There has not been very much posted about the Cats’ Holiday Bowl opponenent since Sunday’s announcement. Since I live in PAC-12 territory and am a season ticket holder for one of its members, I thought I would weigh in and with luck start a little discussion of the impending game with the Utes. My view is a little warped for two reasons. First of all, I think like most of you I have trouble getting over traditional biases in college football. Utah joined the now PAC 12 only in 2011, coming in with Colorado. While CU came from the Big 12, Utah came from the Mountain West, which took a little bit of washing down to swallow. Utah was probably viewed in the PAC 12 a little like Rutgers is in the B1G. However, Since they joined, Utah has belied the stereotype, as they have been a somewhat different style to many conference teams but a consistently decent team. Imagine a competent Rutgers! My second limitation is that Utah plays in the other division, and so I did not see them this year in person. My view is largely in snippets, highlights and a few big games, like their win over Stanford and loss to Washington last week, as well as weekly highlights, so it is not like the view I would have of an Oregon or Washington. With all of that in mind, Utah is a good team. They are a Mountain West team in some respects, that is, they are fast and open on offense, but unlike the Mountain West stereotype, they have a fast, swarming defense, one of the best in this power 5 conference. On offense, they are RPO based, with an emphasis on runs attacking the outside. The huge variable for the bowl is whether Tyler Huntley, their QB, will play or if he does, if he will be 100%. I think his participation is at least a 10 point swing, as he brings an accurate passing dimension to the RPO that Jason Shelley, his backup does not. The Utes offense is quick and stretches the field horizontally. With Huntley, they exploit this by hitting downfield selectively when a defense overcompensates. Without him, the Cats should be able to severely limit the damage the horizontal movement the Utes bring. The Utes defense is almost eerily similar to the Cats defense. The front 7 is active and quick rather than built for power. I imagine the Cats’ game plan will be built around slants to Green and Nagel, a few jump balls to Skowronek, and power runs and flat passes to Bowser. Bowser will be a problem for them, and I would expect him to get 20+ runs and 4 or 5 targets on passes. The area Utah has a clear advantage is kicking. Their place kicker is top 5,and their punter not far behind. Based on late season play, I think the Cats have a good chance, but the Huntley status could change that.