Yesterday I talked about Utah's best case scenario heading into this season. Today, I will do the exact opposite and discuss the worst case scenario for Utah.
This is not my season predictions or what I actually believe will happen. It is however a look at the worst case scenario for the Utes this season, meaning if everything goes wrong the following could happen. These predictions are based on talent, competition and history, so it's doubtful the worst case scenario requires Utah going winless, even though that would be the worst of the worst case scenarios.
9-2-06 @ UCLA
Utah struggles against a tough Rose Bowl crowd and the UCLA defense shuts down the Utes passing game. Ratliff, in only his third start, struggles and the Bruins roll to a win. UCLA wins 42-17.
Even in Utah's worst case scenario, I do not see them losing to Northern Arizona, a D1-AA team. Utes win 35-14.
9-16-06 @ USU
Like the NAU game, I don't see a worst case scenario where Utah loses to USU. The Utes are a much better team and should win with little problem, though if the Aggies come out strong early on, the game could be close throughout. Utes win 28-21.
9-23-06 @ SDSU
Like last year, SDSU could defeat the Utes and in a worst case scenario, it's very possible. Especially if SDSU is more talented and disciplined under Long than they were under Craft. If Utah struggles this season, the Aztecs should win. SDSU wins 35-21.
Utah lost to Boise State in the 1998 at home and if the Utes are struggling heading into this game, it very well may be another loss. The Broncos could have the ability to light up the Utes defense, especially if it isn't any better than last year. If Utah's offense struggles -- which would be a worst case scenario -- BSU should win. BSU wins 42-28.
Frogs would roll a bad Utah team and if the Utes are entering this game 2-3, I wouldn't expect a win...or even a close game. Especially if it's on the heels of a blowout loss at home to Boise State 5 days earlier. TCU wins 31-14.
10-14-06 @ Wyoming
Last year Utah nearly had their worst case scenario season and still beat Wyoming, giving them their biggest loss of the season. While the game is on the road, I think the Utes will at least be good enough to pull out a victory, even if close. Utes win 35-28.
10-19-06 @ New Mexico
Bah, the Lobos have been a thorn in Utah's side recently and if the Utes limp into this game below .500, I don't see them winning. New Mexico wins 28-17.
Utah owns UNLV and even in down years, they've still been able to dominate. This year won't be any different, even if the Utes struggle. Utes win 42-31.
I don't think the Rams will be nearly as good this year as they were last and they still barely beat Utah at home. If the Utes are struggling, I still think they have enough in their tank to gut out a win against CSU. Utes win 28-17.
11-18-06 @ Air Force
Air Force is falling to the back of the pack and even if Utah struggles, I think they still beat the Falcons, even on the road. Utes win 38-31.
This is a tough game to predict because outside of 2004, every game recently has been close. The Utes beat BYU down in Provo last year and have done better than BYU over the years, but if they're down I think BYU can get their first win in the series since 2001. BYU wins 35-28.
There you have it, Utah -- in my worst case scenario -- goes 6-6 and might slide into a bowl game. If this happens, look for heads to roll and Whittingham's butt hit the hot seat faster than it took Utah to fall from the national stage. Do I see this happening? No, but I really didn't see a 7-5 season coming last year, so who knows. I think Utah is good and there is no reason they shouldn't win at least 9 games. A 6-6 finish would be a complete disaster and would most likely cause me to lose all faith in the coaches. Luckily, I just don't see it happening.