Utes Season Outlook 2018

Since we, here at SportMuse, can’t wait for the Football season to start, I’m going to begin a series on some teams that are potentially poised to make a statement in their respective conference.
Before I get too deep in the weeds, I want to touch on where this team is “supposed” to be. ESPN’s analysts pick them to finish in 6th place in the PAC-12 and second in the PAC-12 South Division. The ESPN FPI expects the Utes to go 7-5, with a 2.9% of winning the conference and a 0% chance of winning out.
Utah finished 7-6 last year but only 3-6 in conference play, however 4 of those 6 losses were by a combined total of 16 points. The largest loss was to Oregon, which was a terrible game for Utah all around, having yielded 350+ rushing yards (2 TDs) and 69 passing yards with 2 TDs. The second largest loss came to Arizona State and coincided with the return of the starting QB that had been unavailable for 2 straight games (after being injured in Q2 in early September) where he had an uncharacteristically awful performance (see graphic). The graphic explains not only the dramatic performance differences between the two QBs, but also the Jekyll and Hyde (mostly Hyde) performance upon return from injury.

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