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Street & Smith enters the preseason prediction fray

Throughout the offseason I've been showing major magazine predictions for the Utes and the Mountain West. I've discussed Athlon and Lindy, as well as The Sporting News and today I'm going to take a look at Street & Smith.

Firstly, here's top-25 opponents Utah faces this season:

Louisville (10)
UCLA (15)
Texas Christian (23)
Oregon State (24)

Ouch, that's four opponents that they think will be ranked this year. One helluva tough schedule, if you ask me. Of course even with that tough schedule, they think Utah will finish 2nd in the conference. Obviously behind TCU, which has established themselves as the cream of the Mountain West crop.

Here's their prediction on how the MWC will pan out:

Rank Team
2 Utah
4 Wyoming
5 New Mexico
6 Colorado State
7 Air Force
8 San Diego State

I actually agree with their rankings over the rest. I think Wyoming has a good shot at 4th place and maybe even a 3rd place tie with either Utah or BYU. TCU should win the conference and I expect Utah to finish 2nd, but wouldn't be surprised if Utah tied for a conference championship with TCU, or even finished 3rd behind both TCU and BYU (though I think that's the least likely, with how much offense the Cougars lose).

As with the other past publications, I think it would be best to look at how well they've predicted Utah's finish in the MWC. This should give us a better understanding if they're on to something with their predictions, or if they're constantly wrong.

Year Predicted Finish Actual Finish
1999 5th 1st
2000 1st 4-t
2001 6th 3-t
2002 4th 4-t
2003 7th 1st
2004 1st 1st
2005 1st 4-t
2006 3rd 3rd

Out of all the preseason magazines I've reviewed, Street & Smith has predicted Utah's finish the most. All the others (Athlon, Lindy and TSN) only predicted Utah's record right once, in 2004. On the other hand, Street & Smith predicted Utah's record three times, which surprises me. 2002, 2004 and most importantly, 2006, shows that Street & Smith's system might be best for looking at Utah's possible finish. When most preseason publications had Utah finishing either first or second last year, they were the lone major publication that predicted out of the top-2. Hopefully their predictions hold true and are actually better, with Utah finishing 1st.

Tomorrow I'll probably look at Phil Steele.