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Utah football: Utes ranked No. 25 in preseason USA Today poll

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's Utes are ranked No. 25 in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Sure, Utah might’ve lost a bevy of talent to the NFL last year, but that didn’t make some of the top coaches from around the country believe there will be a significant dropoff in 2017.

The Utes were named No. 25 in the annual preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. The poll, conducted weekly throughout the regular season, is voted on by a panel of coaches at FBS schools nationwide. That panel, according to USA Today, is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches open to voting.

Utah is one of four Pac-12 programs voted into the preseason coaches poll. USC rolls in at No. 4, while the reigning Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies remain in the Top 10 at No. 7. Stanford is No. 14 in the poll.

The Utes, who went 9-4 in 2016, had a school-record eight players selected in April’s 2016 NFL Draft, more than any other Pac-12 school and finished fourth nationally among programs churning out pro prospects. The two positional groups hit hardest by the draft and graduation — the secondary and offensive line — remain two of the biggest question marks for Utah this fall camp.

Four of Utah’s five starting offensive linemen from a year ago were drafted.

But those question marks haven’t scared off the voters.

Utah’s preseason ranking comes a little more than a week after it was ranked No. 2 in the preseason Pac-12 South media poll at the 2017 Pac-12 Media Days.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is one of 65 coaches with a weekly vote and one of five Pac-12 coaches.

Alabama is the consensus preseason No. 1, receiving 49 first-place votes. The second-most first-place votes went to defending national champions Clemson, which had seven, but is ranked No. 5 in the USA Today preseason poll.

USA TODAY PRESEASON COACHES POLL <br>1. Alabama (2016 record: 14-1, first place votes: 49) <br>2. Ohio State (2016 record: 11-2, first place votes: 5) <br>3. Florida State (2016 record: 10-3, first place votes: 4) <br>4. USC (2016 record: 10-3) <br>5. Clemson (2016 record: 14-1, first-place votes: 7) <br>6. Penn State (2016 record: 11-3) <br>7. Washington (2016 record: 12-2) <br>8. Oklahoma (2016 record: 11-2) <br>9. Michigan (2016 record: 10-3) <br>10. Wisconsin (2016 record: 11-3) <br>11. Oklahoma State (2016 record: 10-3) <br>12. LSU (2016 record: 8-4) <br>13. Auburn (2016 record: 8-5) <br>14. Stanford (2016 record: 10-3) <br>15. Georgia (2016 record: 8-5) <br>16. Florida (2016 record: 9-4) <br>17. Louisville (2016 record: 9-4) <br>18. Miami (2016 record: 9-4) <br>19. Kansas State (2016 record: 9-4) <br>20. West Virginia (2016 record: 10-3) <br>21. South Florida (2016 record: 11-2) <br>22. Virginia Tech (2016 record: 10-4) <br>23. Texas (2016 record: 5-7) <br>24. Tennessee (2016 record: 9-4) <br>25. Utah (2016 record 9-4)

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