Now in its third season in the Pac-12, Utah needs Kyle Whittingham to orchestrate a big season if the Utes want to be relevant in the conference.
Under Whittingham as part of the Mountain West, Utah was one of the best programs not in the BCS. That success helped the Utes land a spot in the Pac-12 in 2011, but they have not replicated that success since then.
In eight seasons, Whittingham has led Utah to a 6-1 bowl record and the No. 2 ranking in the 2008 final AP poll, but things have changed recently. That bowl loss, which happened in 2010—Utah’s last season in the Mountain West—was the program’s first bowl loss since 1996. In 2012, the Utes failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 2002.
Utah underwent some tough times in 2012 when the team played three quarterbacks, according to Athlon Sports. This inconsistency at the most important position caused the whole offense to sputter. A new season and a new offensive coordinator (Dennis Erickson) should bring improvement. After all, Erickson has loads of experience and success as an FBS head coach.
Hopefully, Utah has gotten itself back on track, because Oregon and Stanford appear on the schedule for the first time as conference opponents.
I don’t think Whittingham should worry about losing his job just yet, but a strong 2013 season should put any doubt at all to rest.
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