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Utah: The Pac-12's most experienced team

Earlier this week, we took a quick look at Phil Steele's rankings of the most experienced teams in the country and noted that Utah topped all other Pac-12 programs.

Steele's rankings, which chart all players on two-deeps and assign them points based on their grade classification, tabbed the Utes as the eighth-most experienced team nationally. The Deseret News broke it down even further: Utah features 11 senior starters, six junior starters, four sophomore starters and one freshman starter. Their two deep also lists 12 juniors.

Of course, a roster's age doesn't necessarily indicate superior performance -- there are plenty of electrifying underclassmen playing college football -- but the Utes play a style of football that stands to benefit from added physical maturity. They led the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss last season thanks to aggressive play from their defensive front seven, and the offense looks as if it'll be even more reliant on Devontae Booker's bruising style in 2015. Booker rushed for 815 yards after contact in 2014, about 200 more than any other conference back.

Speaking of Booker, it should not come as a surprise that this article names running back as Utah's best position group. Booker has clearly stated that he's shooting for the Heisman trophy at the end of a 2,000-yard season in 2015, and the stars are indeed aligning for him to post huge numbers: Several of Utah's top receiving options are gone, so the handoff may become an even more popular option in Salt Lake City. This piece explores statistical expectations for Utah's 2015 team, while this one examines the Utes' nonconference opponents.

Meanwhile, the offseason is a great time to debate the past. What was the Mountain West's best team ever: 2004 Utah or 2014 Utah State? You can vote on that page. In our humble opinion, it's a no-brainer: The 2004 Utes remain undefeated.