Another mediocre season in the Pac-12 conference awaits the Utah Utes in 2014.
In their three seasons as a member of the Pac-12, the Utes have compiled an 18-19 record, barely under .500. The team will finish under .500 this season too, but with any luck, it will upset a couple of powers in the conference before the end.
8/28 vs. Idaho State: WIN
There isn’t much to say about this matchup other than that it should be an easy debut game for the Utes. Everyone can get their preseason jitters out at home against a team that hasn’t matched up well against the Pac-12 in the last few seasons.
9/6 vs. Fresno State: WIN
After an outstanding 2013 season in which the Bulldogs went 11-2, a couple of their star players went on to the NFL. Most notably, quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams are gone, which takes away a hefty amount of scoring from the Fresno State offense. Carr threw for 50 touchdowns and Adams made 24 touchdown receptions in 2013. With those two missing, the Utes should be able to amass enough scoring with veteran quarterback Travis Wilson and running back Bubba Poole to overcome the Bulldogs at home.
9/20 at Michigan: LOSS
Even though the Wolverines don’t have leading rusher Fitzgerald Toussaint, they do have a mobile quarterback in redshirt senior Devin Gardner and a dominant tight end in junior Devin Funchess. The Utes won’t be able to pull off a win against this storied program at Michigan.
9/27 vs. Washington State: LOSS
Utah was poor against the pass last season and hardly anybody passes the ball more than Washington State and the Air Raid offense of Mike Leach. The Cougars will come into Utah and fill the skies with enough passes to overthrow the Utes.
10/4 at UCLA: LOSS
Quarterback Brett Hundley dominated the Utes through the air and on the ground last season, and he is supported by the team’s three leading rushers from last season as well. Furthermore, UCLA nabbed six interceptions in last season’s matchup. The Bruins simply have too much firepower for the Utes to handle.
10/16 at Oregon State: LOSS
These two teams battled in a close game that went into overtime last season, but that was in Utah. This time, the game takes place in Corvallis, and quarterback Sean Mannion is looking to follow up his five-touchdown performance from 2013 against the Utes. Plus, junior quarterback Travis Wilson has shown he can be careless with the football, and that could give the Beavers too many opportunities to answer with a score.
10/25 vs. USC: LOSS
USC simply looks too balanced on offense and defense, even with the loss of linebacker Devon Kennard and defensive tackle George Uko. Quarterback Cody Kessler and three capable tailbacks lead an offensive attack that will be too much for the Utes to handle, and defensive lineman Leonard Williams will likely lead the defense.
11/1 at Arizona State: WIN
With less turnovers, Wilson and the Utes can hang on to beat the Sun Devils this season, especially because Arizona State lacks running back Marion Grice now. ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly didn’t have his best game against the Utah defense last season, and so he might not be a factor in this one either.
11/8 vs. Oregon: LOSS
A high-powered Oregon offense combined with a defense that finished fourth in the conference in interceptions in 2013 will cause trouble for the Utes in all phases of the game.
11/15 at Stanford: WIN
Another possible upset in the schedule comes here against the Cardinal. Utah won the matchup last season behind Wilson, and the Utes’ defense was burned then only by running back Tyler Gaffney, who is now in the NFL. The Cardinal do still have a veteran quarterback and wide receiver combo in Kevin Hogan and Ty Montgomery, but one less threat on their roster makes them even more beatable this season.
11/22 vs. Arizona: WIN
Utah scored 20 points or more in 10 of its 12 games in 2013, and without B.J. Denker and Ka’Deem Carey, the Wildcats don’t look like a team that can put that many points on the scoreboard.
11/29 at Colorado: LOSS
In what should be an evenly fought season finale for the Utes, the Buffaloes will barely come out on top. The most important thing that kept Colorado from coming back against Utah last season was a late interception by quarterback Sefo Liufau. Now, Liufau is more mature, and with a couple of forced turnovers by his own team, the Buffaloes can be victorious.
2014 Utah Projected Record: 5-7 (3-6)