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Fast 40 countdown: Utah

August 27, 2011  |  By Jeff Popelka

Utah

Last season: 10-3, 29th in the MRI

The good: Utah is the recipient of a huge gift in the Pac-12, having been given a schedule that includes neither Stanford or Oregon. This gives them the opportunity to run riot over the middling conference teams and contend for the Pac-12 title in only their first season in the league.

This team has built off of the momentum that came from the highly successful coaching tenure of Urban Meyer, and Kyle Wittingham has created a team with balance on offense combined with a stingy defense.

The Utes return QB Jordan Wynn, along with his favorite target in the form of DeVonte Christopher. With Norm Chow coaching the offense, it's reasonable to expect big things from this experienced offensive unit.

The bad: Utah's secondary was exposed more than once last season, as they suffered heavy defeats during the regular season at Notre Dame and again in their bowl game against Boise State.

Given the strongly pass oriented Pac-12, any weakness in the secondary will be magnified. Combine that with only an average pass rush, and the pressure could well be on the offense to produce in high scoring games.

While the schedule does favor them, Utah does have a handful of tough matchups on the road, especially against BYU and USC in the first few weeks of the season. Make or break will come quickly for this team.

Best name: Seni Fauonuku

Trending: Down - The Utes have reeled off three straight 10+ win seasons, but with their unproven secondary and a handful of tricky road games in their new (and much tougher) conference, anything better than 8-5 would be an acheivement.

   

Posted August 27, 2011 9:00 AM

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