The Biggest Concerns About Utah Being Favored Over Florida

The Biggest Concerns About Utah Being Favored Over Florida
Image © Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Ty Bronicel
🗓 Updated
May 19th 2023

As a University of Utah grad, let’s get that out of the way right now: I’m trying not to be biased as the Utes are about to embark on what could be a historic season.

I’ve already written that Utah, of the three Pac-12 teams in the top 25, has the best odds to win a national championship.

It all hinges on what happens Saturday in Gainesville at The Swamp, where the Utes play arguably the most anticipated season opener in school history.

The hype on this Utes team, the Pac-12 champions a year ago who then nearly knocked off mighty Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, is at an all-time high for the program.

Florida opened up as a 1-point favorite and are now 3-point underdogs, per BetMGM, which is a great site and offers awesome bonuses.

If that line gets up to 3.5, I’d stay far away. I’ve seen some pundits pick the Utes by 10-13 points.

I’m not buying that and here’s why: Utah doesn’t always begin its year with a bang. That includes last season when it started 1-2. Granted, Cam Rising wasn’t the starting QB then and then another well-documented tragedy befell the program.

The Utes showed steely resolve and then some, but it sometimes takes them a game or two to get going and find their rhythm. They usually find a way to win – they’ve lost just two season openers in the last 15 years – but playing the Gators in Florida is an entirely different scenario. It’s a long way from home and the Utes will be in extremely hostile territory. To say Gator Nation is a loud crowd is putting it mildly. It’s going to be humid – it could even be drizzling, according to the most recent weather report – but Gator players and fans alike figure to be hot and bothered with all the publicity Utah has received leading up to kickoff.

The Utes can’t afford a sluggish start at The Swamp against Florida, which owns the longest active home-opener winning streak in the FBS with 32 consecutive victories. Remarkable.

Florida first-year coach Billy Napier’s Gators have speed galore, like just about every SEC team, and that has been a problem for the Utes in the past.

Florida’s dual-threat quarterback Anthony Richardson, who’s looking like a legit NFL prospect, will pose problems with the many athletic players the Gators have on offense.

In closing, Utah appears better in all areas and nobody knows how good the Gators are at this point.

But one thing is certain: This will be a tough task for the Utes to come out with a win.

The Utes are a damn talented team with depth and cohesion and confidence, all reasons why they are favored and also a trendy pick to make the college football playoff.

However, don’t believe anyone, or make a wager show as such madness, that Utah is going to win by anything more than a touchdown.

In fact, I’m saying they win by exactly 3.

Prediction: Utah 24, Florida 21.

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