The consensus forming around Utah football is that they'll just barely miss out on a postseason berth. College Football News, in fact, has the Utes going 5-7 - with an odd assortment of victories (they predict Utah will beat USU, BYU and ASU ... but also lose every other Pac-12 game sans Colorado). Bovada, the online sports betting website, puts the Utes' over/under win total at 5 1/2 wins. Basically, it seems like the media is conceding Utah falls into the very difficult to predict no man's land - not good enough to warrant any hype and yet not bad enough to write off completely. So, they anticipate the Utes will probably fare better than Colorado and Washington State, but have too many question marks for them to commit to anything remotely successful.
Are they right?
I think so. I mean, I don't necessarily agree that Utah will finish 5-7 again (I think 6-6 or better is in our cards) - what I mean, is that I think they're right about the uncertainty of Utah. They're probably the hardest team to predict in the Pac-12 this season because while they struggled in 2012, it was also such an uncharacteristically bad year for the program. Even still, they were a field goal away in regulation from playing in another bowl game. So, as bad as it got in 2012, the Utes were still competitive in nearly every contest and certainly positioned for a bowl berth up until the end (well, second to last week, but eh...).
Unlike Colorado, who was destroyed far more often than not, there is at least some semblance of a foundation and because of that, it's left many wondering if this is the year Utah finally builds on it successfully or if the rebuilding project is destined to take another year.
Like I said, I think Utah is the hardest team to peg this season. I don't think any of us would be surprised if the Utes finished with another losing season or even won eight regular season games. It's that area in the middle, unfortunately, that leaves us less certain about this season's prospects.
So, how many games do you think Utah will in 2013? We've discussed whether they'll make a bowl game, and who you think they might beat (so far, everyone but Stanford - with half the season left to come) - but what will be their overall mark at the end of November?
I think if the Utes are 3-0 in OOC play, at least 6-6 should be the expectation. Of course, beating USU and BYU won't prove entirely easy, so, just going undefeated in the out of conference slate isn't a given.
But it'd help.