Expectations for 2012: The Northern Colorado game

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes reacts during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Utes defeated the Wildcats 34-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I don't know about you, but spring really did breeze on by and I'm actually surprised we're already in June. Before you know it, we'll be kicking down the door to August and only be mere weeks from the start of the 2012 season.

Utah's first opponent, much like last year's opponent, comes from the FCS. Unlike Montana State, though, Northern Colorado is hardly what anyone would consider a FCS power. In fact, they've only been at this level of play since 2007. Prior to that, they were a Division II school and it's showed, as the transition between Division II and the FCS has been far from smooth. Since making the leap up, they've won eight games - in five seasons. Last year, under the reigns of first-year head coach Earnest Collins Jr., they went 0-11.

So, this is not a good team. Well, at least, they haven't been a good FCS team. With that in mind, it will be increasingly difficult to excuse away a close win, or even an ugly win, by suggesting this team will contend for a championship at its level. That was the case with Montana State last year, a program that did manage to go 10-3, won the Big Sky and made it to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Northern Colorado won't be doing that this year barring a massive improvement from last season's squad.

With this game being a fairly sure thing, unlike pretty much anything else on the schedule, instead of just outright asking if Utah will win or lose, which I will do with the other games, I'm going to ask what you feel their margin of victory will be.

Knowing what you know about how badly this team has performed the last few seasons, what is a tolerable margin? Last year, a great deal of fans were unhappy with a 17-point defeat of Montana State - who was actually pretty okay. I'm guessing if the Utes beat Northern Colorado 27-10, the vocal disappointment will be pretty palpable here. I mean, we should expect more, right?

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