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Utah football ranked 28th in early S&P+ projections

NCAA Football: Heart of Dallas Bowl-Utah vs West Virginia Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Utah hasn’t always been loved by a lot of the metrics out there, at least the last couple of seasons. Utah has largely out performed many projections and metrics, and if they do so again this next season, at least based off of these first S&P+ metrics, they’ll have a very nice season. The Utes are ranked by Bill Connelly 28th in the early S&P+ rankings. The rankings rank all 130 teams in the country, and per Bill’s article, this is how the metrics are built:

  • Recruiting is easy. I create a rating based on these two-year recruiting rankings. The recruiting-based projection makes up about a quarter of the overall S&P+ projection.
  • For returning production, I apply projected changes (based on each team’s returning offensive and defensive production, which are on different scales) to last year’s S&P+ averages. The projection based on returning production accounts for a little more than 50 percent.
  • For recent history, I get a little weird. I found last year that the previous year’s S&P+ ratings — which make up the starting point for the returning production figures — were carrying a little too much weight. So what you see below is a projection based solely off of seasons two to five years ago. Recent history now carries less weight in the overall formulas, under 20 percent.

Here’s how he breaks down Utah:

Recruiting impact: 32
Returning production: 30
Weighted 5 year average: 34

Utah’s continued to build their recruiting, and that’s been paying off the last couple of seasons, and hopefully this year it helps put them over the top, because so much of this young talent is now more experienced. That would lead to the returning production. Utah is returning most of the offense, and a traditionally strong defense with a very talented secondary. The Utes have a lot of things moving in the right direction, they just need health to break their way this season, because if they do, that 28 could end up being a lot better.

The other Pac-12 teams in his rankings ahead of Utah? Washington (4), USC (15), Stanford (20) and Oregon (23).

Make sure to check out Bill’s full rankings and let us know what you think.