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Utah football midway through season

If, prior to the season started, I had said Utah would be 3-3 and coming off a win over Pitt on the road to end the first-half of the season, I'm sure most fans here would take it.

In fact, the general consensus, though there were some optimistic holdouts, had the Utes pegged at anywhere from six to potentially nine regular season wins. Utah is on pace for just that.

But if, prior to the season, I had said Utah would be 0-3 in Pac-12 play and without quarterback Jordan Wynn, who went down midway through the fourth game with a season-ending injury, I doubt the feeling would be as optimistic or hopeful for a late-season surge to bowl eligibility.

Yet the latter point is exactly what the Utes are facing as they enter their final six games, which starts this Saturday against an equally struggling Cal.

These next few weeks are going to be in stark contrast to the first few. The schedule, which had rated as one of the hardest in the country, lightens up considerably, with none of the remaining teams on it currently having an above .500 record. The first six Utah opponents? All but Pitt are well above the winning line - including 5-1 Washington, 5-1 SC, 5-2 ASU and, surprisingly, 6-1 Montana State, who ranks 3rd nationally in the FCS.

Can the Utes take advantage of that weakened schedule and push toward bowl eligibility and a strong finish in their inaugural Pac-12 season?

What record, knowing the overall record of Utah's next six opponents (12-25, if you were wondering), would be tolerable?

Should Utah fans expect a winning season, or at least a bowl berth, even with their so-so start and injury at quarterback?

I think so. There really is no excuse, with this schedule, to not find three more wins, especially with home games against Oregon State, UCLA and Colorado.

But then again, maybe I'm overselling Utah (wouldn't be the first time). It's entirely possible, without Wynn, this team is no better than the Beavers and only slightly better than the Buffaloes. If that's the case, we shouldn't expect three wins and this team will probably falter badly, even against weakened competition.

I'm hopeful that isn't the case and I think we'll get a better idea after the Cal game.

But what about you? How do you see the next half of the season going for the Utes?