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ESPN.com Ranks Pac-12 Defenses, has Utah 3rd

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPN Pac-12 blog ranked the Pac-12 defenses going into the 2015 season on Thursday. Utah returns a lot of contributors from the 2014 season, and figure to have another very good defense, even without the likes of Nate Orchard and Eric Rowe. The Utes will be anchored by Hunter Dimick, Tevin Carter and Gionni Paul (among others) this season, and appear to be as deep as ever.

So where did ESPN.com rank the Utes in the Pac-12? Well, they placed them at No. 3 in the conference. While that's a very respectable ranking, I believe the Utes should be at least No. 2. The team that ESPN.com has ranked just a head of the Utes is a bit of a shocker, in my opinion.

Check out the full ranking here, and what ESPN.com said of the Utes below.

The Utes might have ranked second if not for the departure of coordinator Kalani Sitake and cornerback Dominique Hatfield being kicked off the team this summer. They ranked fourth in the conference in scoring defense last year and third in yards per play. Many of the key pieces are back this fall despite the departure of All-Ameircan end Nate Orchard and his 18.5 sacks. What separates Utah on defense, however, is not just potential stars; it's the big, meaty, interior defensive linemen, led by Lotulelei, younger brother of Star Lotulelei. Their physicality inside creates opportunities on the perimeter -- see a nation-leading 55 sacks last year.

What do you think, are the Utes the 3rd best defense in the Pac-12?