Utah didn't make the cut, not in my preseason top 25 which debuted on Wednesday.
Being No. 26, though, is no disgrace. To explain Utah's absence I have to both disparage and praise the Utes. In one sense they are -- next to BYU -- the non-BCS team most likely to play in the Orange Bowl. That's part of the problem, though -- their proximity to BYU, both physically and in the polls.
My No. 12 Cougars are darn good, put in the vernacular you'd likely hear on the Provo campus. BYU is quickly getting back to the days of Lavell Edwards under fourth-year coach Bronco Mendenhall. It has the roster and the schedule to go undefeated.
One thing to remember, though. BYU finishes the season on Nov. 22 at Utah. That might mean a little something, certainly something more than the Mountain West title.
This comes down to the Cougars having a slightly better roster. BYU has Arizona State transfer Max Hall at quarterback. Utah has senior Brian Johnson who has been around so long, I can remember him as a freshman in 2004 under Urban Meyer. Johnson is athletic, running an offense similar to the spread option Alex Smith ran under Meyer.
We'll find out if Utah is any good right off the bat. It plays at Michigan on Saturday. I'm shocked to see that the Wolverines are a 3 1/2-point favorite. Utah has a better team, more experienced. Michigan has the home field, such as it is.
Utah's season hinges on that trip to Ann Arbor. It can lose but I see nothing on the schedule before the BYU game that will cause pollsters and/or computers to take notice.
Why No. 26? Before the Utes get to November, they have to take care of August.