Utah Football Bold Predictions For 2023 Season

Aug 17, 2023, 7:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – We are so close to Utah football kicking off the 2023 season, we can smell the smoke coming from the tailgate barbeques already. The Utes have a big opportunity to make some noise in college football again which means an opportunity for some bold predictions too.

At the 100 Day-mark, we laid out three expectations for Utah football in 2023 that have also made our bold predictions list. Naturally, we’ve sprinkled in a few other predictions because it is more fun that way.

After you’ve checked out our list of bold prediction for the Utes, be sure to comment below and give your bold predictions. What do you think is in store for Utah football in 2023?


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Utah Football Team Bold Predictions

Utah has several goals they can accomplish as a team in 2023. Listed below are a few we think the Utes will check off this season.

Utah 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 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. The coaches were also hard at work upgrading a few deficiencies in the kicking game and receiver room in the transfer portal and seem to have given the Utes a much-needed boost in those areas.

Does 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.

The Utes Ink Their 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.

Utah Football Will Win Their Bowl Game In 2023

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 began to revolve around having a winning season and playing for a conference title every year which has come at the cost of winning the bowl games as of late.

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.

Utah Football Individual Bold Predictions

While there is no “I in team”, Utah does boast a few players who could do some major damage statistically in 2023.

Ja’Quinden Jackson Will Have A 1000-Yard Season

Utah’s running back room is going to be very good in 2023 and Ja’Quinden Jackson appears to be the center of it all.

Jackson burst onto the scene last season after converting from quarterback to running back and never really looked back. This year, Jackson has spent his entire off-season as a running back and has picked up on the little nuances according to coaches that could make him great.

Want this prediction to get a little spicier? There will be a second running back that isn’t too far behind Jackson in yards collected this season.


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Utah Will Have Their First 1000-Yard Receiver Since Dres Anderson

It has been a while since the Utes had a receiver go for 1000-yards in a season, but 2023 feels like a good year to end that dry spell.

The Utes have three guys who have the potential to be “that guy” this year in Devaughn Vele, Money Parks, and Mycah Pittman. One of them will do it.

Van Fillinger Takes His Rightful Spot As “Mayor Of Sack Lake City”

Utah hasn’t had an absolute beat off the edge in a minute, but we think Fillinger has what it takes to bring “Sack Lake City” back to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Bookmark it, Fillinger will have a double-digit sack count behind his name when all is said and done.

Cam Rising Will Go Over 3000 Yards Passing Again

Rising is one of six returning quarterbacks to the Pac-12 who threw for over 3000 yards in 2022 and we thoroughly expect him to do it again.

Interestingly enough, if Rising were to hit just 2282 yards for 2023, it would place him second all-time in total career passing yards behind Scott Mitchell. If Rising has a monster passing season and at least goes for 3410 yards, he could take the top spot overall in Utah football history.


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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 TwitterInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Football Bold Predictions For 2023 Season