According to football recruiting/news megasite Scout.com, the Utah Utes will probably defeat the USC Trojans on Oct. 4 in Salt Lake City, win the Pac 12 South, and end the 2012 season ranked at number 13.
While most of us have high hopes for Utah in 2012, I think that even most of us would be surprised that a reputable sports source is making such a call. Oh, and get this: Scout also projects that Utah's overall record in 2012 will be 10-2.
Wow. Did I say wow? Let me repeat... wow!
The staff at Scout has ranked where they believe the top 100 teams in the nation will end the season. The ranking is based on overall potential and how each team looked in spring ball. And for reasons that many of us already know about, Scout is expecting big things from the Utes this year.
"You heard it here first; don’t be shocked if Utah -- not USC -- ends up representing the South in the Pac-12 title game," the Scout.com staff wrote. "The offense will be terrific with QB Jordan Wynn returning and John White the best back in the league, but the season will revolve around a defense that starts with Star Lotolelei in the middle of the line."
That's some good reasoning. And that is to say nothing of Utah's much-improved roster depth. The article also mentions the stout Utah defense as a big factor. Scout.com also predicts that USC will finish at number 6 with the same record as Utah: 10-2.
In it's write-up for USC, Scout.com pointed to the Trojans' potential road difficulties this year as one of the reasons it may not win the Pac 12 South.
"The Trojans are going to be on the road for four games in five weeks during the first half of the season, including a scary date against a Utah team that should be good enough to challenge for the Pac-12 title," Scout.com wrote.
"No one will run on the loaded Ute defensive front, but the veteran secondary has to be stronger after struggling a bit too much," the article states.
Utah missing Oregon and Stanford again this season is another reason the website is placing so much optimism in the Utes.
"The schedule is as good as could be asked for. There’s no Oregon or Stanford from the North, and USC has to make the trip to Salt Lake City," the article states. "With three home games in four weeks over the second half of the season before closing out against the Buffs, barring a big slip there's a chance to run the Pac-12 table with a win over the Trojans."
Is the staff at Scout.com a little too optimistic? I don't believe so. Utah most certainly has the potential to accomplish all of that in 2012. However, I think it may be a bit of a stretch to actually predict it happening.
What do you think?