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College Football Preview: What Sort of Year Will Utah Have in 2012?

5Dimes has set Utah’s 2012 college football win totals at over 7.5 (-125) and under 7.5 (-115). A favorable schedule, their second year in the conference and USC at home should allow the Utes to compete for the PAC 12 South title.

New conference – Year Two

Despite a bit of an acclimation process, Utah not only survived their first season in the PAC 12, but was a home upset to Colorado away from making the conference title game. With a wealth of experience returning, the Utes should be better prepared to cope with another run for the PAC 12 South title.

Offensive struggles

Without QB Jordan Wynn, who was lost for the season in game # 4, Utah struggled on offense. They finished last in the PAC 12 in total offense and failed to score more than 14 points in any of their five losses.

Without a viable option at QB, running back John White pretty much carried the offense. White rushed for 1519 yards on 316 carries (4.8 avg) and scored 15 TDs.

The offense certainly has potential. If Wynn can stay healthy he has a solid receiving group led by DeVonte Christopher to work with and the offensive line is big and experienced. The offense should be expected to improve in 2012.

The PAC 12’s best defense?

Utah returns seven starters from last year’s # 1 scoring PAC 12 defense. All-American DT Star Lotulelei is the best player of arguably the league’s best defensive line which also includes 27 game starter David Kruger and his brother, DE Joe Kruger.

The Utes do lose their two top linebackers from an outstanding unit, so it is fair to expect a step back, however, Utah only loses one starter from an excellent 2011 secondary.

By all accounts this looks like another top 25 defense.

The PAC 12’s most favorable schedule

The 2012 Utah schedule is built for success. The Utes get USC and Cal at home, they don’t play Oregon or Stanford from the North and their road games are against ASU, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Colorado – 5 teams with a combined record of 25-40 and 0-3 in bowl games last year.

With another strong defense and a potentially improved offense, Utah is capable of beating every team on their schedule, including USC. As it is the Utes will probably only be underdogs in three games (USC, @ UCLA and @ Washington).

I still expect Utah to lose to USC and also lose two of their road games. Even conceding another home loss to either BYU, Cal or Arizona, that still leaves the Utes at 8 regular season wins. If the offense truly is improved, then a double-digit win season is highly possible.

Anyone else think Utah can win 10 games this season? Thanks – Pez.

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