Countdown To Kickoff: Utah Utes
As fans countdown the days until another college football season kicks off, this blog is breaking down the top 25 according to the USA Today preseason coaches poll.
#24 (tie) Utah Utes
For the third time in school history, Utah cracked the USA Coaches' Preseason Top 25. In his five years at the helm, coach Kyle Whittingham has kept the school’s winning culture alive and well, winning nine straight bowl games over 12 years, and notching 10 or more wins four times in the past seven seasons.
In their last year in the Mountain West Conference before joining the Pac-10, the Utes hope to dethrone the defending-champion TCU Horned Frogs, who travel to Salt Lake City Nov. 6. Utah has been picked to finish second by media members who cover the MWC.
Utah is primed and ready to join a BCS conference in 2011 with more wins against BCS schools (19) than any other non-automatic qualifying conference team. Since the BCS began in 1998, the Utes are 19-11 against BCS schools.
Utah returns eight starters on offense and four on defense. Four of those returning starters were selected to the preseason all-conference team: senior running back Eddie Wide, a first-team all-MWC selection in 2009 who rushed for 1,069 yards and 12 touchdowns; senior offensive linemen Caleb Schlauderaff and Zane Taylor; and junior defensive back Brandon Burton, one of 35 defensive backs named to the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list.
The young Utes will be tested early when No. 15 Pitt comes calling to open the season. San Jose State, Iowa State and Notre Dame round out Utah’s non-conference schedule.
Posted Aug. 10, 2010