No. 12: Utah Utes

Kyle Whittingham has 120 wins in 14 seasons at Utah. This could be his best team.Raymond Carlin III

With another great defense, Utah should reach the Pac-12 championship game for the second straight season.

**--Last season: 9-5, 6-3 Pac-12; lost to Washington 10-3 in Pac-12 championship game; lost to Northwestern 31-20 in Holiday Bowl.

**--Strength: Quarterback Tyler Huntley returns to the lineup after missing the last five games with a broken collar bone. He is athletic and new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who spent the past four seasons coaching Kyle Shurmur at Vanderbilt, will take advantage of that. The defensive line is loaded with pros.

**--Biggest concern: Despite Utah’s talent, the Utes were minus-5 in turnover margin (26 turnovers lost, 21 turnovers gained). This area is going to have to improve if they want to get back to the Pac-12 championship game.

**--Analysis: Kyle Whittingham (120 wins in 14 seasons) is one of the most underrated coaches in college football. This will be the best team he’s had since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The schedule sets up favorably as the Utes don’t play Stanford or Oregon from the North Division.

**--Projection: 11-2, 8-1 Pac-12.

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