Where Is Utah’s Respect When It Comes To The College Football Playoff?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah has wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a clean sweep by going 3-0 and are now ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll and 11th in the coaches poll.
Conference play begins Friday night with a big one as the Utes head to the Coliseum to face USC.
Being ranked in the top 10 is great for exposure but Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham is taking this lofty perch in the rankings with some perspective.
“I care about us, so it is nice to see that we are getting national recognition, but we just have to go through our schedule and play them all,” Whittingham said at his weekly press conference.
“I don’t pay much attention to the rankings until you get about mid-year because you don’t have great perspective,” he added. “That is probably why the College Football Playoff committee doesn’t start until mid-year because it takes some time to get things sorted out. At this point in the season though, to have six teams ranked, that is a positive for the conference.”
That is the right way to look at things since, in reality, the AP and coaches poll mean absolutely nothing for teams that are contending for a playoff berth, as that job falls to the playoff committee.
ESPN’s playoff predictor is one place that is projecting which teams have the best chance of making the semifinal field, and they are not kind to the Utes.
There are 10 teams listed and it includes just one Pac-12 team in Oregon and also Central Florida which is from the American Athletic Conference and will need to not just win out but get help as well to crack the top four.
KSL’s UnRivaled dives into what these computers are saying in regards to the Utes and if they matter now or at all.
The initial College Football Playoff committee poll comes out on Nov. 5.
Winning solves a lot when it comes to making the College Football Playoff and Utah should clearly focus on that but there also should not be too many concerns about not being ranked in a particular computer formula.
Within these 10 teams listed, there are multiple matchups against those listed. For starters, there are three SEC teams in Alabama, LSU, and Georgia, with the Crimson Tide and Tigers playing each other, plus the Bulldogs play Notre Dame this week. So, there will be some attrition which will allow for an undefeated Utah team to move up.
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When it comes to computer rankings predicting the season, KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell is not a fan of those and would rather just have the season play itself out, and part of that has to due to the Utes not being among the top 10.
“Why can’t we just go, ‘let’s play all of these teams … to sort this out’. [These computers] are so stupid,” Mitchell said.
KSL Sports’ Alex Kirry then goes through the list team by team while Mitchell is dismissive of basically every team on the list.
“It doesn’t make sense. Call me a homer, whatever, I don’t care,” Mitchell said. “How can you not put Utah [on this list]? What this list says is that Oregon and Utah will have losses and play each other than lose to Oregon and then [the Utes] going to the Fosters Farm Bowl or something.”
Mitchell continues his rant by not only not liking the playoff predictor but then rails on ESPN’s Football Power Index for having Utah outside of the top 20.
“ESPN and your robots. They have their power rankings out, Utah is 22 in their power rankings, 22 in their power rankings! Who are you kidding?” Mitchell asked. “Why do I feel like am I the only person in the room who this matters to?”
Utah Should Want BYU To Keep Winning
BYU’s win over USC this past weekend is a double-edged sword for the Utes because the Cougars win helps the Utes strength of schedule but it dings the Trojans a bit, however, USC can make up its schedule strength during Pac-12 play.
Mitchell makes the point that Ute fans should not be cheering for the Cougars to go down in flames but rather they should want BYU to win as many games as possible to help the Utes playoff chances. Having a Cougars team that is ranked in the top 25 and finishes with a solid record will boost Utah’s strength of schedule.
“Rising tides lift all ships. So, when all of these teams are playing well and playing good opponents it only bodes well for everyone,” Mitchell said. “If you are Utah and get to the end of the season and are trying to get into the College Football Playoff and looking at your non-conference impressive wins. Utah beats a BYU team that goes on and has a great year it goes in their favor.”
Kirry agrees completely that the better that BYU does on the field will translate into helping the Utes in the rankings, and Utah fans regardless of how hard it might be should start cheering for the Cougars.
“Utah fans you should be praying that BYU does well the rest of the year because that improves Utah’s playoff percentage,” Kirry said.
Pac-12 schools, outside of USC, do not really get the respect they might deserve so having BYU win as many games as possible and maybe even ending the season as a ranked team will give a boost to the Utes resume if they are going to make a push for the College Football Playoff.