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Utah Utes Betting – Utah Utes 2011 College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 2/6/2014 9:49:40 PM

Not every team can say it’s playing in a brand-new conference and is blessed with a brand-new outlook on its college sports existence. The Utah Utes will get to experience this journey in 2011.

The Utes are leaving behind their successes in the Mountain West Conference for a new challenge in the land of BCS automatic qualifiers. Along with Colorado, Utah joined what was the Pac-10 Conference and turned the league into the West Coast dozen, the Pac-12 Conference. MLB baseball betting pundits don’t know anything about Utah’s history in the Pac-12. That’s okay; neither does anyone else. This is the first year in the conference’s history.

If credentials and reputation form the basis for most questions of Utah’s legitimacy, the Utes should hold up well in their new surroundings. The schedule makers have also given Utah a blessing. The Utes do not face either Oregon or Stanford during the regular season, a partial consequence of landing the newly-crafted Pac-12 South Division, which has the two Los Angeles schools – USC and UCLA - the Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State), and Colorado.

That being said, this will be the toughest schedule Utah has faced in many years. This Pac-12 slate offers a roster of foes far more challenging than anything seen in the Mountain West, which was loaded in its upper tier but was not terribly balanced from top to bottom. Utah has become accustomed to ferocious battles against BYU and TCU plus an occasional clash against the Air Force Academy, but now the conference season will push Utah to an even fuller extent. Back-to-back roadies in September against USC and rival BYU (in what will now be a non-league game) should gain Utah’s full attention as it enters the Pac-12. The Utes get Arizona State and Washington at home, two distinct breathers on the slate.

For all of the talent on hand, the Utes face some questions on defense. Can the secondary, which struggled against top quarterbacks last season, rebound and find the depth necessary to compete on a bigger stage? Spring ball was encouraging in this regard; coach Kyle Whittingham and defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake are now trying to find the right playmakers.

Sports betting experts will be likely to upgrade Utah for a few reasons: experience is one, quality coaching is another. On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Jordan Wynn returns after a disappointing sophomore season. Wynn will receive the tutelage of highly-regarded offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who was hired away from UCLA during the offseason in one of the more notable coaching moves involving an assistant. Chow is devising a more West Coast form offense in Salt Lake. During spring ball, the offense struggled mightily. Utah fans are hoping that with summer conditioning still ahead, the offense will find its groove. Chow, now that he no longer has to call plays for (head coach) Rick Neuheisel at UCLA, should be able to get more out of Wynn. Moreover, the fact that USC is ineligible for the Pac-12 South championship means that Utah is the clear favorite in that division. As long as Utah wins the South and reaches the first Pac-12 Championship Game, this season should be viewed a success.

A respectable and well-considered sports bet should indeed tab Utah to win the Pac-12 South in the first year of a new-look conference.

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