Could Utah’s Season Include A Rose Bowl Appearance?

Oct 22, 2018, 9:01 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2018, 5:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Halfway through the season and both writers and fans have begun to speculate on bowl game invitations for December or January.

KSL’s Unrivaled host Scott Mitchell had his own bold idea of where the University of Utah would eventually play – the Rose Bowl.

The Utes have been the best team in the Pac-12, he said, predicting Utah as the winner of the Pac-12 South, and conference championship game on November 30.

Mitchell summed up his reason as to why in the team’s defense and depth.

“I’ve said that from the beginning of the year,” Mitchell says. “It travels. It can carry this team. It can go to places, like Arizona State, and it can help the team win.”

Mitchell not only credited the Utes’ defense, but its offense as well. He said USC has a talented defense, yet they had no answer for the Utes running game.

“They had eight or nine guys at the line of scrimmage,” Mitchell said.

The now-No. 23 Utes took down USC 41-28 at Rice Eccles Stadium on Saturday. The offense tacked on 541 total yards. Junior quarterback Tyler Huntley led the way, throwing for 341 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran for 33 yards and a score on the ground.

Mitchell said Huntley struggled at the beginning of the year, but believed he has put that passed him. In September, Huntley had a 107.3 passer rating. So far in October, he has a 197.6 passer rating.

Host Alex Kirry said the Utes were playing better, but fans need to pump the brakes on Rose Bowl aspirations. With conference foes UCLA, Arizona State, No. 19 Oregon and Colorado still on the Utes’ schedule, there’s still a lot of football that needs to be played.

If they got to the conference championship, they could potentially face one of four currently-ranked Top 25 teams form the Pac-12 North, in No. 14 Washington State, No. 15 Washington, No. 19 Oregon or No. 24 Stanford.

“We’re looking at all these different schedules that are going on for the rest of year for all these teams, including Utah,” Kirry said. “There is a lot to get through still.”

Utah hits the road to take on UCLA Friday at 8:30 p.m. MDT.

Even at 2-5, the Bruins threaten Utah’s position in the division. Kirry pointed out that despite UCLA’s struggles, if they win against the Utah and USC loses to ASU, they’ll be first place in the Pac-12 South.

“That’s how bad the South is,” Kirry said. “That’s how razor thin the margin is for Utah to be able to perform. You have to win out and that is a tall order.”​

The Rose Bowl will be played on January 1 at 3 p.m. MDT in Pasedena, California and traditionally features a Pac-12 and Big Ten matchup.

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Could Utah’s Season Include A Rose Bowl Appearance?