely survived a devastating defeat."

    Lol

    "The remainder of the season proved which team was better."

    Hardly, as the final SOS rankings showed--

    2-Star byu #63

    The U #41

  • Cougars1 Bluffdale, UT
    July 24, 2013 6:56 p.m.

    "Actually, the mis-snap was 100% forced. The U merely had to line-up Star directly over C at NG, which they did, and their C became terrified as he immediately/understandably lost sight of his responsibility in snapping and placed 100% focus on how he would survive Star and live to play another down. I witnessed this phenomena throughout Star's career, typically resulting in false-starts, but sometimes in TDs. 14-0 against USC as Star straight blew-up their all-everything C Holmes, before their coaches wised-up and gave him mandatory assistance, is yet another example."

    AZUTE,

    You have been saying this for a while and I am calling you out on this. This is nothing more than pure conjecture on your part to say that you are 100% aware of what was going on in the mind of BYU's center. In fact if you go back and watch the play again you will see that the ONLY reason the snap was not fielded by Riley is because he was looking at the sidelines when the ball was snapped. Clearly a case of an unforced error due to a lack of communication between qb and center. Fail.

  • Marked it Down Park City, UT
    July 24, 2013 6:58 p.m.

    AZUTE1

    In other words, the mighty PACy-WACy Utes nearly caved under the pressure of BYU's 4th quarter onslaught. The Utes were lucky BYU hit the upright on the final play of the game, because the panic stricken PACy-WACy Utes had NOTHING left in the tank.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    July 24, 2013 6:58 p.m.

    anti BCS--

    "AZUTE1

    LOL at your delusional spin.

    Riley simply turned his head to realign his RB at the same moment that the ball was snapped; crowd noise might have been a factor, but Star was a non-factor."

    No Spin necessary. You can just simply review the footage for yourself to see that I'm 100% correct.

    Then, you can review each and every game Star played in.

    100% Straightforward!

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    July 24, 2013 7:02 p.m.

    cougars1--

    "You have been saying this for a while and I am calling you out on this. This is nothing more than pure conjecture on your part to say that you are 100% aware of what was going on in the mind of BYU's center. In fact if you go back and watch the play again you will see that the ONLY reason the snap was not fielded by Riley is because he was looking at the sidelines when the ball was snapped. Clearly a case of an unforced error due to a lack of communication between qb and center. Fail."

    Actually, stating he didn't see the ball coming couldn't be further from the truth! Having witnessed it routinely throughout his U career, it wasn't the least bit surprising that it occurred, whatsoever!

  • Snack PAC Olympus Cove, Utah
    July 24, 2013 7:07 p.m.

    AZUTE1

    "Actually, stating he didn't see the ball coming couldn't be further from the truth!"

    Actually, stating that he [Riley] didn't see the ball coming is EXACTLY the truth!

  • Cougars1 Bluffdale, UT
    July 24, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    After watching it again from a different angle for the 4th time it was definitely unforced. AZUTE can say what he wants, but he is wrong. The stat sheet even says "unforced error".

  • Just the FAX Olympus Cove, Utah
    July 24, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    AZUTE1

    "Were the refs competent, they would've realized bm and others from their sideline were the nearest non-participants on the field to falslev/football, thus off-setting penalties and no "Doink" ever takes place."

    The refs called what they saw, which was a mass of Utah fans storming the field. The Utes deserved the penalty.

    Besides, if you were at all competent in knowing the rules of the game, you would know that a game cannot end on a defensive penalty, off-set or not. At the very least, off-setting penalties would have meant a replay of the down from the original spot for another long FG try or a hail Mary pass. It would have been fun to see Hoffman out-leaping Utah's DB's for the game-winning TD.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    July 24, 2013 7:24 p.m.

    Forget this whole mark it down thing, but I do see Utah bowling this year despite a schedule that is extremely difficult. I do think Utah matches up well in eight of their games but we will have to find out if they have enough depth to weather the strength of their schedule. My concern is Travis Wilson, and it's a big concern.

    BYU has a good number of storied and solid opponents. But they do have a few more lighter opponents than Utah in my opinion. Thing is, I would be excited as a BYU fan because I think this unique schedule they have this year includes high profile games with teams that I see as vulnerable. Notre Dame lost their QB to suspension and BYU woulda coulda shoulda beat the Irish last year with the back up who played. Wisconsin has a new staff although Gary Anderson is well respected in this neck of the woods as well as others (or he wouldn't have gotten the job). Boise State has tapered off the last few years. Another solid BYU defensive effort there with BYU at home and the offense being better, and that is a win.

  • Marked it Down Park City, UT
    July 24, 2013 7:39 p.m.

    AZUTE1 obviously believes the old adage that if you repeat "stuff" enough times, people will start to believe it.

  • Utah Alum Orem, UT
    July 24, 2013 8:24 p.m.

    AZUTE1

    Other than being the player lined up over center, Star had nothing to do with the bad snap that led to the scoop and score by Utah. You can credit the crowd noise for the center not being able to hear Riley's snap count, but not Star.

  • UtefromAZ Phoenix, AZ
    July 24, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    I think the Utes will be just fine. 8 wins this year in the regular season. Upset over Stanford, also. GO UTES! GO DEVILS!

  • 2BCSWINS West of I15, UT
    July 25, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    @Just the fax...."It would have been fun to see Hoffman out-leaping Utah's DB's for the game-winning TD."

    It would also be fun to see the Jazz win an NBA title, Vandy win an SEC title, the cubs win a world series and watch pigs fly......LOL!

  • phantomblade Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 25, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    UtefromAZ

    "I think the Utes will be just fine. 8 wins this year in the regular season. Upset over Stanford, also."

    As 2b says, "when pigs fly"!

    The Utes have ZERO chance of winning 8 games this year, and only a miniscule chance of winning enough games to qualify for a bowl.

    3 wins is more likely than 8.

  • jeru0455 SALEM, OR
    July 25, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    If the Utes went undefeated in 2013, I would be one happy camper. That being said, eight wins I would consider an accomplishment this year.

  • redfeather Palo Alto, CA
    July 25, 2013 6:20 p.m.

    jeru0455

    You should have started with 8 wins; by season's end you could feeling like one happy camper just getting to 5.

  • GoldenGrizz86 West Jordan, UT
    July 27, 2013 10:21 p.m.

    They need to go out and roll over a team like Oregon. Never gonna happen...but it'd be sweet.