From 2006-'10, Utah went 26-4 at home. During that stretch, they won 20 straight before TCU came in and ended their home win streak toward the end of the 2010 season. It was a pretty impressive stretch and one of the most successful in Mountain West Conference history. Unfortunately, since it ended in November '10, the Utes have struggled finding consistency at home. Last season, their first in the Pac-12, they went 3-3 at home - nearly equaling their total losses over the prior five seasons.
All the losses were downright awful - including blowouts to Washington & Arizona State, as well as a disastrous performance against Colorado at the end of the season.
That 3-3 record was their worst at home since the 2000 season, when Utah finished 1-5 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
For the Utes to seriously mount a challenge against USC, they will need a better home record than 3-3.
This year's home schedule affords the chance to do just that if the Utes don't crap the bed like they did against the Buffaloes last year.
Outside the USC game, they host a FCS doormat, take on a BYU team they've only lost to once at home in over a decade, and take on two programs that failed to qualify for a bowl game last season: Arizona & Washington State.
Cal, outside the Trojans, is the only Pac-12 team that finished with a winning record.
Still, the Colorado game showed us that no game is a given, even at home. Utah is capable of losing to every team they play at home this season - outside Northern Colorado, of course.
But if the Utes are going to have a solid season, one that is more impressive than what they saw last year, not only will they have to continue their success on the road (they were, after all, 4-2 away from SLC - 5-2 if you count the Sun Bowl), they'll also have to figure out how to win at home consistently.
That means no more lackluster performances like the last home game and at least a winning record. I say at least, because 4-2 might even prove disappointing for this year's team. It's acceptable if their road record is similar to last year's, of course, but I think we can shoot for better. I hope it's better. I concede it's unlikely they go undefeated at home, so, why not hope for the next best thing?