Christopher Walsh from College of Sports Maven compiles a list of underrated football programs in the nation. He describes his narration with the “exact” premise stated above. BYU and Utah’s college football programs have remained underrated throughout the history of college football in the US. What could be the reasons? How did it come to this?
He describes a series of stories to gauge the topmost underrated college football programs. In the third story, Walsh takes a dive into the top 10 of such programs in the nation by considering the results of AP polls from both preseason and postseason. And, that would give insight into who is the winner of this top 10 list, or maybe the top grand loser, considering from the right perspective. In this narrative, however, we must set the timeline properly, and go back to 1936.
The List of Christopher Walsh
He says in his writing that the above top 10 list “was painstakingly compiled by using each year’s preseason and postseason Associated Press Poll”. The use of words does mean that there was no hurry or miscalculation in figures. It is not a simple job. He further goes on to explain some details of the list. Walsh says that the difference between what the team was originally projected to be, and where it ended post the season was taken into account. If a team was projected to be preseason No 1 but came post-season No 3, a minus 2 point was awarded. Finally, the points for each team from each year were summed up to compile this top 10 list.
Now, we know why the words “was painstakingly compiled” meant more sense, and why we cannot simply ignore the list.
Who else came in the top 10? For a fact, we know that Cougars and Utes both made to the top 10. While BYU came at No. 7, the Cougars were in the list for the first time ever. It didn’t happen until 1972 when LaVell Edwards took over the command. Since then, Cougars have always made it to the list, six times in a row. But, in 1984, the jinx broke when Brigham Young managed to win the national championship making it out of the list. However, Utah was still winning and firm in the list. It ranked third in the US, while Boston College and Missouri were in top two followed by Utah. These are the top three most underrated college football programs in the history of America.
The History of Utes
According to Walsh, despite playing football since 1905, Utah has been in the preseason AP polls only twice. In 2004, when they ranked No 20 but finished No 4 marked the first instance, with the second in 2009, when they finished No 19. In 2008 once again they finished No 2 with Kyle Whittingham’s command; Utah has still overlooked in the preseason AP rankings. This short excerpt from his writings gives some insight into how one team can completely go out of sight for no reason at all.
There are also notable entries into the top 10 list, for example, Baylor at No 10, TCU at No 8, Oregon at No 5 and Boise State at No 4.
How Close are the Utes to Making the College Football Playoff?
The big question is to find out how close they are indeed to making history of being noticed for once. It is wise to consider their team effort and regulations being more than generous so far. In one report by Ian Wharton called Bleacher Report, he says that “they are as close as you can possibly get.” It really means something, isn’t it? Making the CFB Playoff was the title of an article which also argued on the same topic when it was published in Bleacher’s Report. Utah has been quite consistent.
To get to this conclusion, Wharton observed 10 teams from four of the five Power 5 conferences. In Wharton’s eyes, they are quite or even more than capable of making a playoff. He named two teams, one being Washington State and the other being Utah from the Pac-12 teams. But, if there is a suspicion, what could it be?
As per claims, Utah still might have a serious problem. With the departure of two strong players, Chase Hansen and Cody Barton, a crack has opened up in the linebacker. This could be a potential crack that can be exploited by rivals.
Wharton also goes as much as to say that, “The Utah Utes are a prominent sleeper in the College Football Playoff race,” This is not an encouraging line from any point of view. But, what follows puts some credibility and hope for the team.
As of 2018, this linebacker situation could cost them their playoff chance this time too. It is as clear as it can get. Utah has a good chance of making to pay off but they are still in a very vulnerable situation too. If they cannot compensate for the linebackers, they are also as close to getting drowned as they can get. Thus, some backfield playmaking and coverage is an utter necessity.