The Cougars will travel to Salt Lake City in week nine to take on Utah. It will be a rematch of last year's snow game which saw WSU and Marquess Wilson come up an inch short of victory.
Utah is predicted to be the second best team in the Pac-12 South, but we take a closer look at the 2012 Utes after the jump.
2011 record: 8-5
2011 S&P+ rating: 207.1 (WSU 175.3)
2011 home record: 3-3
Returning starters: 16
Athlon Sports preseason ranking: 33 (WSU 51)
Phil Steele power rating: 133.53 (WSU 123.32)
All-time record vs. WSU: 6-5
Last meeting: Utah 30 vs. WSU 27 (2011)
Bill C Stat Profile: LINK
Bill C Preview: LINK
Naturally, there is plenty of room for skepticism when it comes to Utah and high expectations. Jordan Wynn still needs to prove in a real game that he has the arm strength and decision-making ability to lead a strong Utah offense, and none of the other offensive units were particularly impressive last fall. (Even if you scoff at the advanced stats and consider John White IV an elite back, that's still only one of three units; there is little defending the struggles of the offensive line or receivers not named DeVonte Christopher last year.)
Still, with another strong defense, another Top 25 special teams unit, and potentially the most favorable schedule in the Pac-12, you don't really have to trust the offense to expect quite a few wins for the Utes this fall. If the offense does improve -- if White truly establishes himself as an elite back, if Wynn proves his allegedly high ceiling, etc. -- then a season with double-digit wins is not only a possibility; it is of high probability.
Utah wasn't a very good home team last season, including a key loss to a terrible Colorado team late in the season. Then again, WSU hasn't exactly been a good road team in well ... yeah.