Commentary

FBO: Utah rising in new Pac-10

Can the Utes shake up the power structure in their new home?

Updated: June 17, 2010, 5:39 PM ET
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
UtahAP Photo/Alex BrandonWill Utah's recent success against the Pac-10 continue now that it's in the conference?

With what appears to be the final step in the conference realignment saga of 2010, Utah will join Big 12 refugee Colorado in a move to the Pac-10. In the Utes' case, they become only the fifth college football team in the BCS era to be promoted into an automatic-qualifying conference (Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida joined the Big East in 2005; Connecticut did so in 2004).

This may not have been the mega-deal the Pac-10 was originally seeking, but it will shake up the balance of power in the west -- though it isn't the big league transfer that will be leading the charge. Colorado's last winning season was in 2005, and the Buffaloes won't pose much of a threat to contend for Pac-10 titles in the immediate future.

Utah, on the other hand, may very well start conference play as one of the favorites. Since 2003, Utah has a 7-3 record against Pac-10 teams, 5-0 at home. Only the USC Trojans have a better overall winning percentage against fellow Pac-10 teams in the same span (50-10; .869). Against current Pac-10 teams, Oregon (40-20; .666) and California (35-25; .583) are next in line. The winning percentages for the Ducks (1-1 against Utah since 2003) and Bears (0-2) go down, of course, if we include the Utes in the Pac-10.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com