SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will be a top 15 team to start the 2019 season.
The Utes are No. 15 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll released Thursday. Utah received 642 points and is one of five Pac-12 teams in the top 25, along with No. 12 Washington (834), No. 13 Oregon (787), No. 21 Washington State (274) and No. 23 Stanford (200).
Utah State, which finished the 2018 season ranked No. 21 in the Coaches Poll, received 32 points in the preseason poll and is 10th among others receiving votes, 35th overall.
Defending national champion Clemson opens as the No. 1 team in the preseason Coaches Poll, with 1,619 points and 59 of a possible 65 first-place votes. Last year's runner-up, Alabama, is No. 2 (1,566 points, six first-place votes), followed by Georgia (1,447), Oklahoma (1,415) and Ohio State (1,368).
LSU, which hosts Utah State on Oct. 5, is ranked No. 6 (1,218), with Michigan (1,155), Florida (1,103), Notre Dame (1,100) and Texas (1,038) rounding out the top 10.
Utah finished two spots outside of the Coaches Poll top 25 final rankings last year after losing to Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl. The Utes, who open the 2019 season Aug. 29 at BYU, were ranked in seven of the Coaches Poll's 16 weekly rankings during the 2018 season, climbing as high as No. 16 following a 41-10 win over UCLA at the Rose Bowl and entered the Coaches rankings the week before after beating USC 41-28.
Utah is coming off a 9-5 season where it reached the Pac-12 Championship Game for the first time. The Utes were predicted to win the Pac-12 title in this year's media preseason poll.51 comments on this story
Utah State, which plays at ACC opponent Wake Forest on Aug. 30 to begin the year, was also in seven of last year's 16 weekly Coaches Poll rankings. The Aggies rose as high as No. 13 following a 62-24 win over San Jose State in Week 12 and entered the polls in Week 10 after a 61-19 victory against New Mexico.
Utah State went 11-2 last year and is under the leadership of Gary Andersen, who returns for his second stint as the Aggies' head coach.
Central Florida is the lone Group of Five team in the preseason Coaches rankings, at No. 17. Other Mountain West teams among others receiving votes include Boise State (118) and Fresno State (32).
Three other Pac-12 teams also received votes, including USC (47), UCLA (2) and Arizona State (2).
The Associated Press preseason poll will be Aug. 19.