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SALT LAKE CITY — The preseason love continues for the University of Utah football program.
On Thursday, USA Today released its preseason Coaches Poll, and the Utes were included as the No. 15 team in the country. It’s the first time since the 2017 season that Utah has been included in the preseason honor. Utah came in at No. 25 ahead of the 2017 season.
Utah, which was picked to win the Pac-12 by voting media, is one of five programs from the Pac-12 included in the preseason poll, with Washington being the highest-ranked team at No. 12. Oregon comes in as a close second behind the Huskies and No. 13. Washington State (No. 21) and Stanford (No. 23) are the two remaining programs from the conference.
The Utes are the only team in the South Division to be ranked in the preseason poll.
On Wednesday, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the preseason hype, saying it’s nice to be recognized, but “it doesn’t matter.”
“I keep saying we haven’t beat anybody yet. Everybody knows that,” Whittingham said. “It’s just some excitement built up for the season and things to talk about and get the fans excited. But the bottom line is, and we continue to harp on this with the guys, is don’t pay attention to it because it doesn’t matter.
“All that matters is what we do out here and the work we put in getting ready for the first game.”
The preseason poll ranked defending champion Clemson as the No. 1 team to enter the season. The Tigers were followed by last season’s runner up Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
The Coaches Poll will be released each Sunday morning once the season begins. The Associated Press Top 25 Poll, which is one of the other annual polls to rank teams, will be released on Monday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. MDT.
Editor's note: Josh Furlong is a voter for the AP Top 25. His ballot will be released on KSL.com each Sunday two hours before the AP releases its Top 25 for the week.