Three Things Utah Football Must Do To Ensure Spot In Expanded College Football Playoff

Jan 9, 2024, 2:52 PM | Updated: 2:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The CFP (College Football Playoff) expands to 12 in 2024, opening the door for teams like Utah football to make a run at it. Here are three things the Utes must do in order to make the field.

By now we all know how tough 2023 was for Utah out on the gridiron as injuries reached an insurmountable level for the Utes. While it wasn’t fun in the moment, there were some positives that came out of the hardship for Utah that could benefit them heading into 2024.

Top talent that likely wouldn’t have returned after this past season will be available to Utah in 2024 and a lot of young, up and coming talent got valuable reps they maybe wouldn’t have in 2023. Utah will also need to replace some key attrition to the NCAA Transfer Portal and NFL departures.


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Still, at least very early in the process, Utah football looks to be a team that could realistically make the Playoffs in 2024 if they play their cards right.

Utah Needs To Plug The “Holes”, Lean Into “Next Man Up”

Utah football is returning a lot of key talent in 2024.

Quarterback Cam Rising is all in after missing all of 2023.

Presumably, while no official announcements have been made, the Utes are also returning tight end Brant Kuithe, wide receiver Mycah Pittman, and running back Micah Bernard who are all difference makers as well.

Cornerback Zemaiah Vaughn is back after getting a lot of love from NFL Scouts.

Utah’s defensive tackles are back. Most of their defensive ends and offensive linemen are back. The linebackers will be back.

However, there are some key players that will need to be replaced either via the Transfer Portal or “Next Man Up”.

Utah will need to find a new wide receiver after Devaughn Vele declared for the NFL Draft. They will also likely want more overall production from the entire group as well.

They have some intriguing guys already in the room in Money Parks, Munir McClain and the aforementioned Pittman, but will likely look to supplement that through the Transfer Portal.

The Utes do not have a bare cupboard in the running back room but will need to decide who their new running back one will be after Ja’Quinden Jackson hit the Transfer Portal.

Utah will also need to figure out two offensive line spots, a defensive end spot, and three defensive back spots using guys already in the program or finding them in the NCAA Transfer Portal.

If the Utes are successful in supplementing the knowns through the Portal and getting guys already in the program buying into “Next Man Up”, they will have a great chance at a Playoff spot in 2024.

Market, Market, Market

This one is a little outside the box but hear me out on it.

One thing that every National Champion and Playoff team has had in common is strong marketing and branding.

We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in this from the Utes the past few seasons, but it’s time to see it taken up another notch or two.

Make people have to talk about U. Think about U. Recognize U. No matter what.


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Lean into the storylines of the team- two-time Pac-12 Champ moves to Big 12, Bad Moon Rising Returns, Kyle Whittingham Building Legacy In Third Conference, etc.

Let the public know what you’re about- 22 Forever, Moment of Loudness, Family on Three, Tough Defense, Savvy Offense, etc.


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Pump up your athletes and units who are putting up stats and earning awards.

Boarder on being annoying about it. Why?

Because that is what the top teams do. They make sure they never get lost in the shuffle, even when things don’t go their way.

With how rapidly the college football landscape is changing, and the opportunity to make a big splash in a more open Playoff field, Utah can’t afford to not do this.

All eyes on U.

Better Health, Better Luck

The second point wasn’t necessarily an obvious one, but the last point is. Almost embarrassingly so, but it’s an important point that played a major factor in this last season.

Utah needs to stay healthy and have better luck in 2024. Period.

The Utes can’t have (what felt like) their entire starting lineup wiped out by the middle of the season again.

They have the talent to be a really good team- a top team, but they will need as much of that talent available to them for as much of the season as possible.

It’s that plain and simple.

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Three Things Utah Football Must Do To Ensure Spot In Expanded College Football Playoff