Despite Being Top-10, Utah Isn’t Getting Respect They Deserve
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – This year’s Utah football team is on track to be the best team to ever represent the school, but, according to KSL Unrivaled, they still aren’t getting the national attention they deserve.
The 2019 Utes are on track to be even better than the undefeated 2004 and 2008 teams who chalked up Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl appearances.
The only problem is that the Utes could go 11-1 and get shutout of playing in the Pac-12 title game and miss out on the Rose Bowl because of an off night at the Los Angeles Coliseum when USC upset the Utes, 30-23.
With that defeat, the Trojans own the tiebreaker if each team finishes with one league loss.
The USC loss isn’t the only problem for Utah. This might be hard for Ute fans to hear but the team is not a national brand and will be overlooked in favor of more established programs, according to KSL Unrivaled.
Even if USC suffers a second loss and the Utes finish the year 12-1, including a win over a possible top-five Oregon team in the Pac-12 title game, the College Football Playoff committee may not even notice the Utes.
— KSL Unrivaled (@KSLunrivaled) October 29, 2019
Utah Must Overachieve To Earn Respect
The Utes football program has been one of the most dominant teams in college football since that USC loss. They have shut down opposing teams while winning by an average score of 36.5 to 5.75.
Utah has outscored WAZZU, Oregon State, ASU and Cal by a combined score of 146-23 since the loss to USC. I think they’ve made their point. #Utes
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) October 27, 2019
Even with dominant performances, the national media is letting Utah fly under their radar, according to Unrivaled.
”This is just part of the storyline that you have when you are playing a sport in the state of Utah you have to be 30 percent better than the bigger markets, you have to be better than everybody. Yahoo has a story about a list of pretenders vs. contenders for the College Football Playoff,” host of Unrivaled AlexKirry said.
”They have Oregon as a contender from the Pac-12, in fact, as the only contender in the Pac-12 despite the fact they even mention, ‘yeah they had a last-second field goal to beat Washington State, but man that shows how tough they are at the end of games and able to win those games even when not playing at 100 percent.’ They list Utah right after Oregon.”
The Ducks get respect because of their affiliation with Nike and the constant uniform designs they roll out every week, the duo pointed out.
To be fair, Oregon has been ranked in the top 10 of the final Associated Press poll five times this decade with a pair of national title appearances.
However, it took the Ducks years and years of being ranked in the teens to finally get some respect. Perhaps that will be the route the Utes have to take.
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What the Utes really need is for Oregon to beat USC this weekend so they can gain control of the Pac-12 South giving the Utes a chance to meet with the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game. Next, they must win that game and respect will be handed out in spades to the Utes.
”The whole argument is how bad the USC loss is vs. the Auburn loss. Let Oregon win the rest of its games and let Utah be right behind Oregon the whole season long. Then when you get to the Pac-12 championship game and it is No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 6 Utah,” Kirry said. ”Beat Oregon and your best win is against a one-loss Ducks team and that is all Utah should want.”
”A higher ranked Oregon team is what Utah needs, so go into that game and be the underdog. Win it and then go, ‘thanks we are 12-1, we are the Pac-12 champions, we beat Oregon, and we have one loss all season to USC and it was 11 weeks ago.’ That disrespect goes away by beating Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.”
Being an underdog is something head coach Kyle Whittingham and his teams thrive on. Yes, the Utes need help to win the South but odds are that the Trojans will drop a game before the season ends.
Once that second USC loss comes Utah will be in a position to add its best opponent of the year against Oregon. As KSL Unrivaled said, ”that disrespect goes away by beating Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.”
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