Utah Has a Chance to Make the College Football Playoffs

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SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 31: Utah Utes offensive lineman Paul Maile (54) and defensive end Bapa Falemaka (88) head onto the field before the start of the Holiday Bowl played against the Northwestern Wildcats, on December 31, 2018 at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When you think about the College Football Playoffs the first two teams that come to mind are Alabama and Clemson. Those two teams will for sure make another appearance in 2020. Clemson is all around the best team in the country. The Tigers return a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and most importantly they have the best quarterback in the country leading the way. Alabama also will have a ridiculous amount of talent returning this season. The Crimson Tide offense features the best wide receiver group in the country and a star-studded defense. The other teams that are favorited to make the playoff are Texas, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. So which team can sneak their way into the playoff in 2020? Utah may have a shot. Let’s dig deeper and find out.

Utah Has a Chance to Make the College Football Playoffs

Team Overview

Oregon and Washington are the favorites to win the Pac-12 but the Utes have my pick to win the conference. Utah comes into the season ranked 14th and rightfully so. The Utes finished last season with a 9-5 record and made an appearance in the Pac-12 championship game. On defense, Utah returns two key pieces on the defensive line with Leki Fotu and Bradlee Anae. Jaylon Johnson is a sure-fire NFL prospect at cornerback and Julian Blackmon will make the move to safety in 2019.

Defense

In 2018 the Utes defense ranked 16th in the country in scoring defense, only giving up 19 points a game to its opponents. The Utes run defense was also one of the best in the country in 2018, only giving up 100 rushing yards a game. Cody Barton and Chase Hansen are no longer with the program but those two positions look to be filled with good talent. Manny Bowen, Devin Lloyd, and Francis Bernard should all see some playing time at the linebacker position.

Offense

Tyler Huntley returns as the starting quarterback for the Utes after breaking his collarbone to end last season. Utah has arguably the best senior running back in the country in Zack Moss. The Utah offense will run through Moss just like last season. He ran for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns while only playing in nine games due to injury. Britain Covey also returns at wide receiver after catching 60 passes and gaining over 600 receiving yards in 2018.

Schedule

The Utes open up the season against BYU and following that their schedule consists of Northern Illinois, Idaho State, USC, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona State, California, Washington, UCLA, Arizona, and Colorado. During the first eight weeks of the season, we could this team start 8-0. Their toughest test comes in week nine against the Washington Huskies. Their strength of schedule is not the hardest and the Pac-12 is a very top-heavy conference. Don’t be surprised if the Utes make a playoff push with an easier schedule this season.

Final Analysis

The college football world is in for a surprise in 2019. The Utes will make themselves well known in their conference and nationwide. Not only do I believe that they will win the Pac-12 but they will have a chance at an NY6 Bowl Game and maybe a College Football Playoff appearance. With a ton of experience and talent returning in 2019, a healthy Utah team will put the world on notice.

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