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SALT LAKE CITY — The first official rankings of the college football season are out, and Utah football checks in with its highest-ever preseason ranking.
The Pac-12 favorite for the 2022 season opened up the year with a No. 8 ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll that was released Monday morning. It's the first time in program history Utah has been ranked in the top 10 in the preseason poll — its previous high in the Coaches Poll was No. 15 ahead of the 2019 season.
It's only the sixth time the Utes have been ranked in the preseason Coaches Poll.
Utah is one of three Pac-12 teams ranked in the poll — Oregon opens up the season ranked No. 12 and USC, which comes off a dismal 4-8 season, checks in at No. 15.
BYU and Utah State, which were ranked in the final poll of the 2021 season, both received votes in the preseason poll; the Cougars received the fourth-highest votes total among the receiving votes category.
Atop the preseason rankings was No. 1 Alabama, who features a loaded returning roster and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Bryce Young. Rounding out the top five is Ohio State at No. 2, followed by Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame.
The Associated Press' preseason Top 25 will be released on Aug. 15 and will serve as the official rankings until the College Football Playoff rankings are released later in the season.