The Utes are back in the eyes of voters this week, landing in the “receiving votes” category in both the AP and Coaches polls, earning enough votes to earn a technical ranking of 27th, meaning a third straight win against a respectable Oregon State could keep Utah rising, but they’ll need some help from some out of conference games to crack the top 25.
Wisconsin vs #25 Purdue - Saturday 1:00 PM MT - Big 10 Network
Utah’s best chance to crack into the national rankings could be boosted with a Wisconsin victory this week. Purdue is hot off an upset win over former #2 Iowa, but the Badgers are just stubborn enough to make this as close to a 50/50 matchup as it gets. The 3-3 Badgers have yet to notch a quality win, but Vegas is giving Wisconsin the nod of confidence here with a -3.5 point spread. On the contrary, ESPN’s Football Power Index favors the 4-2 Boilermakers a 55.2% advantage. Ute fans should keep with tradition and cheer for the team in red and white.
#24 UTSA vs Louisiana Tech - Saturday 5:00 PM MT - Stadium
The undefeated Roadrunners head to Louisiana to take on the 2-4 Bulldogs but don’t let their respective records fool you; LA Tech is capable of pulling an upset to help make way for the Utes. UTSA’s average margin of victory is a healthy 19.42 points, but that is buoyed by blowout wins to 1-4 FCS Lamar and 2-4 Rice. Remove those wins, and that margin drops drastically down to 7.4. The Bulldogs have lost four games by an average of 6.5 points, including a 34-27 loss to then #23 NC State (who currently sit at #18, mind you). Vegas is giving UTSA the favorite at -6 points, suggesting the experts are pinning another close one down south. A Tech upset would deflate UTSA just enough to give Utah ample opportunity to sneak in.
#22 San Diego State vs Air Force - Saturday 5:00 PM MT - CBS Sports Network
If Utah hopes to keep their strength of schedule afloat, the Aztecs will need to keep their undefeated season alive, and a trip to Colorado Springs to take on the 6-1 Falcons. As always, Air Force’s offense is a powerful run-first unit, but San Diego leads the nation in run defense, making for a potentially interesting matchup, where the ranked team winning favors the Utes. Air Force is a -3 point favorite with FPI agreeing, giving the Falcons a 55.2% advantage, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Air Force can effectively navigate SDSU’s stingy defense.