One of the great things about summer is the seemingly endless college football preseason publications. Most are woefully wrong when November and December roll around - and yet, here we are, still buying and reading them.
Generally, it's never safe to take just one magazine as the gospel. Like election polls, they're more and more accurate the larger sample size you have.
If one magazine says Utah is going to finish fourth in the Mountain West (Rogers Poll, if you can believe it), it's probably not wise to expect it. The Utes haven't finished fourth in the conference since 2005. So you probably say that prediction is an outlier and compare it to the other predictions.
Athlon, Lindy, Phil Steele and TSN all have Utah finishing second to TCU in the conference. I think that's a realistic expectation. In fact, I believe when the Mountain West preseason media poll is released next month, that's exactly where they'll put Utah - right behind the Frogs.
That means the consensus puts the Utes at second. Not fourth like the Rogers Poll indicates (they have AFA finishing second and BYU third).
I am content with this because I think TCU is the team to beat. They dominated the Mountain West last year and return a great deal of the talent that got them to the top. No team, outside of TCU, in the conference's history has won the championship in such spectacular fashion one year and returned much of what made them spectacular.
That's what is facing Utah and the rest of the conference. Of course, TCU does have to travel to Salt Lake and that will probably prove to be their toughest test of the season. Unless Utah rolls over like they did a year ago.
I expect these numbers to change as more and more publications are added. But for the time, it looks like the Utes are destined for second...at least according to them.