Utah finishes season ranked No. 16 in final AP Poll

Ryan Kostecka

It's a small consolation for a season that had so much hope for better. Entering the Pac-12 championship, the Utes were sitting with 11 wins, with win No. 12 not only getting them a spot in the coveted College Football Playoff, but guaranteeing the best record in program history.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

After losing to Oregon 37-15 in the Pac-12 championship game, the Utes traveled to the Alamo Bowl to face Texas, losing 38-10. 

Utah finished the season 11-3 and ended up ranked No. 16 in the final AP Poll of the season. The final ranking was the highest for the Utes since joining the Pac-12 nine seasons ago.

Utah began the year ranked No. 13, rising to No. 10 after starting 3-0. But a loss to USC, albeit it without star running back Zack Moss, dropped Utah to No. 19 in the rankings. Slowly and steadily the Utes climbed back up the rankings, winning nine in a row to enter that game against Oregon ranked No. 5.

This is the fourth time the Utes have finished ranked in the final AP Poll since joining the conference of champions in 2011 — and the eighth time (ninth overall) finishing ranked in the top-25 this century.

Oregon was the top finisher for the Pac-12, checking in at No. 5 — LSU (national champion), Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia finished 1-4 respectively. No other Pac-12 finished the year ranked but Washington, Cal and USC all received votes.