Another National Pundit Predicts Utah Football In College Football Playoff

Feb 15, 2024, 10:28 AM | Updated: Feb 20, 2024, 1:34 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Way-too-early college football projections are one way fans scratch the itch during the offseason, any morsel of content looking forward and making predictions is great fodder, especially when these lists are about your team of choice.

For the University of Utah, these early top 25 rankings have been very kind to the Utes football program.

  • Stewart Mandel, The Athletic – No. 11
  • Max Chadwick, Pro Football Focus- No. 12
  • Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports – No. 13
  • Mark Schlabach, ESPN – No. 13
  • Nick Bromberg, Yahoo Sports- No. 14
  • Paul Meyerberg & Erick Smith, USA Today – No. 16
  • 247Sports – No. 16
  • Joel Klatt, FOX Sports – No. 8

Within the rankings out there so far, Utah is typically either first or second among the Big 12 teams. Being in contention for the conference championship is a big deal now that the College Football Playoff is expanding to 12 teams starting next year.

Being a conference champion is even more important since the winner from a power league will all but assuredly earn a bye for the playoff.

RELATED: KSL Sports Way-Too-Early Big 12 Football Rankings

The latest projection comes from Brett McMurphy of the Action Network. McMurphy joined JJ & Alex on the KSL Sports Zone and gave out his early playoff and bowl projections for next year. Add him to the list of experts who like Utah as the Big 12 champion.

Others Agree With Utes Being Best In Big 12

They hype train is real for the Utes and McMurphy is not the only one. Pete Fiutak of College Football News joined JJ & Alex on Feb. 1 and called Utah’s first year in the Big 12 as “championship or bust.”

“It’s got to be conference championship or bust if you are Utah,” Fiutak said on JJ & Alex. “They are just a better team than everyone else in the conference. You go to an easier conference and Utah has to be in the Big 12 Conference championship [game] with Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma State as probably the three next best teams with Kansas State right around there.”

The Utes are coached by Kyle Whittingham who has been to four of the prior six Pac-12 title games and winning two of those. No other coach in the Big 12 can come close to Whittingham’s success. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy is a distant second and has been to a pair of Big 12 title games but has zero conference championships.

There is a good reason that the Utes are considered as the frontrunner to win the Big 12 and earn a spot in the playoffs next year.

Tune into JJ & Alex every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Another National Pundit Predicts Utah Football In College Football Playoff