Utah Utes

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

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Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

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Final AP poll: Clemson No. 1; USC rockets to No. 3; Ohio State drops to No. 6

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The votes are in and — surprise!!! — Clemson’s the media’s king as well.

The Associated Press released its final 2016 rankings Tuesday morning, with Clemson, off their stirring win over the cyborg that is Alabama football, claiming the No. 1 spot in the last Top 25 of the 2016 season.  As expected, the Tigers claimed all 60 first-place votes, while the Crimson Tide earned all 60 second-place votes to finish No. 2 in the final AP poll.

Up next is the a team that will no doubt be the media darling throughout the offseason — I’m already guilty, as you’ll see shortly —  with USC moving from ninth to third on the strength of the epic Rose Bowl win over Penn State (fifth to seventh) as well as a nine-game winning streak to close out the season.  Ohio State, which was shutout by Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal, tumbled from second to sixth.

The remainder of the Top 10 is rounded out by Washington (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 5), Florida State (No. 8), Wisconsin (No. 9) and Michigan (No. 10).

Three Group of Five teams managed to finish in the final Top 25, although none came in higher than 15th: Western Michigan (No. 15), South Florida (No. 19), San Diego State (No. 25).  Two of those teams will have new coaches in 2017, with Charlie Strong replacing Willie Taggart with the Bulls and a too-be-determined replacing P.J. Fleck with the Broncos.

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Utah the landing spot for transferring Arizona LB Cody Ippolito

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Running back Paul Perkins #24 of the UCLA Bruins runs into linebacker Cody Ippolito #57 of the Arizona Wildcats at the Rose Bowl on November 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 17-7.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Instead of the desert, Cody Ippolito will spend his sixth season of college football in the Beehive State.

On his personal Twitter account Monday, Ippolito revealed that he would be transferring to Utah and using his final season of eligibility for the Utes.  The linebacker began his collegiate playing career at Arizona.

He had considered Arizona State and UCLA as well prior to opting for Utah.

Ippolito will play that last season as long as he can remain healthy.

Ippolito missed the entire 2013 and 2015 seasons because of knee injuries, the latter of which involved a torn ACL. Those two lost seasons earned him a sixth year of eligibility. He also missed the last half of the 2016 season because of, you guessed it, a knee injury.

In between his first two knee injuries, Ippolito started six of the 14 games in which he played in 2014. In six starts this past season, Ippolito’s 28 tackles were fourth on the team at the time of his injury. His 1.5 sacks were tied for second on the Wildcats, while the four tackles for loss were third before he went down.

Utah hires Eastern Washington QB guru Troy Taylor as next offensive coordinator

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 04: Kyle Whittingham coach of the Utah Utes celebrates after defeating UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl October 04, 2014, in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Utah’s offense could be getting a major overhaul with the hiring of Troy Taylor, who co-coordinated Eastern Washington’s explosive offense at the FCS level this year.

Taylor will be Utah’s next offensive coordinator in a move announced by the Utes Monday. Coach Kyle Whittingham also announced that offensive line coach Jim Harding, who spent the last two seasons as the program’s co-offensive coordinator, was named Utah’s assistant head coach.

Taylor’s most notable coaching accomplishment, though, may not have come at Eastern Washington in 2016 despite the Eagles averaging 529.6 yards per game and 42.4 points per game en route to a 12-2 record and FCS semifinal loss to Bo Pelini and Youngstown State.

That’s because Taylor worked with Jake Browning from the time the Washington quarterback was in fifth grade through the end of his record-setting prep career at Folsom High School in California. So perhaps we’ll see an innovated, quarterback-driven offense installed in Salt Lake City stating this coming fall.

“I have watched Troy Taylor closely over the years when he was coaching innovative high school offenses in California and was eager to see how that translated to college coaching. He achieved the same results at Eastern Washington and we are fortunate that Troy was interested in bringing that style of offense here to Utah,” Whittingham said. “Troy has trained a prolific number of record-setting quarterbacks in high school, at his academy and now in college.”

Here’s how Taylor described his offense:

“We will have an attacking style of offense that stretches the field and the defense in every way,” Taylor said. “Creating success for the quarterback will be our utmost priority. If your QB plays well, you have a great chance of winning. Therefore, the development of his fundamentals and skill set are vital. However, it is just as imperative to have an offensive system that is both dynamic and user friendly. That has been the driving force in my offensive philosophy and I am excited to bring this to the University of Utah.”

Dennis Erickson to retire, co-OC won’t be retained by Utah

CORVALLIS, OR - OCTOBER 15:  Head Coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes calls a play against the the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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It appears Utah will be moving in a new direction on the offensive side of the ball.

The Utes announced Friday afternoon that assistant head coach/running backs coach Dennis Erickson has decided to step away from the game and retire from the sport.  Additionally, co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick will not be retained by head coach Kyle Whittingham.

“Both Dennis and Aaron have been instrumental to the success of our program and we appreciate their contributions,” said Whittingham in a statement. “Dennis is one of the most respected coaches in the history of college football and the opportunity to work side by side with him and learn from him has been an invaluable experience. Aaron has been an incredibly loyal member of our staff for many years and has been an integral part of this program’s growth.”

Erickson had spent the past four seasons with the Utes as an assistant on Whittingham’s staff.  Prior to that, the 69-year-old had been a head coach for the previous three decades, with collegiate stops at Idaho (1982-85, 2006), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-2002) and Arizona State (2007-11).  He won a pair of national championships with the Hurricanes.

There were also two NFL stops as a head coach, with the Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98 and the San Francisco 49ers from 2003-04.

Roderick, who played his college football at BYU, had served as a Utah assistant since 2005.  During his time with the Utes, Roderick had been a receivers coach (2005-13), quarterbacks coach (2014-16), passing-game coordinator (2012-13) and co-offensive coordinator (2010, 2015-16).