UTAH UTES

Where Utah Football Stands In Way-Too-Early 2022 Rankings

Jan 11, 2022, 10:58 AM

Clark Phillips III - Utah Utes vs. Ohio State - Rose Bowl Game...

Clark Phillips III #8 of the Utah Utes intercepts a pass intended for Julian Fleming #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the third quarter in the Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Now that the 2021 College Football season is officially over, the top national media outlets have posted their way-too-early top 25 rankings and Utah is getting a lot of love.

Despite losing Devin Lloyd, Britain Covey, Mika Tafua and other key pieces, Utah is getting a lot of love in the way-too-early top 25 rankings, hovering around the top 10.

I pulled nine way-too-early top 25 rankings that were posted over the last 12 hours.

KSL Sports

The KSL Sports team put together a top 25 list and have the Utes at No. 9. As far as other Pac-12 teams, we have Oregon at No. 16 and USC at No. 20.

The top five includes, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Texas A&M.

ESPN

The Worldwide Leader has high expectations for Utah heading into 2022 and showed that by ranking them No. 7. Oregon (No. 12) and USC (No. 22) were the only other Pac-12 teams that made the ranking.

Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Texas A&M and Michigan respectively were the top 5.

Here is what ESPN said about Utah:

“The Utes’ inspiring season ended with a disappointing 48-45 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Still, Kyle Whittingham and his team did amazing work following the tragic deaths of two players. The Utes should again be favored to win the Pac-12, even with star players such as Lloyd, Sewell and Covey departing for the NFL. Last week, the Utes added transfer Diabate, who was Florida’s second-leading tackler last season. QuarterbackĀ Cameron Rising will enter the offseason as the undisputed starter. The Utes open the 2022 season at Florida and also play San Diego State in a nonconference game.”

Mark Schlabach said that Utah is expected to have 13 starters return in 2022, seven on offense and six on defense. He listed Florida transfer linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, QB Nate Johnson, ATH Justius Lowe, LB Lander Barton, S Elijah Davis, LB Justin Medlock, WR Landon Morris and TE Logan Kendall as key additions.

247Sports

The 247Sports team voted on their top 25 ranking. They have Utah at No. 8 with 72 total points. Only Oregon (No. 13) and USC (No. 23) were the other Pac-12 representatives in the ranking.

Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Texas A&M and Notre Dame made up their top five.

Here is what 247Sports said about the Utes:

“The next three teams in our way-too-early rankings were separated by three total points outside of the top five, so margins are razor-thin here. However, Utah was a unanimous No. 8 across all of our ballots, so that’s where the Utes stay. The reigning Pac-12 champs could be one of next season’s preseason darlings after winning 10 games under Kyle Whittingham. Much of that nucleus is back in 2022, including quarterback Cam Rising. Running back Tavion Thomas is back too, after rushing for 1,108 yards and 21 scores. Keep an eye on this team early.”

Sports Illustrated

Pat Forde is a big fan of what Utah brings into the 2022 season. He has them ranked No. 5 in his way-too-early top 25. USC (No. 13) and Oregon (No. 20) were also included in the ranking.

Ahead of Utah is Alabama (No. 1), Ohio State (No. 2), Georgia (No. 3) and Clemson (No. 4).

Here is what Forde said about Utah:

“The Utes lose a few key contributors off their Rose Bowl team, but more are coming back. Running back Tavion Thomas is returning after a 21-touchdown season, and so is quarterback Cameron Rising. The defense should again be nasty. They open with a winnable game at Florida that could be a springboard into a big season.”

Sporting News

Bill Bender put together his top 25 list and put the Utes at No. 10. Shockingly enough, Oregon is ranked ahead of Utah at No. 9. USC came in at No. 21.

Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame make up the top five.

Here is what Bender said about Utah:

“The Utes will fly under the radar again, but the defending Pac-12 champions will be in the mix with longtime coach Kyle Whittingham. Quarterback Cam Rising settled in as a reliable starter, and Tavion Thomas is back at running back. The defense loses linebacker Devin Lloyd, but Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate could be an instant impact player at the position. Speaking of Florida, that is where the Utes will open the season in a high-profile non-conference game for the Pac-12.”

Pro Football Network

The Pro Football Network is projecting the Utes very high in their ranking. They have Utah at No. 4, only Ohio State (No. 3), Alabama (No. 2) and Georgia (No. 1) are ahead of them.

Oregon (No. 12) was the only other Pac-12 team in their top 25.

Here is what PFN said about the Utes:

“The beauty of Way Too Early College Football Top 25 Rankings is that you can give some teams love that donā€™t usually get it. Not many teams were hotter than the Utes down the stretch, and they nearly beat Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Underdogs no more,Ā PFN Coach of the Year Kyle Whittinghamā€˜s team now must learn to play like the favorite.

“Cameron Rising found momentum in the second half of the season, and heā€™s joined by Tavion Thomas in the backfield. Linebackers Nephi Sewell and Devin Lloyd leave big holes on defense, but this group still boasts plenty of talent. If you donā€™t know Clark Phillipsā€™ name by now, get to know it quickly. Heā€™s one of college footballā€™s rising stars.”

Action Network

Brett McMurphy put Utah at No. 10 in his way-too-early ranking. The other Pac-12 team listed is Oregon at No. 16. Arizona State, Florida, San Diego State, USC and UCLA were put in his “next 25.”

Rather than putting a snippet on the team, McMurphy highlighted the schedule, recruiting class and the head coach. He put the games against Florida (Sept. 3), San Diego State (Sept. 17), Arizona State (Sept. 24), USC (Oct. 15) and Oregon (Nov. 19) on the schedule highlight.

Utah ranked No. 34 nationally and third in the Pac-12 for their 2022 recruiting class.

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report likes what they see with the Utes in 2022 after putting them at No. 5 in their ranking. Utah is behind only Alabama (No. 1), Ohio State (No. 2), Georgia (No. 3) and Notre Dame (No. 4).

Oregon is the only other Pac-12 team listed at No. 13.

Here is what Bleacher Report said about Utah:

“Utah has reached the Pac-12 Championship Game in three of the last four seasons, only missing in the pandemic-altered 2020 campaign. Pending some NFL or transfer decisions, the reigning Pac-12 champions are built to contend nationally.”

The Athletic

Stewart Mandel put Utah at No. 4 in his ranking. Oregon came in at No. 16 and those were the only two Pac-12 teams included.

Alabama came in at No. 1, ahead of Ohio State and Georgia respectively. Notre Dame is behind Utah, rounding out the top five.

Here is what Mandel said about the Utes:

“The Utes should be runaway favoritesĀ to repeat as Pac-12 champions. QuarterbackĀ Cam Rising, running backsĀ Tavion ThomasĀ andĀ Micah Bernard, tight endsĀ Brant KuitheĀ andĀ Dalton KincaidĀ and most of the O-line return. The defense loses All-American LBĀ Devin LloydĀ and DEĀ Mika Tafua, but CBĀ Clark Phillips IIIĀ is a cornerstone, and SĀ Cole Bishop, DEĀ Van FillingerĀ and DTĀ Junior TafunaĀ all became major contributors. No moreĀ Britain Covey, though.”

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

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Where Utah Football Stands In Way-Too-Early 2022 Rankings