Mendenhall and Whittingham Create Football State In Utah

Doug BowmanContributor IJune 26, 2009

FORT COLLINS, CO - NOVEMBER 01:  Head coach Bronco Mendenhall of the Brigham Young Cougars directs his team against the Colorado State Rams at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on November 1, 2008 in Fort Collins, Colorado. BYU defeated CSU 45-42.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

A few years ago, the state of Utah's college football programs were up in the air.

BYU had become a stale program, causing the administration to make a change in leadership. Utah had taken off to a Fiesta Bowl win, Urban Meyer had left for Florida, and the administration had to make a change in leadership.

Enter Bronco Mendenhall at BYU and Kyle Wittingham at Utah, and the state of football in Utah rises up again.

Both schools rank among the best mid-major programs in the country and both were mentioned last year as possibilities to be a BCS buster.

Of course, the Utes came throw with an undefeated season behind quarterback Brian Johnson and capped it off with a stunning victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Aside from last year's success, no one is doubting the future of both of these programs.

The depth is there on both sides, with recruiting getting better and better for both the Utes and the Cougars.

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Everyone knows the chances of both Wittingham and Mendenhall staying at their respective schools for the remainder of their coaching careers is zero. Over the next 2-3 years, odds are both of these schools will be looking for new head coaches.

While they are still at BYU and Utah, they can appreciate what they have done for the state.

The annual game between the two schools is no longer a battle for bragging rights only. It's a battle to remain in the BCS picture.

In the years before Mendenhall took over, the rivalry was one-sided. It was often the 3-7 Cougars looking to disrupt a big bowl berth for the Utes.

Now, the winner keeps their chances alive of playing on college football's biggest stage all because these two men came to both of their jobs with a plan and continue to come everyday with a plan.

That plan?

Be the best you can be everyday, so that maybe, you will be celebrating come early January in either Miami, Tempe, or New Orleans.