In college football, winning isn't the only factor. Who you beat, and how, is a vital part of moving up the rankings and getting into a good bowl game. So each week during the 2012 season, we'll take a look at how Utah's past and future opponents performed.
Utah Utes 2012 schedule
Aug. 30: Northern Colorado W, 41-0
Sept. 7: at Utah State L, 27-20 OT
Sept. 15: BYU, W, 24-21
Sept. 22: at Arizona State, L, 37-7
Oct. 4: USC, L, 38-28
Oct. 13: at UCLA, 1 p.m., FOX
Oct. 20: at Oregon State, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 27: Cal TBA
Nov. 3: Washington State TBA
Nov. 10: at Washington TBA
Nov. 17: Arizona TBA
Nov. 23: at Colorado 1 p.m. (FOX/FX)
Last week: Lost to Montana, 40-17
The Bears haven't gotten off to a good start in the crowded Big Sky, but they've still got some winnable games on the schedule.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 at Cal Poly
Last week: Lost at BYU, 6-3
The Aggies' defense put on an impressive performance Friday, holding BYU to just 6 points in Provo. Unfortunately, USU's offense couldn't get on track against the Cougar D. Still, the Aggies had a chance to tie the game late, but another missed field goal led to another loss. That's two this year (including the heartbreaker at Wisconsin in September).
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 at San Jose State
Last week: Won vs. Utah State, 6-3
The Cougar defense, perhaps the best the school has ever seen, is keeping the team in games. But freshman quarterback Taysom Hill suffered an injury against Utah State and may be out for a long time. That leaves BYU's offense back where it started: with an inconsistent Riley Nelson running the show.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 vs. #10 Oregon State
Last week: Bye
The Sun Devils have been off since defeating Cal on the road for their second Pac-12 win. They get another likely win as they travel to Colorado before hosting unbeaten Oregon. That's when we'll really find out how good the Devils are.
Next up: Thursday, Oct. 11 at Colorado
Last week: Won at Utah, 38-28
The Trojans fell behind early against the Utes, thanks to a pair of fumbles deep in their own territory. But they eventually rode their talented offense to a win that wasn't as close as the score looked. USC will be favored in each of their next three games.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 at Washington
Last week: Lost at Cal, 43-17
After winning four of their first five games and earning a national ranking, the Bruins came crashing down to earth at the hands of the Cal Bears. They'll want to bounce back as they host the Utes this week in a key Pac-12 South matchup.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 vs. Utah
Last week: Won vs. Washington State, 19-6
The Beavers stayed undefeated against Wazzu, but at a high cost: starting quarterback Sean Mannion is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury against the Cougars. That means junior Cody Vaz will have to step up if the Beavers want to beat the Cougars in Provo.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 at BYU
Last week: Won vs. UCLA, 43-17
Wow. Nobody saw that shellacking of UCLA coming. Maybe the Bears aren't as bad as we thought. They have played a pretty brutal schedule so far, including Ohio State, USC and Arizona State. Cal isn't a top-tier Pac-12 team, but they might be okay.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 at Washington State
Last week: Lost at #14 Oregon State, 19-6
The Cougars have made strides since their season-opening loss to BYU, but those improvements unfortunately aren't translating into wins. It might help if they could settle on a quarterback, as Connor Halliday and Jeff Tuel have both been inconsistent.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 vs. California
Last week: Lost at Oregon, 52-21
The Huskies pulled a big-time upset when they defeated Stanford two weeks ago, but last weekend's blowout loss to Oregon proves that UW still has a long way to go. They've got another big test this week against USC.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 13 vs. #11 USC
Last week: Lost to Stanford, 54-48 in OT
The Wildcats squandered a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Cardinal last weekend. They've got the talent to hang with anyone in the Pac-12 (except Oregon), but they haven't been able to close out tight games. The good news is that none of Arizona's conference losses have been to Pac-12 South foes.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 20 vs. Washington
Last week: Bye
The Buffaloes have been off since a 42-14 loss to UCLA on Sept. 29. They get a Thursday night matchup this week as they host Arizona State before traveling to USC and Oregon in successive weeks. The Buffs may wish they never came back from their bye.
Next up: Thursday, Oct. 11 vs. Arizona State