The Utah Utes are better than the Oregon Ducks

Utah Utes College Football Playoff Week 3

Don’t overlook the Utah Utes

Utah Utes logo

While the Oregon Ducks held onto the spotlight with their seventh-straight win, the Utah Utes deserve more recognition. Granted, the Utes are ranked ninth in the nation, but they still don’t get the love they deserve from Pac-12 fans. With a top defense and an effective offense, the Utah Utes are the best team in the Pac-12.

The Oregon Ducks showed weakness against Washington and Washington State

After dominating opponents for five straight weeks, Oregon slipped. Now, they didn’t lose to Washington or Washington State. But, their wins were too close for a top team.

  • Nevada, Montana, Stanford, Cal and Colorado: 195 Points Scored: 25 Points Allowed
  • Washington and Washington State: 72 Points Scored: 66 Points Allowed

Against Washington and Washington State, Oregon’s point differential dropped from Plus-175 to Plus-6. Their defense bent against Jacob Eason and Anthony Gordon.

Additionally, they also needed heroic wins against the Huskies and Cougars. In Week 8, the Oregon Ducks overcame a 14-point deficit and got the benefit of a late, no-call on the Huskies final drive. Additionally, they needed a last-second field goal to beat the Cougars. Yes, the Ducks got the wins, but it wasn’t pretty.

The Utah Utes get it done on defense

Lights out. Cal couldn’t get anything going against Utah. Similarly, most of Utah’s opponents struggle against the Utes. This season, Utah football is:

Additionally, Utah has PFF’s two highest graded defenders, Julian Blackmon (86) and Terrell Burgess (84). These safeties are just one reason why Utah steamrolls its opponents. Defensively, the Utah Utes have it all. Teams can’t run against them, pass against them or score against them. It’s a deadly squad ready to win a championship.

Quality and consistent on offense

With such a stifling defense, the Utah Utes only need an average offense to compete. A game-manager at quarterback would suffice. Considering that their holding opponents to 10.3 points per game, the offense doesn’t have to do much.

However, Utah’s offense is putting up 33.1 points per game with a quality, balanced, offensive system. In six of their eight games, they’ve scored at least 30 points. Their quarterback, Tyler Huntley, is having a quiet and underrated season. Currently, Huntley has 1,778 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 229 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns and just one interception.

Additionally, per PFF, Huntley ranks first in the nation in Adjusted Completion Percentage. This metric factors out “dropped passes, throwaways, spiked balls, batted passes and passes where the QB was hit as he threw the ball.” His 86.9-percent Adjusted Completion Percentage displays his elite accuracy. Huntley’s 10.3 yards per attempt (6th in nation) and 123.4 passer rating (7th in the nation) show how underrated he is. Huntley is accurate, efficient and elite. Don’t sleep on Tyler Huntley.

Moreover, the Utah Utes utilize their powerful running back, Zack Moss. Moss, per PFF, is forcing a missed tackle on 45-percent of his rush attempts, third highest of the league. His five forced missed tackles and 65 yards after contact in their recent win display this. Moss’ 10 rushing touchdowns lead the Pac-12 and he also rolled up 728 rushing yards. Keep in mind, Utah’s benched Moss multiple times this season in blowout wins. If he played every quarter this season, he’d likely have over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. Moss is a top runner in the nation and the Utah Utes lean on him to close out games.

Move Aside Oregon, it’s time for the Utah Utes to rise

In almost every defensive metric, the Utah Utes are better than the Oregon Ducks. Additionally, quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss are efficient and productive when called upon. They have an elite defense, a strong offense, and every reason to be crowned as the Pac-12 kings.

Pac-12 College Football Playoff Teams: Week 3, 2019

Utah Utes College Football Playoff Week 3

Six was the magic number, but now it’s five. With play beginning tonight with Washington State vs. Houston, there are roughly five Pac-12 football teams still in the race to be one of the four 2019 College Football Playoff teams. Within these six are a couple favorites, a couple contenders and a couple sleepers who could make big statements in the coming weeks.

Last week the Pac-12 had the following teams still vying for a spot in the 2019 College Football Playoff:

  • Utah Utes
  • Washington Huskies
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Stanford Cardinal
  • Washington State Cougars
  • USC Trojans

Entering week three the number of Pac-12 teams in contention for the playoff drops by one. Two teams fall out of the picture and one jumps in. 2019 may be yet another year, however, where the Pac-12 feasts on itself and eliminates the conference from the College Football Playoff.

That said, here are the Pac-12 football teams with the best shot of being one of the 2019 College Football Playoff Teams, Week 3.

1. Utah Utes

Utah didn’t look as polished in their 35-17 win over Northern Illinois as they should have. Still, the Utes are 2-0 and that defense is scary. And while running back Zack Moss was held to just 80 yards, better play from quarterback Tyler Huntley was inspiring and should give confidence to Utah heading forward. If Huntley can continue his growth at the position, the Utes could be scary good in conference play.

2. Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks weren’t about to let themselves slip outside the 2019 College Football Playoff race for too long. Though they’re still a fringe team after a tough loss to Auburn, Oregon destroyed Nevada in week two, sending a message that they’re the real deal. Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo finally unleashed his offense and Oregon’s defense is its best in years. If Auburn remains the Ducks’s lone loss on the year, they’ll be one of the 2019 College Football Playoff teams.

3. USC Trojans

Watch out, college football, USC true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis is for real. Now that the Trojans have the quarterback they need to distribute the ball appropriately, USC has a shot at the 2019 College Football Playoff. Their schedule is still brutal but what they did to Stanford is not something to ignore. If Slovis can remain level-headed and USC handles Utah at home on September 20, the Trojans will be front-and-center in the world of college football.

4. California Golden Bears

If California had a decent offense they would be a legit contender to be one of the 2019 College Football Playoff Teams, week 3. Yet they remain on the outside because that offense is tough to watch. Still, going on the road and facing the adverse conditions they did at Washington is impressive. With a recovery game against North Texas this week, California would do well to focus on building some offensive momentum. Should the Golden Bears compliment their outstanding defense with some form of offensive threat, they’ll be a dark-horse CFP contender.

5. Washington State Cougars

Washington State and Mike Leach, we love you. Your opponents, however, we do not. While quarterback Anthony Gordon could be the real deal and the Cougars could boast one of the most efficient offenses in college football history, lackluster matchups against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado did nothing to show us who Washington State is. Well, maybe outside the fact that they’re no longer the laughing stock of the Pac-12 who could legitimately lose to a New Mexico State or Northern Colorado. They’ve still got a shot at the 2019 College Football Playoff but have a lot to prove.