This year coach Whittingham and the Utes are finally in a BCS conference. The questions abound about whether a non-automatic qualifying team can compete week in and week out in an automatic qualifying conference. Well, we are about to find out.
This question, and this set of circumstances, is the driving force for my bold predictions about the University of Utah football team this season.
Utah can be competitive any time anywhere as they have demonstrated in the past with their beat down of Alabama. But can they compete week in and week out coming from an easy conference?
Well in the Mountain West the Utes regularly faced TCU, BYU, Air Force and San Diego State. It wasn't exactly an easy conference. Arguably it was a much tougher conference than the Big East.
The Utes also played teams like Pitt, Michigan, Texas A&M, Alabama and Boise State during the last several years and won most of those games.
So I solidly believe the Utes will be competitive.
Jordan Wynn has not passed for 3,000 yards in a single season.
Even though this is a bigger and more competitive conference, I think we will see it happen.
Wynn will hit the 3,000 yard mark this year.
Utah has not seen a 1,000 yards receiving from a single receiver in recent memory.
But I predict they will have a breakout player this season in Norm Chow's new offense.
Utah has gone with a tandem back set for years and has not really had a single "go to" running back.
If John White IV can do what he did in junior college, he will be that back.
I look for Chow's new offense to produce a 1,000 yard rusher this season.
I look for the linebackers alone to have 250 tackles this season.
I know it sounds crazy but these are bold predictions. Chaz Walker had 113 by himself in the Mountain West last year.
Even though it is the PAC-12 I think he can do it again and I believe the other two linebackers can come up with the other 137 tackles needed to get it where it needs to be to reach the 250 mark.
That's right, I said it. The Utes will win the PAC-12 South. They are bold predictions so I am going Bold on this one.
The Utes have the potential to have a lot of big plays and big play makers an with Wynn healthy...it could be a stellar year.
USC can't go due to sanctions.
Arizona State is having injury issues.
UCLA has been awful in recent memory.
Colorado is in uncharted territory with a brand new coach and brand new schemes.
Arizona is the biggest hurdle.
So my final bold prediction is that the Utes win the south and play Oregon for the PAC-12 Championship.
Do they win?
Maybe. I am not prepared to be that bold...yet. I'll let you know before the game though.