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2021 Utah college football preview: Utes positioned for solid season with returning talent

Utah has developed into one of the most consistent programs in the country, and the Utes are positioned for success under Kyle Whittingham.

NCAA Football: Utah at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What to take away from the 2020 Pac-12 season is a major question because of how few each team played. The Utah Utes took the field five times and played their best toward the end of their shortened season, and a ton of talent returns to the roster on both sides of the ball.

The Utes are a very balanced team all over the field and while they are not elite in one area, they have few weaknesses. Utah has developed into one of the most consistently good programs in the sport, and they are in good hands under Kyle Whittingham, who is heading into his 17th season with the team.

2020 Season Review

  • 3-2 (3rd in Pac-12 South)
  • Lost first two games, won final three to end the shortened season

2021 Talent

2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 33
ESPN Returning Production: 86% overall (8th): 81% offense (34th), 91% defense (5th)
Returning Talent Index: 1.17, 5th in Pac-12
Returning starters: 10/11 offense, 9/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools

Key Player

Quarterback: Charlie Brewer (Senior)

Utah went to the transfer portal for the quarterback position as the Utes filled a need with former Baylor Bears QB Charlie Brewer, who has a ton of college football experience the past four seasons. In 44 career college games, he completed 63.5% of his passes for 9,700 yards with 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, and Brewer is a threat in the running game.

Offense (non-QB): WR Britain Covey (Junior)

The wide receiver depth is going to be a storyline to watch with this team, but Britain Covey is an entertaining player to watch. He had a promising start in his first two seasons, but Covey played in a combined eight games the last two years. He is a threat in the passing and running game and can be a huge difference as a returner on special teams.

Defense: LB Devin Lloyd (Junior)

Devin Lloyd passed on the NFL Draft to stick around for another college season, and that will be huge for this defense. He was named a second team All-America player with 48 tackles including 10 for loss, two sacks and forced a fumble in just five games. Those are monster numbers in such limited time, and a full season of him on the field is not a good sign for opposing backfields.

Team Stats Projections

2020 SP+ final: 22nd overall: 30th offense, 26th defense, 37th special teams
2021 SP+ projection: 19th overall: 35th offense, 10th defense

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

To win national title: +25000
To win Pac-12: +600
Win total: 8.5 (Over -125, Under +100)

2020 Against The Spread: 3-2-0
2020 Point Total: Over 3-2-0

2021 Utah Schedule

2021 Utah Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Thursday, Sep. 2 Weber State 7:30pm/Pac-12N N/A
Saturday, Sep. 11 at BYU 10:15pm/ESPN Utah -6
Saturday, Sep. 18 at San Diego State 7:00pm/CBSSN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 25 Washington State TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 2 OPEN TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 9 at USC TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 16 Arizona State TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 23 at Oregon State TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 30 UCLA TBA N/A
Friday, Nov. 5 at Stanford 10:30pm/FS1 N/A
Saturday, Nov. 13 at Arizona TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 20 Oregon TBA N/A
Friday, Nov. 26 Colorado TBA N/A