Where Utah football ranks in preseason polls — and why it matters

After his performance in 2021, which included his first Pac-12 championship, his first Rose Bowl appearance and a final 12th place in The Associated Press poll, Utah football is getting a lot of attention in the offseason, and rightly so.

The Utes ranked high in the early preseason polls. Deseret News columnist Doug Robinson explored what that means.

“It’s only May, but the preseason college football rankings are already in, and it’s good news and bad news for the University of Utah. The good news: The Utes are very far ahead in all surveys. The bad news: The Utes rank very high in all polls,” he wrote. “The highest the Utes have ever been in the AP preseason poll, which is out in August, is 14th. In 2004 they finished 20th in the preseason and 4th in the final rankings. In 2009 they finished 19th in the preseason, 18th in the finals. In 2019 they were 14th in the preseason, 16th in the finals. In 2020 they were 22nd in the pre-season, unranked in the finals. And in 2021 they were 24th in pre-season, 12th in finals.”

The AP preseason poll comes out in August.

Utah also rose in ESPN’s SP+ preseason predictions.

Meanwhile, national respect for coach Kyle Whittingham is growing. In April, the Utes boasted Devin Lloyd as the first-round draft pick.

numbers game

4: Utah’s preseason rankings according to The Athletic.

6: Utah’s preseason rankings according to USA Today.

12: Utah’s rating in ESPN’s updated version of SP+ Preseason Projections.

From the archives

extra points

  • Utah’s Kyle Whittingham jumps into the top 10 in this Power 5 trainer ranking (Deseret News)
  • USC Football Adds Top Wide Receiver in Country (Deseret News)
  • Utes gets lots of love in pre-season polls – but is that a good thing? (Deseret News)
  • Former Utah Utes 4-star QB Peter Costelli reveals his transfer target (Deseret News)
  • Utah golf team competed in NCAA championships for first time since 1988 (Deseret News)

fan analyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

“Most Sustainable” Predictive Measure? Maybe not. On the one hand, thanks for the attention and respect, and this poll seems a bit more down to earth than some other “much too early” polls. Many Utah fans could live at No. 12. And this poll suggests there’s potential to do even more. … I can live with this suggestion. But one could question the poll from one perspective. USC finishes 51st. OK, this is going to be a new look Trojan team, and last season was a downer with Troy, but hey, there have been significant changes, really significant! USC will realistically be America’s biggest conferencing hurdle. These changes might not fit the SP+ paradigm, but that makes it a little questionable. For the Ute Nation, the Trojans are not the immediate concern, Florida is!! Go Ute!!!!

— Statis

Let’s wait and see. Will Texas and ND be the “Preseason Top 10” again? Still, Utah is far from being overrated annually. They look legit considering how they traded punches with Ohio State. High expectations but I just don’t see the Utes dressing room full of itself… that’s just not the culture of the program.

— 96 E


3 Sept | open | football | vs Florida | @Gainesville, FL | open minded

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham watches a replay against Ohio State in the 108th Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham watches a replay of the game against Ohio State in the 108th Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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