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Utah Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022

Cameron Rising, Utah Utes Football

Cameron Rising and the Utes look to not only defend their Pac-12 title, but also make a run at a potential College Football Playoff berth.

Defending Pac-12 champion Utah once put itself on the college map as the original BCS buster. Fresh off their first-ever Rose Bowl berth, the Utes have a shot at making a splash on a national scale once again this season. Utah is the preseason pick to repeat as Pac-12 champions and a potential contender to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Related: Utah Football 2022 Season Preview and Prediction

The Utes return a host of key playmakers on both sides of the ball. Leading the way is junior quarterback Cameron Rising, who gave Utah new life when he earned the starting job following the team’s 1-2 start last season. Rising is a dynamic playmaker and leader who elevates his teammates. Tavion Thomas joins him again in the backfield on the heels of a 1,000-yard season. Rising’s favorite targets, Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid, are back at tight end. The secondary, led by Clark Phillips III, is fully healthy again and will make Utah’s defense as dangerous as ever.

Will Utah emerge as a college football playoff team and give the Pac-12 some desperately needed good news after a turbulent offseason? Some experts at Athlon Sports picked every game on the Utes' 2022 football schedule.

Utah Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022

Steven LassanMark RossJohn Coon

at Florida

Utah

Utah

Utah

Southern Utah

Utah

Utah

Utah

San Diego State

Utah

Utah

Utah

at Arizona State

Utah

Utah

Utah

Oregon State

Utah

Utah

Utah

at UCLA

Utah

Utah

Utah

USC

Utah

Utah

Utah

at Washington State

Utah

Utah

Utah

Arizona

Utah

Utah

Utah

Stanford

Utah

Utah

Utah

at Oregon

Oregon

Oregon

Utah

at Colorado

Utah

Utah

Utah

Final Record

11-1

11-1

12-0

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Utah is primed for another run at the CFB Playoff in 2022. Getting by Florida in the opener won’t be easy, and there are tough road dates (at UCLA, Washington State and Oregon) on the slate, but 11 wins in the regular season should be a reasonable goal for coach Kyle Whittingham’s squad.

In addition to a favorable slate, Utah doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. The emergence of quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas sparked the offense after a 1-2 start last season, and both are back to lead the way in ’22. Finding a replacement for receiver Britain Covey and solidifying the offensive line are the key question marks for Whittingham’s offense. Utah always seems to find the right answers on defense, so even though linebacker Devin Lloyd is gone, don’t expect this unit to slip far on the stat sheet after allowing only 22.6 points a game last year. Cornerback Clark Phillips III is among the best in college football, and there are plenty of candidates to fill the voids up front and at linebacker.

Utah won’t have the advantage of being under the radar this year. However, the combination of a loaded roster and favorable slate might be enough for the Utes to earn their first trip to the playoff.

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Even though USC has generated most of the headlines for the Pac-12 this offseason (and I'm not referring to their pending departure for the Big Ten), I still feel that Utah is the team to beat. The Utes have all of their key pieces on offense in place and defense has never been an issue under Kyle Whittingham. Even though Utah opens the season on the road against Florida, the matchup with the aforementioned Trojans happens in Salt Lake City and the toughest Pac-12 road trip is against an Oregon team the Utes waxed twice last season. Not only do I see Utah getting a shot at defending its conference title, I think there's a chance these Utes run the table in the regular season. Even if they don't, they should remain in the College Football Playoff conversation all season long.

John Coon (@johncoonsports)
Utah largely dominated the Pac-12 a year ago on the way to winning its first league title. The Utes are poised to do it again this season. All their key playmakers are back on offense apart from Britain Covey. The defense loses Devin Lloyd but brings in Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate who led the Gators in tackles during the regular season a year ago. Rising is the biggest x-factor for the Utes though. He elevates his teammates with his confident leadership and Utah is simply an elite team when Rising is running the offense. Picking the Utes to run the table in the regular season is admittedly bold. Utah may lose a game or two in 2022. As I look over the schedule, though, I have trouble pinpointing which team will hand the Utes a loss. USC will be explosive on offense, but the Trojans are weak defensively. Can Oregon close the gap enough in a few months after getting blown out twice by Utah last season? Florida will be tough, but the Gators also host the Utes in their first game under a new head coach. Utah has enough quality depth and talent at every position to be a fixture in the top 10 this season. Don't be surprised if the Utes contend for something even bigger than a Pac-12 title at season's end.

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