LostLettermen.com

#31: Utah Utes Move to Pac-12, Say ‘Chow’ to MWC

Our countdown visits Utah, which has moved to the new Pac-12. After a 10-win season in 2010, the Utes hope their move goes well. Will new o-coordinator Norm Chow, familiar with the conference, ease the transition?

2010 Record: 10-3

2010 Skinny: In its last season in the Mountain West Conference, Utah won 10 games but disappointed a bit by not capturing the league title. The Utes opened the season with an overtime win over Pittsburgh, then weren’t challenged again until November, when they put their 8-0 record up against undefeated TCU. The Horned Frogs came into Salt Lake City and routed Utah, 47-7, en route to the MWC title and the Rose Bowl. Perhaps still reeling from that game, the Utes lost the next week at Notre Dame before finishing out the regular season with two wins, including a season-ending, one-point triumph against rival BYU. But Utah then lost to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Returning Starters: 12

Coach: Kyle Whittingham (seventh season, 57-20)

Key Players: QB Jordan Wynn, WR DeVonte Christopher, LB Brian Blechen

2011 Schedule:

Sept. 1 vs. Montana State
Sept. 10 @ USC
Sept. 17 @ BYU
Oct. 1 vs. Washington
Oct. 8 vs. Arizona State
Oct. 15 @ Pittsburgh
Oct. 22 @ California
Oct. 29 vs. Oregon State
Nov. 5 @ Arizona
Nov. 12 vs. UCLA
Nov. 29 @ Washington State
Nov. 25 vs. Colorado

Anthony’s Take: Utah will be introduced to the new Pac-12 early in the season with a September 10 road game at USC. The Utes quickly will realize that they aren’t in the Mountain West anymore. But it’s clear that, if any team can handle it, it’s Utah. It has been one of the top performers against BCS teams despite not playing in a BCS league. The Utes return seven starters on offense, including quarterback Jordan Wynn. They also will have the benefit of respected offensive coordinator Chow, who certainly knows the teams in the Pac-12 from his time at USC and UCLA. It didn’t work out for Chow with the Bruins, but he will be an asset at Utah. Ten-win seasons won’t be a birthright for the Utes in their new league, but they have what it takes to make a run at the South Division title in 2011.

Jim’s Take: Opinions vary wildly on how the Utes will hold up during their first year in a BCS conference. The biggest questions about Utah are at running back and in the secondary. The good news is that the Utes have some big boys in the trenches such as LT John Cullen and won’t be intimated by playing in the Pac-12. And having a two-year starter like Jordan Wynn is invaluable. Utah really lucked out not having to face Oregon or Stanford and I picture this team winning eight regular season contests in their Pac-12 debut.


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College Football’s FBS 120 Countdown

#120: New Mexico

#119: Memphis

#118: San Jose State

#117: Akron

#116: New Mexico State

#115: Buffalo

#114: UNLV

#113: Western Kentucky

#112: North Texas

#111: Louisiana-Lafayette

#110: Eastern Michigan

#109: Colorado State

#108: Tulane

#107: Central Michigan

#106: Kent State

#105: Rice

#104: Florida Atlantic

#103: Ball State

#102: UAB

#101: UTEP

#100: Bowling Green

#99: Utah State

#98: Louisiana-Monroe

#97: Wyoming

#96: Marshall

#95: Indiana

#94: Kansas

#93: Louisiana Tech

#92: Vanderbilt

#91: Minnesota

#90: Washington State

#89: Wake Forest

#88: Duke

#87: Virginia

#86: Purdue

#85: Iowa State

#84: Arkansas State

#83: Idaho

#82: Middle Tennessee

#81: Temple

#80: Rutgers

#79: Ohio

#78: Troy

#77: FIU

#76: Western Michigan

#75: Northern Illinois

#74: Toledo

#73: Fresno State

#72: Nevada

#71: Colorado

#70: Miami (OH)

#69: California

#68: East Carolina

#67: Kentucky

#66: Georgia Tech

#65 Connecticut

#64: Mississippi

#63: Army

#62: UCLA

#61: Oregon State

#60: Cincinnati

#59 Louisville

#58: Kansas State

#57: Hawaii

#56: Southern Miss

#55: Navy

#54: Tulsa

#53: SMU

#52: USF

#51: Boston College

#50: Texas Tech

#49: Arizona

#48: San Diego State

#47: NC State

#46: Clemson

#45: Baylor

#44: Washington

#43: Penn State

#42: Syracuse

#41: Central Florida

#40: Auburn

#39: Pittsburgh

#38: Texas

#37: Illinois

#36: Houston

#35: North Carolina

#34: Tennessee

#33: Air Force

#32: Northwestern

 
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