Once Cameron Rising took over at quarterback for the Utes last season, they closed the season 7-4 against the spread. In two of the games Utah failed to cover, the Utes were favored by more than 20 points. (Utah still won both by more than a touchdown.)

They were also the favorites in eight straight games prior to the Rose Bowl.

Expect more of the same in 2022. Utah should get the Vegas treatment as one of the country’s best teams, and as such it’ll probably be favored in the lion’s share of its games. According to early projections from ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), Utah should be favored by more than a point in 10 of its 12 games next season.

Released last week, FPI is presented as a “points above average” metric. Specifically, a “measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is.”

The Utes ranked 15th in FPI, but no on on the regular-season schedule sits ahead of the Utes. We can take each team’s rating and generate projected point spreads and win probabilities for each game based on those spreads.

Here’s what Utah’s schedule looks like, according to the first batch of FPI numbers:

2022 FPI – Utah

FPI views the Utes as 2.8 points better on a neutral field than their season-opening opponent, Florida. Give the Gators a 2.5-point edge for home field advantage. FPI views the Oregon game on Nov. 19 as a toss-up. The Ducks will sport an entirely new coaching staff for the game, but Utah will likely still have a psychological advantage in that game given the way last year’s two meetings went. Utah outscored the Ducks 76-17 in the span of 14 days to claim the Pac-12 championship.

The next-closest game after that is projected to be against UCLA. Utah beat the Bruins by 20 last season, though FPI’s model rather likes the Bruins entering coach Chip Kelly’s fifth season in Westwood. That game will also bring the Utes back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since their three-point loss to Ohio State. Maybe Rising has a bit extra for that game.

A projected win total of nine games in 2022 feels like an even place to land. I suspect quite a few in Salt Lake City would take the over on that number.