Even though the season won't kick off until early September, I thought it would be fun to take a look around the conference for a quick preview of the other eleven teams -- in no particular order. We'll get more in depth during the week before the Cardinal plays each team, but for now we've got a quick overview of how the team looks at this point as seen through the eyes of a blogger who knows that team best. Enjoy.
Utah Utes (Pac-12 South)
Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham (58-20)
2010: (10-3, 7-1, 2nd in Mountain West)
Did not play Stanford
For most of us, it's been hard getting used to saying "Pac-12" instead of "Pac-10," but the new era has dawned, and it brings us the Utah Utes and the Colorado Buffaloes. Both teams had long been rumored as potential Pac-10 expansion candidates, so it's nice to finally have them aboard.
Utah isn't on Stanford's schedule this season, unless the two teams end up meeting in the conference championship game, but it's a good idea to get to know them a bit before the season starts. Here's what you already know. Over the past three years the Utes have compiled one of the best records in Division I football, going 33-6, but their success has always been questioned as it's come largely at the hands of undermanned teams from the Mountain West Conference. In 2008 they finished the regular season as the only undefeated team in nation at 12-0, but the BCS denied them a spot in the championship game. But instead of hanging their heads, the Utes simply showed up at the Sugar Bowl and crushed Alabama, 31-17. They had the best record in the land, a marquee victory over a highly-ranked traditional power, but they didn't have the national championship to go along with it.
In 2009 and 2010 the Utes were leapfrogged by TCU in the Mountain West, but they still enter the Pac-12 as a team to be reckoned with. Utah has the reputation of being a hard-nosed team that plays hard on every down, and their arrival in the Pac-12 will likely result in an uptick in recruiting. Oh, and here's the coolest thing -- the pre-camp depth chart distributed at Media Day lists something called a Stud Linebacker. Tough enough for you?
If you're looking to read up on Utah football, your first and last stop should be Block U. I reached out to them a little bit ago, writer Sean Reynolds fired back some answers to my questions. Take a look...