Utah football, not playing in the fall, ranked 22nd in preseason AP Top 25

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Utah Utes make their entrance before, in PAC-12 football action between the Utah Utes and the California Golden Bears at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.

We will never know what the University of Utah football team could have been in 2020, but we do know one thing. The writers and broadcasters in charge of creating the Associated Press Top 25 thought the Utes could be pretty good.

Utah, whose season has been postponed along with the rest of the Pac-12, was installed Monday at No. 22 in the preseason AP Top 25. The Utes are one of three Pac-12 teams ranked, joining No. 9 Oregon and No. 17 USC.

The Big Ten, which postponed football to the spring, hit the board six times thanks to No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan, No. 19 Minnesota, and No. 24 Iowa.

Utah appears in the preseason AP Top 25 in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history, and for the fourth time ever (2004, 2009, 2019).

The Associated Press, which has conducted its poll since 1936 and a preseason poll since 1950, announced on Aug. 14 that it asked its 62 voters to consider all Division I teams for the preseason poll. Once games begin, voters will only rank teams that are playing. If FBS teams play in the spring, the AP plans to rank teams then, too.

As of Monday, four of 10 FBS conferences have moved their respective seasons to the spring, meaning 67 of 130 FBS teams plan to play in the fall. The 67 teams include the entire Big 12, SEC and ACC, which will house normally independent Notre Dame this fall. The Fighting Irish are eligible for the ACC championship game.

On Aug. 6, which was between the Pac-12 releasing a 10-game conference-only schedule and the postponement a few days later, Utah debuted in the USA TODAY Amway Coaches Poll at No. 20. The Utes were one of three Pac-12 teams there as well, joining No. 9 Oregon and No. 17 USC.