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Utah football: Utes aim to be up to the challenge of competing in ever-improving Pac-12

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  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 12:57 a.m.

    There is a positive spin on Utah having to play Stanford and Oregon this year. It couldn't be much worse than the record they had the last couple years against Cal & Washington (1-3...0-2 in 2011). So the record shouldn't be any different than it was in 2011 losing both games to the teams Stanford and Oregon are replacing. So get it done utes...7-5 is possible, make it happen. Best of luck, I'll be pulling for U...except the 21st of course.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 1:13 a.m.

    Out first two years have been EXACTLY as we thought, as tough as that is.

    PAC 12 teams have PAC 12 athletes.

    Each year we are getting more PAC 12 talent that is replacing Mwc kids.

    Every year since our PAC 12 invite our recruiting has INCREASED, both in average stars AND better head to head recruiting against the other in state schools.

    That is exactly what we knew would happen as the PAC 12 is better and better athletes want to play on better conferences with better teams and better teammates.

    Coincidence we have beat byu and usu in recruiting every year since our invite?

    Nope!

    Point is, it's going just as Kyle has said it would.

    100% behind Kyle!

    8-4 season and as good a chance at PAC 12 title game as anyone in south.

    Only Colorado doesn't have a chance.

    Mark that down, 8-4

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 1:22 a.m.

    It's tough being in the second best league in the nation.

    But it's a challenge we welcome!

    We all knew it would take a few years to improve recruiting

    That has happened. Thanks to our prestigious conference invite. And winning prestigious bowl games and finishing with the best record in the country.

    I think this is the year we prove we belong and will be a force in the PAC 12

    8-4 season.

    And the non-power conference teams in Utah will continue to be jealous of our power conference membership!

    We own byu and usu thinks a single win is equal to our 15 game domination over them!

  • Don't Feed the Trolls Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 3:04 a.m.

    Having Standford and the Ducks may be more difficult, but the Utes only managed 1 win and 3 losses against Cal and Washington. Lose by 19 to the Huskies or 90 to Oregon, a loss is still a loss on the record.

  • UteinIdaho Sandpoint, ID
    Aug. 25, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Wow, this will be the 5th comment posted, and there has been no ridiculous nonsense bantering from opposing fans. Cougsndawgs, thanks for your nice post. Chris B, I admire your optimism and boy do I hope your right!
    In my opinion, it's sad to say, but considering last year, and the schedule this year, 6-6 would be a success. I am counting on 7-5 and agree with Chris B that 8-4 is possible. I really think that in year 3 we REALLY need a staple Pac12 win. I think our best chance at that is Stanford at home. That's a lofty goal, but I think it's possible. And that is the kind of win we need to show that we belong

  • GoRed WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    I, too, agree that an 8-4 season is possible. Lost in the discussion of last year's season is the fact that the Utes' quarterback situation was disastrous. Coach Whitt had put all of his faith in a healthy Wynn, the same guy who had led Utah to a Poinsettia Bowl win over now-fellow PAC 12 member Cal. After Wynn went down once and for all, we were left with no real QB-in -waiting. We still could have won 8-10 games in the MWC, but not in the PAC 12. But Utah has more talent and depth at quarterback now than I've ever seen. (Can't wait for both Manning and Cox to get their chance some day). And there's a ton of talent in the running backs and receiving corps. I just hope that the D can come through. Reilly, Orchard, Blechen, and Rowe have all got to step up. If these things can come together, and we can avoid major injuries, I don't think 8-4 is unrealistic at all.

    Go Utes!

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    It all depends on Erickson and Wilson. If they can get the offense to perform as a top 50 offense then I think we have a chance at 8-4.

    Wins: CU and Weber State
    Should win: USU, @BYU, @WSU
    Toss up: OSU, UCLA, ASU

    Most likely loses: @USC, @UA
    Loses: Standford, @Oregon

    I think after Thursdays game we'll know if this is an 8-4 team or not.

    Go UTES!!

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2013 3:13 p.m.

    christy

    "Out first two years have been EXACTLY as we thought, as tough as that is."

    LOL at your desperate attempt to rewrite history. Here's what you really thought:

    Chris B
    9:04 p.m. Sept. 11, 2011

    "Let's consider chances of going to a BCS bowl:

    Pac 12 tournament of champions
    Don't play Oregon
    Don't play Stanford
    USC can't go to Pac 12 championship game
    1 of 2 best teams in Division

    Chances of BCS Rose Bowl: Utah 40%; Oregon 60%"

    Two years ago, you predicted that the Utes were only slightly less than a coin flip away from playing in the Rose Bowl.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    Uteology:
    You honestly think USU & BYU are "should wins"? Both are ranked ahead of Utah, and USU beat Utah last year & has 18 returning starters, while BYU was a FG away from taking the utes to OT at RES, while this year the game is in Provo. I would label those as toss-up games along with OSU & UCLA. I would also put ASU as a "most likely loss" because Utah has yet to be competitive with them on the field. Other than that I think the rest of your list is accurate, though I have gone on record before, and again now, as saying Utah will upset Stanford at RES this year. I think that's a favorable matchup for the utes with upset written all over it. Cheers.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    Cougsndawgs, I would place USU and BYU as somewhere between "should win" and "toss up" for Utah, assuming a healthy, intact Utah team. Last year, a couple injuries and an ejection at USU played a key role in USU's OT win, and those same injuries, along with a couple more, hurt the Utes against BYU. BYU should be slightly improved this year, as should Utah, but both teams' records at the end of the year may not reflect it.

  • UteinIdaho Sandpoint, ID
    Aug. 25, 2013 5:05 p.m.

    I agree that both USU and BYU should be in the "should win" column. We are favored over USU and we have had byu's number. If we beat USU, as I think we should, we will likely be favored over the cougs. The only part of Uteology's list that I would change is swapping ASU and UA. ASU has owned us, and they return Taylor Kelly. Although I admit I'm a bit scared to face Rich Rod in his second year, they've got a new QB, and I think that will be the difference.
    (Side note: I recently rewatched last years UA game. Man we should have won that!!)

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 6:14 p.m.

    Uteanymous, two years ago the utes were a touchdown away from playing in the pac 12 championship. Chrissy's prediction was pretty darn close (except the BCS bowl part.

    Are you trying to give him credence?

    Utes have a chance to win most games. Only Oregon is really out of reach barring Duck injuries.

    No one really knows how this team will perform, just like the first year in the PAC. Which is exactly why Chris's prediction in 2011 was pretty darn good.

  • Don't Feed the Trolls Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 8:16 p.m.

    "PAC 12" is an excuse I don't think Whitt deserves. The cupboard was bare the last two years at running back and backup QB. John White emerging was an absolute miracle (aided by a great OC), and the lack of a backup is the coach's recruiting fault. (shouldn't he have been able to recruit a few Qbs to a BCS Bowl/PAC 12 school?

    If the Utes don't show real improvement, KW should be gone.

  • Chris B's momma Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 25, 2013 9:12 p.m.

    Chris has a bad memory. He predicted greatness right away. I know, I wrote it down. I'm afraid we are looking at 3-9 this year.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 10:34 p.m.

    "...Blechen...".

    The UTES counted on "...Blechen..." last year...

    Then found out he had his mind on something else...

    Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice shame on me.

    When you have 11 guys on the field and 10 are wondering if the 11th guy has anybody's back...

    the defense will continue to look like it did last year.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 10:50 p.m.

    "Out first two years have been EXACTLY as we thought, as tough as that is."

    A blatant out and out lie.

    LOL at your failed attempt at your remedial U of U Revisionist History class assignment.

    The general consensus of the majority of Ute fans at the time of the invitation was that the Utes would compete immediately and that Rose Bowling was imminent.

    Losing to Colorado and the circumstances around that 'golden' opportunity in 2011 were based on other team's performance issues. A 7-5 overall record and a 4-5 conference record is not what we call competing in a conference.

    Year two was worse.

    Only after two seasons of sub-par conference performance and no-bowling last year has the dialog changed to "it's going to take some time".

    LOL

  • idaho cougar fan Twin Falls, ID
    Aug. 26, 2013 1:30 a.m.

    Your funny Chris B and the rest of the Ute fans. Haven't ever commented on a solely Ute article, but couldn't help but laugh my head off when I saw Chris B. predict an 8-4 year. I personally hope they do well, I like Kyle and don't want him on the hot seat. Also it makes a cougar victory that much sweeter over a good Ute team and not a bad Ute team. Good luck Utes!!

  • scenic view Baltimore, MD
    Aug. 26, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    sammyg

    "The general consensus of the majority of Ute fans at the time of the invitation was that the Utes would compete immediately and that Rose Bowling was imminent."

    You're absolutely correct. Two years ago, the general consensus amongst the majority of Utah fans was that Utah's BCS bowl win over Alabama had proven that the Utes could compete with anybody and, therefore, the Utes would be instantly competitive in the PAC, with Rose Bowls imminent. Utah fans brushed aside as ludicrous every BYU fan's suggestion that the Utes could be the next Arizona, 30 years in the PAC and still no Rose Bowl.

    It wasn't until the Utes were beat down by every PAC team with a winning record that they played in their first two years, and their disastrous losing, bowl-less season, that Utah fans adopted their new "it's going to take some time" narrative.

  • scenic view Baltimore, MD
    Aug. 26, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    Uteology

    Your groupings are a bit off.

    Here's the true order:

    Wins: Weber State
    Should win: CU and @WSU
    Toss up: USU
    Most likely loses: @USC, @UA, @BYU, OSU, UCLA, ASU
    Loses: Stanford, @Oregon

    Likely 4-8, but could be 3-9 or 5-7

  • killarney Lincoln Park, IL
    Aug. 26, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    The hard reality for Utah fans is the Utes could have a better team this season, and still finish with the same record as last season, or worse.

    Same thing is true of BYU, although BYU should win their game on September 21st.

  • ChristoperB Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 8:52 a.m.

    Uteanaonymous,

    Yes, and our FIRST year we WERE just a field goal away from the Pac 12 title game!

    LOL

    I was right.

    We were INCHES away!

  • Funny/witty screen name Orem, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    Wait, is cris talking about inches?? haha that is very fitting because 2 of the last 3 byu/utah games have been inches but to cris they have been blowouts!! inches... haha

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    Aug. 26, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    LOVE the trollers!

    Can't wait for Thursday! Then it all can be played out on the field instead of on Utah stories. But, while I'm being entertained:

    @Funny/witty screen name - "2 of the last 3 byu/utah games have been inches"

    2 of the last three years? One of those years was a blocked field goal. Your Payne brought us joy! If you count blocked field goals, then Utah should get to count the USC game too, AT USC. A made field goal there gives Utah a huge win. But, it doesn't matter, does it. Utah lost that game, just like byU lost three straight (including the infamous 54-10 with free turnovers). But, byU "fans" will never give credit to Utah for any of the three straight wins, or 4 of 5, or 8 of 11, or 13 of 20 ..... I wonder what the excuse will be from little brother down south when Utah goes four straight on 9/21?

    Go Utes!! Onward and Upward!!

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 26, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    @Cougsndawgs

    So you are saying we can't compete with ASU because they have dominated us head-to-head but head-to-head doesn't count against BYU and USU?

    * We "should win" USU considering it's @RES and our 5-7 team barley lost with a D2 QB on the road last year.

    * We "should win" BYU considering we have no problem competing against BYU.

    * The ASU game is a "toss up" because I'm expecting an Elite 11 QB to play better than a D2 QB the last time these two teams met at RES:

    "Arizona State was forcing turnovers so quickly in the second half, trainers didn't even have time to get the blood off Brock Osweiler's jersey...Three Utah turnovers on consecutive possessions late in the third quarter and beginning of the fourth helped turn a close game into 35-14 victory for No. 22 Arizona State."

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    I watched the PAC 12 network over the week end since there wasn't anything else on. They replayed only meaningful games, in other words, non of them featured Utah. In the player profiles during game breaks there were no Utah profiles in the games I watched. Yep, the PAC 12 really is glad Utah joined. Just gives the big boys one more game to beat up on someone.

  • Chris B. 4 Prez! Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    @scenic view:

    We'd much prefer a "beat down" (a last-second blocked field goal away from beating SC on their field), to a LES triumph over the lowly Idaho State Vandals ANY DAY!!! Seriously, you shouldn't even be proud of your TDS team with wins against such laughable opponents!

    TDS campus banter: "Did you see the game last night?" "What game, Real Salt Lake?" "No, our beat down of the mighty Vandals!" "Seriously?! I thought that was just a JV game!" (Our only laughable game is September 7th! And believe me, I'll be the first to stand and applaud IF Weber State successfully crosses the 50 yard line!) And to all TDS fans - cease and desist all the "We're going to win a national championship this year!" gibberish, let alone "Tradition, Spirit, Honor" hokey jersey monikers, when getting past Virginia (a horrible team) should be priority #1! GO UTES

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    Aug. 26, 2013 4:28 p.m.

    Danish American:

    But Utah is still very important to YOU, that is what is most important. We just have to make sure that all our Utah County followers are happy! I mean, what would Utah do without your support and your attention? We would be devastated!

    Thanks for proving your loyalty to the Ute program by posting on a Utah story. We'll make sure you get your free turnovers once again this year! We aim to please!

    Go Utes!! Onward and Upward!!

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 26, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Hopefully Whittingham is renting his home.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 26, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    Adding Utah, and Colorado isn't improving the conference, but does add an extra wins for teams qualifying for bowl games.

    Guess that could be an improvement.

  • uteBusters Park City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 6:30 p.m.

    christy

    "Yes, and our FIRST year we WERE just a field goal away from the Pac 12 title game!"

    Nope! You were a FG away from a tying a game that U would have lost in OT.

    You had already burned your "one time" the week before when you barely squeaked past lowly Washington State by a FG in OT.

  • talkinsports Gilbert, AZ
    Aug. 26, 2013 6:42 p.m.

    christy is obviously living under the delusion that MISSING a potentially game-tying FG is the same as winning a game.

    Not only did USC BLOCK Utah's futile last second FG try, the Trojans returned it for a touchdown to win going away 23-14.

    Remind us against how many AP Top 25 teams you beat last season...

    sorry, barely squeaking past Bottom 25 11-loss Colorado 42-35 in the annual "pillow fight in the Rockies", doesn't count.

  • Utah rules Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    Chris, I am going to have to call you out on this one. You should try to remember your predictions from last year and the year before where you said Utah would win the south and play for the conference championship. Try to be honest with yourself and with the rest of us fans. You give us a black eye and are not a good ambassador of the Utes.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 26, 2013 9:43 p.m.

    @talkinsports

    Remind us against how many AP Top 25 teams you beat last season?

    -----------

    The same as you did in 1984.

  • gonefishn Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 2:20 a.m.

    To all coug fans, this mediocre team you speak of is the same team that has dominated you over the last decade. Before you come back with how competitive things have been, save it. The fact is, the game is either close or it is a Utah blowout.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    “big-time football at its finest.”

    No - it's more like "body-bag football at its finest." Utah plays games that it has no chance of winning for money.