Two Utah Football 2022 Games Mentioned As Intriguing Matchups By ESPN

Apr 12, 2022, 2:18 PM
Tavion Thomas - Utah Utes...
Tavion Thomas #9 of the Utah Utes celebrates as he scores on a second half touchdown run during a college football game October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – ESPN.com college football writers and analysts held a digital roundtable and was asked about games to watch in 2022 and Utah was mentioned.

Three questions were asked to the ESPN.com college football writers and three individuals mentioned the Utah football program heading into the 2022 season.

Right off the bat in the story, ESPN.com brought up Utah’s season opening matchup in “The Swamp” against the Florida Gators on Saturday, September 3. They said it could be a “big statement game for the Pac-12.”

Utah Football 2022 Games Mentioned By ESPN.com

When the writers were asked what games they were most looking forward to next season, Chris Low brought up the Utes and Gators in Gainesville.

“Any time the SEC and Pac-12 square off — on somebody’s campus — sign me up,” Low wrote. “There’s just something about one school and its fans trekking all the way across the country to play another school with a different culture and different group of fans. There are tons of storylines to the Florida-Utah season opener in Gainesville on Sept. 3. For one, it’s Billy Napier’s debut as Florida’s head coach and Gator Nation is hungry to see him get off to a rousing start. The schedule is a daunting one for Napier in his first season.

“For a Utah team ranked in the top 10 of some early season polls, it’s a chance to beat an SEC foe on the road, which would bolster the Utes’ College Football Playoff résumé if they can repeat as Pac-12 champions,” Low continued. “Moreover, former Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, second on the team in tackles a year ago, transferred to Utah and will be going up against his old teammates.”

When asked which player-opponent matchup is the most captivating early on, Andrea Adelson brought up Utah/Florida.

“Utah travels to play Florida on Sept. 3 in one of the more under-the-radar non-conference matchups, perhaps because the Gators played so poorly to close out last season,” Adelson wrote. “This will be the first time the Gators play a Pac-12 team since 1989 — Emmitt Smith’s last year on the Gator roster! Because Florida has been so averse to scheduling home-and-home games against Power 5 opponents not named Florida State in its past, games like this one in Gainesville provide a rare treat. It is not exactly a cupcake opener for new coach Billy Napier against the defending Pac-12 champs…Utah has plenty of holes to fill on that side of the ball (defense), starting with linebacker Devin Lloyd. But there will be at least one familiar face trying to stop Richardson — linebacker Mohamoud Diabate transferred from Florida to Utah in the offseason and adds a veteran presence to the Utes’ group.”

Adam Rittenberg brought up conference games that are must-see this season.

“There are the standard in-conference must-sees — Michigan-Ohio State, Alabama-Texas A&M, Baylor-Oklahoma State and USC-Utah, to name some — but I tend to think about nonleague games when looking ahead to the next season,” Rittenberg wrote. “Miami-Texas A&M might not get as much buzz as other early contests, but it’s fascinating to see two programs with similar trajectories matching up.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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Two Utah Football 2022 Games Mentioned As Intriguing Matchups By ESPN