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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Utah game-by-game predictions for 2016

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    The issue with Utah is quarterback play. (I know: Stop the presses!) Everything else about the roster is upper-tier at the Pac-12 level and has been for several seasons. But the QBs? Still feels a little Mountain West-ish, to be honest.

    Will it be any different this season with transfer Troy Williams at the controls?

    The Utes haven’t earned anyone’s faith in this regard. We’re not going to assume Williams is good enough, week in and week out to make the plays that alter the course of division races.

    I think the Utes are headed down the same path we’ve seen in the past:

    Strong start, well coached, good running game, sound at the line of scrimmage … but not quite capable of finishing strong.

    Coach: Kyle Whittingham
    Season: 12th
    Record (overall): 95-46
    Win totals by season (since joining Pac-12): 8-5-5-9-10
    Job security: Quietly received a $700,000 raise last winter, so I’d say: Pretty darn secure.
    Notable: Utes lost five of their last six in ’13, three of their last five in ’14 and two of last three in ’15.

    *** Previous installments:

    Arizona predictions
    Arizona State predictions
    Oregon State predictions
    Oregon predictions
    Colorado predictions

    Here we go …

    Sept. 1: vs. Southern Utah (Thursday)
    Result: Win
    Record: 1-0
    Comment: Toughest in-state opponent the Utes will face all season.

    (Just kidding.)

    Sept. 10: vs. BYU
    Result: Win
    Record: 2-0
    Comment: Guessing the Utes are more efficient, largely due to regime change in Provo. But I wouldn’t bet a cent of your money on the outcome.

    Sept. 17: at San Jose State
    Result: Win
    Record: 3-0
    Comment: Considered giving the Utes a loss here. Classic trap game following the Holy War and ahead of Friday night showdown with the Trojans.




    Sept. 23: vs. USC (Friday)
    Result: Win
    Record: 4-0/1-0
    Comment: Utes make fewer mistakes against weary Trojans, who open against Alabama and will be six days removed from a trip to Stanford.

    Oct. 1: at Cal
    Result: Loss
    Record: 4-1/1-1
    Comment: Sloppy and lethargic in a resounding defeat, Utes need emotional reset after exhilarating September.

    Oct. 8: vs. Arizona
    Result: Win
    Record: 5-1/2-1
    Comment: Back on track against the Wildcats, who will be on second half of a road back-to-back.

    Oct. 15: at Oregon State
    Result: Win
    Record: 6-1/3-1
    Comment: Methodical mauling.

    Oct. 22: at UCLA
    Result: Loss
    Record: 6-2/3-2
    Comment: Where the Utes’ lack of big-play passing game is exposed.

    Oct. 29: vs. Washington
    Result: Win
    Record: 7-2/4-2
    Comment: At home against the rolling Huskies, Utah hunkers down, rises to the moment and wins a close, low-scoring brawl.

    Nov. 5: Bye
    Comment: Probably a few weeks late, but not terrible timing.

    Nov. 10: at Arizona State (Thursday)
    Result: Win
    Record: 8-2/5-2
    Comment: Utes don’t complete a pass longer than 17 yards but win handily over reeling Sun Devils.

    Nov. 19: vs. Oregon
    Result: Loss
    Record: 8-3/5-3
    Comment: Revenge is a dish best served on a chilly, windy day in SLC as the Utes are eliminated from the South race.

    Nov. 26: at Colorado
    Result: Loss
    Record: 8-4/5-4
    Comment: One team is revved, and it’s not the visitors as Utah’s promising season ends with a modest, and familiar, thud.

    Coming Tuesday: The Bay Area schools.

    * Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline



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    by Jon Wilner
     

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