Ranking the Games: Order of Difficulty

Which games are toughest? Which are easiest? What are Utah's chances of winning?

1. at Oregon (Sep 26)
Facing the Ducks on the road, even without Marcus Mariotta, is a tall task. It's the Pac 12 opener for Utah and they'll want to get out of the gate strong, but Oregon is a bad matchup for the Utes (and most teams). It'll take a Herculean effort to win in Eugene.
Chances of Winning: 25%

2. at USC (Oct 14)
The last time Utah went to the Coliseum they laid an offensive egg. That won't happen this time, but they're also facing a better USC team. In Salt Lake City, you could make the case for Utah being the favorite, but this one is one is in LA. Advantage Trojans.
Chances of Winning: 35%

3. at Arizona (Nov 14)
On paper, I like Utah's team more than Arizona's, but the desert has been unkind to the Utes since joining the Pac 12 with them going 1-3 on the road against teams from Arizona. Considering what the Wildcats have done to the Utes the last two seasons, it's hard to give Utah the edge, so we'll make them slight underdogs.
Chances of Winning: 45%

4. vs UCLA (Nov 21)
You can switch the Bruins with ASU and no one would bat at an eye in this spot. UCLA has been a surprisingly strong road team the last few years under Jim Mora, but this one is in late November. The Bruins have arguably the most talented roster in the conference, top to bottom, but a true freshman quarterback (not that he'll be much of a frosh by game time), and the possibility of cold weather gives the Utes the edge over a team that they have matched up well with in recent years.
Chances of Winning: 54%

5. vs Arizona State (Oct 17)
The fifth of the five monsters on Utah's schedule is ASU, the nemesis. The Utes are 0-4 against the Sun Devils since joining the conference, and will look to end that against the team that they dislike more than any other. Arizona State is going to put up points and some like them to be a dark-horse for the college football playoff. Time for Utah to get over the hump though and take down the conference's only junior college.
Chances of Winning: 55%

6. vs Michigan (Sep 3)
The biggest question mark on Utah's schedule as no one really knows what to expect out of the Wolverines. It's Harbaugh, on opening night, on national TV. Utah should be better, but there are so many Wolverine questions that no one knows the answer to, it's hard to predict what they're going to do or who they're going to be, especially for game 1.
Chances of Winning: 65%

7. at Washington Nov 7)
Washington might end up being the worst team in the conference this season as they hit the rebuild, but Seattle is not an easy place to play and there's still plenty of young talent on the roster. Utah wishes this game was earlier in the season when the Huskies are still working things out, but an early November game makes it more interesting. Advantage Utah, but this could be a trap game.
Chances of Winning: 68%

8. vs Cal (Oct 10)
Cal is probably better than Washington, but the Bears have to come to Rice-Eccles. Jared Goff leads one of the top offenses in the country with a lot of parallels to the Wazzu team that shocked Utah last season. Kyle Whittingham probably won't let that happen again, but when a team can score in bunches and quickly, we've seen it turn Utah defenses into wind-suckers.
Chances of Winning: 70%

9. vs Utah State (Sep 11)
The littlest of brothers. Some prognosticators like the Aggies to make a nice run towards 10+ wins and even a possible New Year's Day 6 game. USU has surprised Utah before, and anything other than a close game would surprise people. Anything other than a Utah win though, would be an even bigger surprise.
Chances of Winning: 80%

10. vs Oregon State (Oct 31)
The Beavers turned over their coaching staff and a lot of their roster with many of last year's contributors graduating. It'll be a Halloween matchup with Gary Andersen and Kalani Sitake in town. The Utes have advantages in pretty much every artea, including homefield, but weird things happen on Halloween, and you have to wonder if Utah takes this one too personally and is distracted. Still, they should win this one if they play anywhere near their potential.
Chances of Winning: 84%

11. vs Colorado (Nov 28)
Rivalry game...sorta. Colorado is getting better, but so is Utah. The Buffs just don't have the overall athletes, size, or depth to run with the Utes if Utah plays even a below average game.
Chances of Winning: 85%

12. at Fresno State (Sep 19)
This one is likely over before it begins. The only way FSU wins this thing is if the temperature in the Central Valley is over 100 degrees and half of Utah's players can't stop cramping up. Easiest game on the schedule.

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