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All eyes in the college football world are focused on No. 5 Utah as it prepares for an intriguing game with No. 23 California on Saturday. Of course, with all eyes being on the undefeated Utes and undefeated Bears, it means all eyes will be on Pac-12 football.
We now live in the post-BCS world (luckily), but with that means the overreaction each week in regards to how it will alter the Playoff Four scenario. Is the Pac-12 in or out? Will Utah be the team to represent the conference? All questions that are flowing each week that add to this wild overreaction. And because of that, it means Saturday's game could have importance come December. Then again, it's way too early in the schedule to officially know that.
In this week's episode, ESPN.com Pac-12 football writer Kyle Bonagura joins DeseretNews.com writer Carter Williams to discuss Utah's rise to power.
"I think that depth up front and that ability to assert itself against other teams in the conference has been really impressive — and that goes back to last year," Bonagura says. The two also discuss whether or not that came to a surprise of other conference teams and the importance that Saturdays game pertains to any playoff scenario for Utah (again, yes, we know its way too early).
"If (Utah) loses to USC in a couple of weeks or even (Arizona State) in its next game, this game will be forgotten very quickly," Bonagura says. "To place a heightened level of importance on this game, as far as how it will stand at the end of the year, I dont think you can really do that. I think right now the fact that it is a marquee game, it is a game that will allow Utah to affect opinion — positively or negatively — is very important. I think with the whole country starting to take notice this week, with kind of all eyes on them with 'GameDay' being there and the whole deal, having the opportunity to impress people will be important as far as how people will be discussing them throughout the course of the year."
Bonagura also answers questions about other topics around the conference, including Pac-12 road teams going 8-2 to start conference play and extending that winning percentage to more than 60 percent since last season, as well as the forgotten Pac-12 North team that is slowly rising back up the polls and any surprises this early in Pac-12 play.
Also in this episode, hear from Cal coach Sonny Dykes' conference call Sunday (18:40 mark), as he talks about facing the Utes, as well as some snippets from Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's press conference Monday (21:50 mark) about facing the Bears.
"I saw the Utah-Michigan game on television and at that point I thought, 'Wow, this is a good football team,'" Dykes says. "I thought they probably would be just looking at who they had coming back and I have a lot of respect for Kyle and his coaching staff. I thought they'd have a good football team, especially with a veteran quarterback and the good skill position players they've got."
This and much more on the Deseret News Sports Podcast!
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