Worst Case Scenario For Utah Includes Four Losses
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Utah football fans have high expectations for their team this season, as they should. KSL’s UnRivaled decided to paint a picture of what the worst-case scenario for the Utes could look like.
The Utes are ranked in the AP top 25 for just the third time ever, darkhorse playoff contenders, projected to win the Pac-12, have preseason All-Americans and led the Pac-12 in preseason all-conference players.
The hype is real for Utah. They are projected to win 10 or 11 games this season.
Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry, hosts of KSL’s UnRivaled, decided to look at the Utes season with a glass half empty mentality. The worst they came up with is an 8-4 record.
A Slow Start Could Snowball
One trend Utah football has experienced in the past is slow starts – to games and seasons. Look back to last year’s game against BYU when the Cougars raced to a 20-0 lead at the half.
The Utes started off losing their first two league games last year against Washington and Washington State.
Starting slowly against rival BYU in week one could lead to bigger issues as the season progresses.
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Utah has successfully used an underdog mentality to hype up players, and usually, that route has worked.
Being the favorite is different. Mitchell, former Utah quarterback, half-jokingly said it could be beneficial for the Utes to start 0-1. The loss could provide motivation for the rest of the season.
“Remember, the best thing for Utah is to lose to BYU in the first game so that Kyle Whittingham now has his back against the wall with us against them mentality,” Mitchell said.
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Mitchell went full-on worst-case scenario to look for reasons why the Utes could have a subpar season. That scenario could include five losses to BYU, USC, Washington, and Arizona.
“I can see a scenario where Utah could lose five games this year, and it may not even take a bowl game to do that,” Mitchell said. “The worst possible place to start conference play, a place they have never won is at USC… so now they are 2-2.”
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One possible problem area Mitchell pointed out is on the offensive side of the ball. Andy Ludwig, the new offensive coordinator, needs to have the offense and the line in prime condition for the team’s very first snap. With that target on their back, Utah’s offense will need to put up points and limit turnovers.
Going through the schedule, Mitchell sees the Utes beating Washington State, California and Arizona State. However, he pointed out they are all three good teams and could hit Utah with a loss.
“Washington State and Mike Leach always seem to be a thorn in Kyle Whittingham’s side but I think they will win,” Mitchell said. “The next possible losses are either Arizona State or Cal – Both of those teams are going to better. Utah is not sneaking up on anyone and is getting everyone’s best shot but I think they win those games.”
A November Swoon, Again?
Since joining the Pac-12 Utah has struggled once the calendar hits November. They are 16-16 in November since 2011.
Their upcoming November schedule includes the toughest game for the Utes – Washington. They also host an improved UCLA team, go to Arizona, and then they end the season at home against Colorado.
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“If we are doing Negative Nancy UCLA is going to be better. They are starting all of these young kids and by the time they play in November, it will be like they have two years of experience,” Mitchell added. “You saw them get better at the end of the year… UCLA will be a tough out.”
“Then they have to go to Arizona and Utah is terrible in November and terrible in November against Arizona schools. There is your November game that is at Arizona and that is the fourth loss,” concluded Mitchell.
If Utah does end up going 8-4 it would be considered a complete disaster, according to the duo.
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