Utes check in at 14th in preseason coaches poll

Utah opens the season Aug. 31 when Florida visits Rice Eccles-Stadium.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah football cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah speaks to media on the first day of fall camp in Salt Lake City, Monday, July 31, 2023.

The University of Utah has a spot in the top-15 of the first coaches poll of 2024.

The Utes start the season ranked 14th in the poll ahead of their Aug. 31 season-opener against Florida.

The Pac-12′s demise off the field is especially ironic because of the conference’s apparent strength on the field heading into this season. The conference finished last season with six ranked teams.

The Utes are ranked in the coaches’ poll behind Pac-12 foes USC (6th) and Washington (11th), but ahead of Oregon (15th).

The Associated Press will release its first poll of the season next week. The Pac-12 last had as many as five teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 just two years ago.

The difference was in 2021, the Pac-12 had no top-10 teams and three of the five were ranked from 20-25. This season’s Pac-12 — maybe the last Pac-12, with star quarterbacks Caleb Williams of USC, Bo Nix of Oregon, Michael Penix Jr. of Washington and Cam Rising of Utah leading the way — appears much stronger.

Here’s how the coaches’ full top 25 looks:

1. Georgia

2. Michigan

3. Alabama

4. Ohio State

5. LSU

6. USC

7. Penn State

8. Florida State

9. Clemson

10. Tennessee

11. Washington

12. Texas

13. Notre Dame

14. Utah

15. Oregon

16. TCU

17. Kansas State

18. Oregon State

19. Oklahoma

20. North Carolina

21. Wisconsin

22. Mississippi

23. Tulane

24. Texas Tech

25. Texas A&M