Stanford opened as a two-score favorite to win in Salt Lake City on Saturday, but the Cardinal should be wary. The Utes took Oregon State to overtime before falling, and they also pushed UCLA, losing by just a touchdown. Both of those contests were on Utah's home field.
Stanford is a different animal, but it may still find a tough out on its hands. Utah already has quality wins over Utah State and BYU to its credit, and the Utes seem capable of pulling a surprise on the Cardinal. That doesn't mean they'll get out of this game with a victory, of course, but maybe it's a matchup that ends up being closer than the oddsmakers expect.
Cardinal nose tackle David Parry's status is uncertain after an injury suffered in practice.
Rankings and records: Stanford is 5-0 (3-0) on the year and ranked fifth in both major polls. The unranked Utes are 3-2 (0-2). These two teams have split their previous four meetings.
Vegas: Stanford is a 9-point favorite, while the over/under is 54.5.
Weather: A high of 68 is expected in Salt Lake City, and there's no chance of rain.
Three names to know
Kevin Hogan -- Hogan's turn as the full-time starter for Stanford has gone well so far; he's completing 62.6 percent of his passes, and has tossed 11 touchdowns against four interceptions. The Cardinal don't rely on him a ton, but he'll be effective when they call his number.
Travis Wilson -- Wilson is having a solid season under center for the Utes -- he ranks in the top half of the league in passing yards, yards per attempt and passer rating. He's thrown nine interceptions this season, which looks ugly, but six of them came in the Utes' loss to UCLA on Oct. 3. They seem to come in bunches, or not at all -- he also has a three-interception game.
Dres Anderson -- The Utes' go-to guy is fifth in the Pac-12 in receiving yardage and touchdown receptions, and his average of 21.3 yards per catch leads the league. When you average is that high, needless to say, you're an explosive player.
Two things at stake
Stanford dodged Washington's upset bid last weekend, keeping its perfect record intact, and preserving its national title game chances. The Cardinal cannot afford to trip up against Utah, not with back-to-back-to-back games against UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon on the horizon. They can come back from a loss to the Utes and still win the division, but it might mean the end of their national title chances.
Utah could use the dose of confidence that would come with upsetting Stanford. More than that, it needs to start notching conference wins in a hurry. At 0-2, the Utes are probably out of the South Division discussion, but they can still make themselves bowl-eligible. The schedule isn't particularly kind in that regard, unfortunately.
How to witness
TV: Pac-12 Networks, 6 p.m. ET