that included top 10 teams like USC, Oregon, Stanford and then again either Stanford or Oregon (in the Pac12 CCG) PLUS the rest of the average to decent teams in the conference (like Wash, Oregon St, Cal, ASU, etc) and managed to do it undefeated?
It's never happened in Utah's history. Otoh, BYU has managed to run through a rag tag schedule and remained undefeated and been able to get their team into the top 4 by the end of the season in their history once before.
Which seems more likely? On the one hand: never happened. On the other hand: happened once before. It's not rocket science.
It will be profoundly easier for a school like Oregon, stanford or USC to run the table in the Pac12 and finish the season in the top 4 and get a shot at the playoffs because they've managed to do it before plus get really close on several other occasions, than it will for BYU to do it as an independent. That, I'm not arguing with you.
But just because Utah's in the Pac 12 doesn't mean it's just as easy for them as it is for the perennial powers in that conference. That's like saying it's easier for Washington St to get to the 4 team playoff than it is for BYU. utah finished 8th place in it's first season in teh Pac12 and that was with the absolute easiest schedule in the conference to boot. In 2014 they start playing a real conference schedule, no more gift schedules.
"I'll admit, BYU football in the 80s was very respectable. Very cool, classic Lavell. Alot of great players. Mcmahon, Young, Detmer. Very good teams."