College football champions are crowned in January, but if you follow college football, you would know that success is found on National Signing Day where programs look to reload their rosters with incoming star players.

So with rivalry week upon us, I looked at the starting depth charts for Utah (8-3) and BYU (6-5) to see how each team stacks up heading into Saturday’s Holy War showdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game is set for FS1 at 8 p.m.

Utah-BYU Game Preview: Betting Lines Continue To Fall, Key Matchups and Predictions

As shown below, Utah’s offense (0.843) will be going up against a BYU defense (0.830) that is pretty similar in ranking. Utah’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, even without starting quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss. The snow didn’t even faze the Utes either as they went on the road last week and crushed Colorado 30-7.

Meanwhile, BYU is ranked in the Top 25 in several defensive categories and are just a couple points away from also coming into Saturday’s game at 8-3. Unfortunately for the BYU defense, the team lost senior defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi to a season-ending injury last week. However, the Cougars still grade out pretty well and have stepped up their game the last couple of weeks.

Utah Offense (Overall Rating 0.843)

QB – Jason Shelley (3*)
RB – Armand Shyne (NA)
WR – Demari Simpkins (3*)
WR – Britain Covey (3*)
WR -Samson Nacua (3*)
WR – Siaosi Mariner (NA)
TE – Jake Jackson (2*)
LT – Jackson Barton (4*)
LG – Nick Ford (3*)
C – Lo Falemaka (3*)
RG – Jordan Agasiva (3*)
RT – Darrin Paulo (3*)

Utah Defense (Overall Rating 0.869)

LE – Bradlee Anae (3*)
LT – Hauati Pututau (2*)
RT – Leki Fotu (3*)
RE – Mika Tafua (3*)
LB – Cody Barton (3*)
LB – Chase Hansen (3*)
FS – Corrion Ballard (4*)
SS – Marquise Blair (4*)
LC – Jaylon Johnson (4*)
RC – Julian Blackmon (3*)
NB – Javelin Guidry (3*)

 

BYU Offense (Overall Rating 0.783)

QB – Zach Wilson (3*)
RB – Squally Canada (3*) or L. Katoa (3*)
FB – Brayden El-Bakri (NA)
WR – Talon Shumway (3*)
WR – Gunner Romney (3*)
WR – Aleva Hifo (3*)
TE – Matt Bushman (3*)
LT – Brady Christensen (2*)
LG – Keanu Saleapaga (3*)
C – James Empey (3*)
RG – Tristen Hoge (4*)
RT – Austin Hoyt (3*)

BYU Defense (Overall Rating 0.830)

DL – Trajan Pili (3*)
DL – Khyris Tonga (2*)
DL – Bracken El-Bakri (NA)
DL – Devin Kaufusi (3*)
LB – Riggs Powell (NA)
LB – Sione Takitaki (3*)
LB – Isaiah Kaufusi (3*)
LC – Michael Shelton (2*)
RC – D’Angelo Mandell (NA)
FS – Austin Lee (3*)
SS – Dayan Ghanwoloku (NA)
SS – Troy Warner (4*)

For BYU, the offense has had its ups and owns throughout the year with big outings against Arizona and Wisconsin, yet, somehow only managed to put up six points against Northern Illinois at home. Which BYU offense is going to show up on Saturday?

The good news for Cougar fans is that freshman sensation Zach Wilson is a true dual-threat quarterback that can extend plays and take off for some big runs to help keep defenses honest. Wilson will need that scrambling ability as he goes up against a Utah defense that is ranked in a number of Top 10 defensive categories and makes a living in opposing teams’ backfield.

Best Reactions From Utah’s 30-7 Victory Over Colorado

Lastly, in terms of talent-based rankings, per 247Sports, Utah ranks No. 44 in talent with BYU coming in at No. 55.  However, 247 has not factored out Jack Tuttle’s departure, which, if it did, would Utah drop into a tie with No. 47. California.

Basing things off paper, Saturday’s game will likely be closer than most expect. Seeing as how 19 of the last 24 games have been decided by a touchdown or less —including two overtimes — its not surprising to see bettors pushing the line closer. Utah opened up as 13.5 point favorites, however, that has now dropped to 11.5.

Either way, Saturday’s game is going to be a good one! Utah has already broken the November curse and is headed to the Pac-12 Championship game next week. So is this the year also that the Cougars break the Max Hall curse?

National Rank — *44 (Utah)

* Jack Tuttle’s departure hasn’t been factored in.

5-Stars 0
4-Stars 6
3-Stars 61
Total = 615.72
Avg. Rank 84.46

National Rank — 55 (BYU)

5-Stars 0
4-Stars 4
3-Stars 54
Total = 572.83
Avg. Rank 82.47

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