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Ute Fans With CFB Playoff Hopes: Here Are The Teams To Watch For

Zack Moss #2 of the Utah Utes runs for two yards to score the game winning touchdown against the Washington Huskies in the fourth quarter during their game at Husky Stadium on November 02, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It was a mild surprise to see Utah move up one spot to No. 7 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The Utes held off Minnesota who defeated then-No. 4 Penn State to rise nine spots to become No. 8.

That could be a problem for Utah as they have arguably one of the weakest resumes for a one-loss team in the playoff hunt.

KSL Unrivaled looked at the playoff landscape and realized Utah needs to not only win out to finish as a 12-1 Pac-12 Champion – but they also need help to get an invite to the College Football Playoff.

The Utes have zero wins against a top 25 team and odds are high that Utah will end the regular season without a win against a ranked opponent. In the coming weeks, Minnesota, Baylor, Penn State and Oklahoma all play at least one ranked team and could pass Utah.

The Ute’s remaining schedule is against UCLA, Arizona and Colorado – all of whom have just four wins apiece at the moment and might not even make a bowl game.

Who Should Fans Cheer For?

The Utes want teams like Minnesota, Baylor, Penn State and Oklahoma to lose. Those four are a threat to Utah making a playoff. It wouldn’t hurt for Alabama to drop another game.

KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell explained the teams Utah should be cheering on for the Utes to make it to the College Football Playoff.

“Utah fans should root for LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oregon, that is it,” Mitchell said. “Alabama’s schedule is not that good and at the end of the day it will better for Utah as they will have beaten a top-five team in the country.”

Ute fans also want to see opponents on their own schedule get better and get in the top 25 before the final playoff rankings are released.

“Every team they played it helps if they do well,” Mitchell added. “If Washington pulls out a pretty decent year people will say, ‘this was not the best Washington team but it was a good Washington team’, there is all of that [to consider too].”

How Much Will Utah’s Resume Hurt?

On the other side, there are teams that either get the benefit of the doubt due to history, see Alabama or have a better schedule like Penn State or Minnesota who will have faced multiple ranked teams. Utah’s schedule is not the greatest and gives them little room for error because a loss knocks the Utes out of the playoff picture altogether.

KSL Sports’ Alex Kirry said the Crimson Tide are enemy No. 1 for the Utes since Alabama likely won’t even be in its own conference title game.

“If you are a Utah fan and hoping to sneak there [to the College Football Playoff], you should really be nervous that Alabama is two in front of you,” Kirry said. “Here is why. Alabama will not be playing in the SEC championship team and they will be an 11-1 team at five. They will be waiting for the cannibalization that is going to happen between LSU and Georgia. ‘Bama is going to get in and goodbye to your shot for Utah to get in.”

While the margin of victory isn’t really taken into consideration, it is an area that can help the Utes if they can win with ease.

“Utah needs to win with style points,” Mitchell said. “They have to win convincingly and everyone will say ‘they are legit.’ That is the conversation that people will have: ‘Did you see Utah convincingly handle UCLA, did you see Utah against Arizona, they manhandled them.’ That is the conversation Utah wants to see on their team.”

For Ute fans who are either pessimistic or optimistic about a playoff berth, just remember there is a lot of football left to be played with three more weeks of the regular season plus the conference championship games.

Keep an eye out for the teams within a few spots on either side of the Utes at the moment.

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