College Football Predictions: How Utah and the State of Utah Can Achieve League titles
The very first Utah and Utah State championship titles in their respective conferences?
It’s on the plate with all the trimmings for the next two days.
The Utes and Aggies are among 10 football teams that will play to win their first conference championship game in their respective leagues this weekend, including Baylor, Pittsburgh, Michigan and Oklahoma State.
Utah and Utah State can win the conference championships this weekend, but it will take tremendous defensive effort to get there. Are they up to the challenge?
Utah will face Oregon at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday while the Aggies travel to San Diego to face the Aztecs on Saturday.
The Utes crushed Oregon in the last game with an unbalanced 38-7 score. To do it again in Las Vegas without the home court advantage is another.
Utah State has had a remarkable season. It was a campaign that no expert to my knowledge had predicted: the annexation of the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference in Blake Anderson’s first season at Logan.
Here is how these inhabitants leave with trophies:
Both must play exceptional defense, break practices, force punters and turnovers and win on the first downs.
Utah needs to get its triumvirate of running back Tavion Thomas (978 rushing yards), TJ Pledger (651) and Micah Bernard (454) back on track. This will allow Cam Rising to roll out the gameplay action and connect with Britain Covey and a very capable squad to beat the Ducks.
Expect Oregon to be much better prepared to compete with Utah than it was two weeks ago when the Ducks looked lost. If Utah carves out an early lead, it will hit a ticket to Pasadena.
Oregon beat Oregon State last week by converting 10 of 13 third downs and stopping the clock with 37 minutes of possession against a Beaver team designed to run and monopolize the ball.
The intangible factor in this game is passion. Utah buried the needle in this category two weeks ago and Oregon has had no response.
But after two weeks off, the Ducks are eager for revenge.
âWe know what happened and this team knows what we can do. We have to do with what we’re comfortable with, âsaid Oregon defensive end Brandon Dorlus after the win over Oregon State. “We don’t have to play out of character, just be us.”
Watching Ute’s win, Utah forced their will on Oregon and it was impressive.
But was Oregon even close to itself? You know, the one with the Nike swagger? Absolutely not.
If you get Oregon’s best effort and Utah’s best game, give the Utes the edge because of the level of play Kyle Whittingham gets from Rising.
The challenge for the USU is much more formidable. SDSU, a team that beat Utah in September, are balanced on offense and capable on defense. The Aggies need to win the turnover battle and be lucky on some special teams.
Logan Bonner (3,242 yards passing), the QB transferred from Arkansas State who followed Anderson to Logan, will have to play his best game of the season. It’ll go a long way if he can connect with Deven Thompkins (1,543 yards on reception) for at least three touchdown passes.
SDSU isn’t as explosive on offense, but defense is solid. Aztec runners Greg Bell (949 yards) and Chance Bell (273) are talented enough to give USU’s Justin Rice a ton of work.
The USU could really use a dominant running game to keep the Aztec defense guessing, but lacking that may be the Aggies’ loss in this Mountain West title race. Whatever the outcome, the USU will go bowling and Anderson is a hero with a season to remember so far.