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Britain Covey knows that rationalizing losses works only to a certain point. Now that Utah is 0-2 in Pac-12 play, the sophomore receiver acknowledged, “There’s only so much longer you can keep saying it.”

Here’s what he’s saying, though: The outside world — including me, in my game-by-game projections last spring — figured the Utes would be 1-2 after three conference games, but remain contenders for the Pac-12 South title. So “if we beat Stanford,” Covey said, “our whole mindset toward winning the South is still in that same place.”

He’s not addressing what happens if Utah starts 0-3, of course, but his point is valid.

The Utes have not markedly underperformed in Pac-12 play, losing 21-7 to Washington and 28-24 to Washington State. The disconcerting part, though, is their offense has not inspired much belief that the Utes can break through Saturday night at No. 14 Stanford or against many of their South rivals, beginning next week vs. Arizona.

The weekly batch

The Utes still have plenty to play for in 2018, unlike their situation five years ago when they last visited Pullman, Wash. (TRIB)

Coach Kyle Whittingham blamed himself for Utah’s allowing 21 first-half points to Washington State. (TRIB)

While there’s some question about Stanford running back Bryce Love’s status Saturday, the Utes know what to expect from him after last October’s meeting. (TRIB)

Gordon Monson suggests the Utes need a theme, going forward. (TRIB)

Christopher Kamrani explored why Covey is the Utes' only productive receiver through four games. (TRIB)

Growing in BYU-oriented families, Covey and Chase Hansen used to think Utah was a weird school. (TRIB)

And as practice has started for the Ute men’s basketball team, sophomore forward Donnie Tillman’s improvement will be something to monitor. (TRIB)

Other voices

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News follows the Pac-12 like no one else. You’ll have to scroll down to find Utah in his latest football rankings. (MERC)

This will hurt, but it is instructive. Wilner analyzes Washington State’s game-winning play. (MERC)

The Daily Herald of Provo was there in February 2015 when Covey signed with Utah and Timpview High School teammate Gabe Reid signed with Stanford. Reid is now listed No. 2 at both outside linebacker positions for the Cardinal. (HERALD)

Around campus

• Utah’s No. 24 women’s volleyball team keeps facing ranked opponents, and here comes the Pac-12 leader, No. 2 Stanford. The Cardinal (12-1, 4-0)) will visit the Huntsman Center on Friday (6 p.m.), as the fourth straight Top 25 team the Utes will meet. That’s what happens in a conference with eight ranked teams.

The Utes (9-6, 1-3) posted their first Pac-12 win last Sunday, beating now-No. 15 Washington in four sets on the road. Utah is starting a four-match homestand that continues Sunday (2 p.m.) vs. California.

• Fans can plan a Sunday afternoon doubleheader, watching Utah’s women’s soccer team against No. 7 Washington State at noon. The Utes will host Washington on Thursday (7 p.m.) in their first home game of the Pac-12 schedule. Utah (4-6-1, 1-2) lost 2-1 at Arizona in double overtime, then beat Arizona State 2-0 with Paola van der Veer’s 15th career goal and another goal from Jessica Hixson.

• Olympus High School senior Rylan Jones has committed to play basketball for Utah. Here’s a video showing Jones' passing skills. (JONES)

Utes in the NFL

Former Ute defensive back Eric Weddle’s pro football career may be winding down, but he remains at the top of his game. Weddle made four solo tackles in Baltimore’s 26-14 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football, making him the star among the ex-Utes in Week 4 of the NFL season. Baltimore is 3-1.