Although Utah ended its 2019 season at 11-3, the Utes were easily defeated by Oregon in the Pac-12 title game followed by a big loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl. The Utes enter the 2020 season with several new faces at the skills positions and on the defense. Utah must replace former talented quarterback Tyler Huntley, running back Zack Moss and sacks leader Bradlee Anae. Oddsmakers have given the Utah Utes an over/under win total of 8.5.
On the offense, a battle for the starting quarterback position began in spring practice but was quickly ended because of the coronavirus outbreak. Battling for that starting position is graduate transfer Jake Bentley from South Carolina and sophomore Cameron Rising. Bentley started 33 games over four seasons with South Carolina, while Rising has not yet started the Collegiate level, but head coach Kyle Whittingham did say at the time that Rising has looked better.
Who will start at running back has not yet been determined either, as the battle will be between sophomore Jordan Willmore and junior Devin Brumfield, as well as freshman Ty Jordan, who could play on passing downs as well as some running downs. The receiving corps for Utah is loaded. Tight end Brandt Kuithe will return, as does top slot receiver Britain Covey. Solomon Enis, Bryan Thompson and Samson Nacua will all see plenty of action at wide receiver.
Last season Utah finished in the nation’s top six in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense. However, when the 2020 regular season starts most of the defense will be new. Nine starters must be replaced from last season including two stars in the secondary that have now moved on to the NFL. JaTravis Broughton and Bronson Boyd are the players with the most experience returning to the defensive secondary, which could be a big weak link.
The defensive front four will feature Mika Tafua and Mufi Hill-Hunt, but must make up for the loss of Anae. The linebacker corps will be the strength of the defensive unit led by Devon Lloyd, who last season led the Utes in tackles with 91. The only drawback for the linebackers is a lack of playing experience but several talented athletes are expected to step up for the Utes.
Free NCAAF Pick:
Plenty of question marks surround the Utah Utes on both sides of the ball starting the 2020 regular season. Utah has won the Pac-12 South Division for two consecutive seasons but will struggle to contend for a third straight title. The Utes have an advantage of playing their two toughest games in the Pac-12 at home versus USC and Washington but must play on the road at Arizona State and Colorado to end the regular season. Nevertheless, Utah should reload well enough on both sides of the ball two at least nine games. Final Prediction, Utah Utes OVER 8.5