Greg McElroy sees the Pac-12 as the deepest conference in college football in America, and that offers a daunting challenge for 2-time defending champion Utah.

The ESPN analyst broke it down on his “Always College Football” podcast, and noted a top tier in USC and Washington. Then he has Utah at the very top of the next tier, and then mentioned Oregon State and Colorado, which is in the bottom tier, but improved under Deion Sanders. However, back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances is nothing to shake your head about, McElroy said. One remaining hurdle is to reach the College Football Playoff.

“I think the Pac-12 is insanely, insanely difficult this year, and I like Utah’s personnel in several different spots. ” McElroy said. “But there are also question marks in several different spots as well. So it will be insanely difficult for Utah to get to the mountain yet again. I’m going to actually take teams that return a little bit more, those being USC and Washington. At least, right now in March, that’s the direction I’m leaning.”

At 38.6 points per game, Utah last season ranked No. 11 nationally in offense, and both QB Cam Rising and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig return.

Utah comments are about 2:30 below: