Where does Utah football rank among potential college football playoff starters?

As the hype train continues to roll for the Utah Utes football team heading into the 2022 season, it was identified in a story Saturday by ESPN’s Heather Dinich as one of four teams in the country that has the best chance of cracking the College Football Playoff for the first time.

Dinich ranked the Utes second of four to reach the CFP, behind Texas A&M and ahead of Pac-12 (so far) foes USC and Oklahoma State.

For each of the four teams, Dinich listed their ESPN Football Power Index rankings, then explained why they have a realistic chance of making the CFP before warning “it will only happen if…”

Finally, Dinich listed what the FPI and Allstate Playoff Predictor say about each team’s odds.

Utah is ranked No. 13 in the REIT. As for why he has a realistic chance of making the CFP, Dinich noted how the Utes fired 14 starters from last year’s Rose Bowl team, including quarterback Cam Rising, five of his top six receivers and running back Tavion Thomas.

“With USC and Oregon under new head coaches, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham has the edge in experience, and he’s proven himself with three Pac-12 South titles in the past four seasons,” Dinich wrote.

Dinich further wrote that a berth in the CFP will only happen if “Utah can win on the road”, although she wrote that the Utes can lose their season opener in Florida and still make the CFP. if they win from there.

“They need to beat the Gators to give themselves a league cushion, especially if Lincoln Riley can elevate USC quickly,” Dinich wrote, noting that Utah has six games on the road, “including some particularly tough trips.” at UCLA, Washington State and Oregon.

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“Utah’s inability to win road games last year at BYU, San Diego State and Oregon State cost the Utes a historic season,” he said. -she writes.

Dinich observed that according to the FPI, “Utah has at least a 50% chance” of winning all games except Florida and Oregon and that the team has a 6.3% chance of reaching the CFP according to the Playoff Predictor, which is the highest of the four teams listed in history.

Dinich closed the Utes section with a quote from Whittingham in which he said, “I think we always fight for [respect] in a sense. We are a program that is still working on our brand and trying to become more nationally present, but you have to earn it – no one will give it to you.

“The way you do it is any time you have a chance to prove it – national television, boules, that type of situation – you have to work your way into that respect. We have made breakthroughs. Are we where we want to be? Not yet.”

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