UTAH UTES

100 Days Until Utah Football: Three Expectations For Utes’ 2023 Season

May 23, 2023, 8:11 AM | Updated: 9:24 am

SALT LAKE CITY – We are officially 100 days away from Utah football’s big season opener with the Florida Gators making it a great time to examine three expectations for the 2023 season.

Once again, the Utes should be in the mix for the Pac-12 Title in a conference that looks to have three other serious contenders (USC, Oregon, and Washington) and one dark horse (Oregon State) that will make things difficult, but not impossible.

Ironically, while expectations continue to be high for Utah football, they may have taken a bit of a step back as compared to last season’s preseason hoopla. Even with the more “under the radar” feel of the 2023 squad, it would be foolish of anyone to not expect much from the reigning Pac-12 Champions.

 

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Expectation #1: The Utes Will Win Nine Or More Games

It’s been a while (2017, obviously putting 2020 aside) since the Utes didn’t record nine or more wins in a season. Eventually that streak will come to an end, but it probably isn’t going to happen in 2023.

Utah is returning a defense that has been very good the past two seasons, but very young up until now. Couple that returning talent with what the mature experience the Utes have boasted for a while on offense and it’s hard to see them not winning a lot of games. Add in the coaches finding upgraded kicking talent while currently working to bring in more potent receivers for quarterback Cam Rising and there is reason for optimism once more.

Will that talent get Utah a third straight Pac-12 Title? That feels a little hard to say definitively at the moment looking at the other talented teams on paper for the league, but the Utes should absolutely be in the mix for it, no questions.

 

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Expectation #2: Utah Football Will Have Its 20th Straight Season With A Pick Six

Did you know the Utes have the most consecutive seasons with a pick six of any team in the country at 19? Utah football will make it 20 straight in 2023.

While Devin Lloyd and Clark Phillips III are no longer on the team, the Utes have always preached RSNB defense (relentless, smart, nasty, ball-hawks) and someone always steps up to the plate. You don’t get a record dating back to 2004 without some serious buy in to the philosophy and this year should be no different.

Whether it is Zemaiah Vaughn, Sione Vaki, Nate Ritchie, Karene Reid, Lander Barton, or someone else unmentioned, the Utah defense will take one to the house in 2023.

Expectation #3: The Utah Utes Will Win A Bowl Game

It’s also been since 2017 that the Utes have won a bowl game. As head coach Kyle Whittingham always says, “Respect the Process”.

When Utah entered the Pac-12 as a former Mountain West Conference team, the goal was to have a winning record and win bowl games. Once Utah was comfortable with that concept at the Pac-12 level, the stakes begun to revolve around having a winning season and playing for a conference title every year which came at the cost of winning the bowl games as of late.

 

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Now that Utah has a grip on having winning seasons in a P5 conference, and winning conference titles, it’s time to get back to winning some of their bigger bowl games. 2023 seems like a really good year to check that box once more.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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100 Days Until Utah Football: Three Expectations For Utes’ 2023 Season