The Pac-12 kicks off championship week Friday night. For the first time since 2016, there's a reason for the College Football Playoff selection committee to tune in.
Committee members have tracked No. 5 Utah all season. They already know what the rest of the country is starting to find out: The Utes are one of the most complete teams.
Utah's starting defense is filled with players who will suit up in the NFL in 2020. Its offense is surging behind two older players, quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss, and a new/old coordinator in Andy Ludwig. The Utes have won 10 games by 18 points or more. They're one of only three FBS teams ranked in the top 10 nationally in yards per play and yards per play allowed. The others are Ohio State and Clemson.
Is Utah a top-four team? We'll find out in six days, although the Utes can take a big step closer to their first CFP appearance by winning their first Pac-12 championship Friday against No. 14 Oregon.
"We're here, and I hope you're ready," safety Julian Blackmon said, "because if we get to the playoffs, we're going to beat somebody's brains in."
Here's why the Pac-12's lone playoff hopeful could bust its way into the field.