Preseason predictions are always spotty at best, so it's best to not take stock in one over another. Which is why consensus is always the way to go when establishing what to expect heading into a season.
For the Utes, they're projected anywhere from third in the Mountain West to first. Most believe they're either borderline top-25 or ranked heading into this season. Like I said, it's pretty much all over the place, since there is a big difference between finishing first and third -- a BCS bowl bid, for starters.
One of the most optimistic predictions for the Utes comes from College Football Poll.com. They have Utah going undefeated and easily winning the Mountain West. Extremely high expectations that are pretty much based on computer rankings. How accurate are they? Well it's hard to say, though last year they did have Utah finishing 11-1 (one of the better predictions out there). In fact, if you look at their past projections, they've been fairly close in most cases since they began in 1994.
The only seasons they've been extremely off were 2000, 2002 and 2003. In the former two, they picked Utah to do better than they actually did and in the latter, worse. But that isn't much of a surprise, since in 2000 the Utes were coming off a solid 9-3 season and were expected to win the Mountain West. Their performance, a 4-7 campaign, showed the first sings the program was stagnating under McBride. A near mirror image of a season took place two years later, when the Utes fell to 5-7 after an 8-4 season the year prior. 2003, of course, was such an unknown since Urban Meyer was a new coach and the Utes were coming off an average year.
Hopefully they're right this season and the Utes are undefeated again. I won't expect it, though, but that doesn't mean I can't hope.