Utah’s Playoff Hopes Shouldn’t Be Penalized After Oregon Loss

Nov 24, 2019, 3:16 PM | Updated: Nov 25, 2019, 9:20 am
Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) waves to fans after running for a touchdown during the game ag...
Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) waves to fans after running for a touchdown during the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After winning their seventh straight game with a 35-7 victory over Arizona and No. 6 Oregon losing to Arizona State, Utah is the Pac-12’s only hope of reaching the College Football Playoff.

Entering the Saturday games with the Ducks ranked No. 6 and the Utes at No. 7, many believed that in order for the Pac-12 to have a representative in the Playoff, both Utah and Oregon would need to win the rest of their regular seasons games and clash in the conference championship game with one loss each.

With Oregon’s 31-28 loss at Arizona State, that ruined the chances of both teams squaring off in Santa Clara with one loss. After the upset in Tempe, many consider the Pac-12 to be out of the Playoff race, but some national college football analysts believe Utah shouldn’t be penalized for Oregon’s loss despite a 28-point victory in Tuscon.

Some notable college football analysts around the country made cases for the Utes to get into the Playoff.

FOX Sports lead college football analyst Joel Klatt releases his top 10 rankings every Saturday night after the games. When Utah beat Arizona, he put them at No. 4. During the game, he tweeted at the College Football Playoff Committee to make sure they were awake and watching the Utes.

FOX Sport play-by-play broadcaster Tim Brando has called two Utah games this season, while calling other games around the country.

Pac-12 Network analyst Yogi Roth makes a case for the Utes to be considered for the Playoff based off of their elite defense and the play of both running back Zack Moss and quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Former ESPN and current SiriusXM host Danny Kanell does the same thing as Klatt, but with eight teams and has Utah in the same spot.

Former  Clemson star quarterback Tajh Boyd made a case for Utah being in the Playoff and that they are a better team than Georgia.

Those are just some examples of people who cover college football in the conference or around the country that believe that Utah shouldn’t be punished for the Oregon loss.

The remaining schedule for the teams ahead of Utah includes the following:

  • #1 LSU – vs. Texas A&M and facing Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
  • #2 Ohio State – at #13 Michigan and playing either Minnesota or Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.
  • #3 Clemson – at South Carolina and facing either Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game.
  • #4 Georgia – at Georgia Tech and playing LSU in the SEC Championship game.
  • #5 Alabama – at #15 Auburn

The other teams that have been mentioned as candidates that could pass Utah and reach the Playoff if certain scenarios happen include the following:

  • #9 Oklahoma – at #21 Oklahoma State and #14 Baylor in the Big 12 Championship game.
  • #10 Minnesota – vs. #12 Wisconsin and possibly playing Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game.

The main argument against the Utes is their lack of signature wins and Oregon losing on Saturday took away that possibility of Utah getting a win over a top six team. Utah’s loss to USC has come back to haunt the Utes despite losing by one touchdown on the road without star running back Zack Moss for the second half of the game.

The only logical scenario for Utah to have the best chance at reaching the Playoff is LSU beating Georgia in the SEC title game, Ohio State winning their last two games and Auburn beating Alabama. The Utes will also need to beat Colorado on Saturday and Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship. This isn’t an impossible scenario and could happen. But, according to others around the college football landscape, that if all of this does happen, Utah has an outside chance of getting in because of the lack of a signature win.

Utah will face the Buffaloes on Saturday in their regular season finale at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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