As we inch closer to the start of the 2013 season (now just a day away), I thought I would go on record and give you my 2013 predictions.
Now, I'm not oblivious to the fact that in less than two days, my predictions could go wildly wrong, opening me up to some humiliating taunting and outlandish attacks. But I'm a big boy and I can handle it.
So, take these predictions seriously...don't, just realize this is how I feel only hours away from the start of the season.
The line says this will come down to a play or two. I think it won't. I don't believe the Utes will rock the Aggies like some, but I do anticipate a comfortable victory - something in the realm of 10 points. On twitter, I suggested 24-14 and I think it's a possible outcome, though, to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the Utes won 34-24 or something similar. The victory might not address all our concerns, but I think it'll help with a great deal.
Fresh off their big win over the Aggies, Utah pretty much bullies the Wildcats. I don't foresee this game even being close, and if it's in contention heading into the fourth, it's probably because the Utes aren't very good anyway, and their win over USU most certainly didn't happen. Weber State is coming off a 2-9 season at the FCS level. There is no excuse for this one to be close even heading into the second quarter.
Believe it or not, and after last season, it's hard to imagine, but I think Utah will be receiving votes heading into their game against the Beavers. Oregon State could be ranked themselves, which should make for quite the game. While I anticipate this one will be close, I think, late in the fourth quarter, the Utes score a security touchdown and win by 10.
Knocking on the door to the top-25, with many in the media already proclaiming Utah as the surprise team of the 2013 season, the Utes roll into Provo to take on the 1-1 or 0-2 BYU Cougars. They'll be dogs, solely because the game is at LES, but that doesn't matter. The Utes, in the fourth, break open the game and win by 13. The fourth-straight defeat to Utah is absolutely demoralizing for BYU - double, in fact, when you include the fact the series is now going on a two-year hiatus.
Unthinkable during much of the offseason, however, the Utes break into the top-25 just in time for their huge showdown against the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins rocketed into the top-twelve after their victory over Nebraska on the road and instantly become the favorites to win the Pac-12 South. However, Utah pulls off a stunning upset late in the fourth quarter and defeat UCLA by three. The fans storm the field and the Utes move to 5-0 on the season.
Oh boy. The game to end all games. Utah, ranked 14th nationally, take on the second-ranked Cardinal. GameDay, which hadn't visited Salt Lake since the 2010 season, rolls into town for the battle of unbeatens. Lee Corso, just like he did three years ago, dons the opponent's mascot head (this time a tree, I guess?) to a chorus of boos. Sadly, for the Utah faithful, his prediction proves to be true yet again as the Cardinal defeat Utah by a razor-thin seven points.
Utah has little time to put their stinging defeat to Stanford behind 'em, as a tough roadie against Arizona awaits. The Wildcats, who have slumped a bit this season, are coming off two-straight losses themselves. Their struggles, fortunately for Utah, continue into week eight and, after a close first half, the Utes run away with the game, winning by 17.
The Trojans enter this game atop the Pac-12 South, though are coming off a tough loss to rival Notre Dame. Utah, who's still ranked, finally look to break through against USC. It doesn't happen. The Trojans win after a late surge in the fourth quarter.
Utah returns home to face their growing nemesis, the Arizona State Sun Devils. To their constant misery, ASU continues its recent domination and, while it's closer than the last two meetings, walk out of RES victorious.
Utah's great season has hit a major hiccup heading into Eugene. Now out of the top-25, and looking to spring the upset, everything goes wrong for the Utes and they lose by a rather ugly 21 points. Three straight losses hasn't doomed their season, but it's almost certainly done in their hopes of winning the Pac-12 South. Still, having locked up bowl eligibility against Arizona, most fans agree this season, though disappointing for the mild reach toward success and then quick descent, has gone beyond most expectations.
@ Washington State
A very tough road game that, like two years ago, comes down to the wire. However, the Utes hang on and snap a season-worst three-game losing streak.
Utah wraps up its season with the type of win we anticipated the last two years against the Buffaloes. Though they failed to win the Pac-12 South, the team finishes with a surprising eight regular season wins, and, with their schedule, re-enter the final top-25 before the bowl season.
Back in the postseason, Utah finally gets its invite to the Holiday Bowl to take on Texas Tech...or Oklahoma State...or some other Big 12 team.
I won't predict that game. But when it's all said and done, prior to the bowl season, of course, the Utes are 8-4, ranked in the top-25 and 5-4 in Pac-12 play.
Delusional? Maybe. A surge of pre-season optimism? Most definitely. Impossible? I don't think so.
Let's hear your predictions.