There's no question Utah has established a lasting foothold as a Pac-12 contender. For three straight seasons, the Kyle Whittingham's Utes have won at least nine games, qualified for a bowl game and finished ranked in the Top 25 nationally. Each time, however, Utah has come up short of claiming an outright Pac-12 South title and earning a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Can Utah rewrite the script and take another step forward in 2017? It will not be a simple task. The Utes return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, although they must plug holes in the secondary, the backfield and along both lines. Still, the schedule is arduous. Utah has one of the tougher league slates, with cross-divisional opponents Oregon State and California being replaced by Stanford and Washington State this season.
2017 Utah Utes Schedule
Bye: Week 5
— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.