Utah Football Named CFP Contender Heading Into 2022 Season

Jan 4, 2022, 7:06 PM

Cam Rising and Micah Bernard - Utah Utes vs. Ohio State - Rose Bowl Game...

Running back Micah Bernard #2 of the Utah Utes reacts with quarterback Cameron Rising #7 of the Utah Utes* after a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half of the 108th Rose Bowl game in Pasadena on Saturday, January 1, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

(Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Coming off of a heartbreaking loss in the Rose Bowl Game, the Utah football team is already getting a lot of preseason hype heading into the 2022 season.

Despite losing Devin Lloyd, Britain Covey, Nick Ford and others from the 2021 Pac-12 champion Utah Utes, the hype is big around the program going into 2022. Bleacher Report released their top 10 ranking of contenders for the College Football Playoff in 2022.

According to their piece, Utah is No. 5 on their top 10 list.

Here is what Bleacher Report said about the Utes:

“Maybe it’s time we all start giving Utah coach Kyle Whittingham his just due.

Every year, the Utes are right there in the mix for the Pac-12 title, yet it’s Oregon and USC that get most of the headlines, hype and preseason publicity. That’s not going to be the case in 2022.

Yes, linebacker Devin Lloyd is going to be a massive, irreplaceable loss. Not only does he provide do-it-all capabilities against the run and pass, but the linebacker is a leader who loves the university and will be a longtime ambassador.

But Whittingham has a lot of playmakers on defense, led by Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year Junior Tafuna and defensive backs Cole Bishop and Clark Phillips III. 

Offensively, first-team all-conference quarterback Cameron Rising returns along with explosive running back Tavion Thomas and the receiving yards leader in tight end Brant Kuithe. While the offensive line must replace guys like Bamidele Olaseni and Nick Ford, there is plenty of talent there, too.

With Lincoln Riley needing more time to build his program with the Trojans, Utah should be considered the conference favorite, even if Oregon may have more top-to-bottom talent and teams such as UCLA and Arizona State are returning quality players, too.

This team has the players in place to win out in the Pac-12, and if the Utes can guard against the early-season slumber they experienced this year, they always seem to get better as the season progresses. This is a CFP sleeper for sure.”

The No. 1 contender in the ranking is Alabama. Then the team that just beat Utah by three points, Ohio State comes in at No. 2. Georgia, Notre Dame and Utah respectively round out the top five.

Michigan came in at No. 6, with Clemson at No. 7. Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M rounded out the top 10.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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Utah Football Named CFP Contender Heading Into 2022 Season