When Utah takes the field this Thursday against Oregon State, every player on the team last year will remember the blowout loss in Corvallis. There is no denying the revenge aspect of this game, especially with how things went down at the start of the 2007 season. That's not to say Oregon State did anything wrong, but it was an embarrassing loss that ended Matt Asiata's year and took Brian Johnson out for the first few weeks of the season. Thursday, though, they can give the Beavers the same courtesy Oregon State gave Utah a year ago.
Since taking over the Ute football program in 2005, Kyle Whittingham has lost 14 games. Most of those losses have come against opponents Utah would face again under Whittingham, providing the Utes a chance for a bit of payback. And while the coaching staff has its faults, playing the payback game doesn't seem to be one of them. Of the teams the Utes have lost to and faced again the next year, Kyle Whittingham has successfuly adopted the phrase fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Not many teams have been capable of getting back-to-back victories over Whittingham's Utes and hopefully this is a trend that continues when Utah meets Oregon State.
In 2005, Utah lost to four teams they would face in 2006. Of those teams, only New Mexico beat Utah again a year later.
The Frogs stunned Utah in overtime back in 2005, ending the program's 18-game winning streak. Since, though, TCU has not been able to beat the Utes, losing 20-7 in 2006 (one of only two losses for the Frogs that year) and last season 27-20. The two meet later this month in Salt Lake.
Utah lost to the Rams in 2005 by a very narrow margin, however, have won their last two against CSU by a combined score of 62-25. The two meet later this season in Salt Lake City, but the results should mirror the last two games instead of the first.
Like the Rams, San Diego State recorded a victory against the Utes in Whittingham's first season. And exactly like Colorado State, they've been incapable of beating Utah since. In fact, the past two meetings have been blowout wins for Utah, with the Utes winning 38-7 in 2006 and 23-7 last year. Utah meets San Diego State later in the season.
As mentioned, the Lobos are the only conference team Whittingham started 0-2 against. They defeated Utah in Salt Lake City in 2005 and then came back from a major halftime deficit to beat them at home in 2006. Last season, however, Utah got its revenge, defeating the Lobos 28-10.
In 2006, Utah again had five losses, yet, only three came in conference play. But one out of conference opponent would show up on Utah's schedule a year later...
The Bruins rolled Utah to start the 2006 season and that really set the tone for a rocky year under Whittingham. Utah did rebound and finished the season strong, but that loss would hang over the team the rest of the way. Utah got its revenge, though, when they crushed UCLA 44-6 in Salt Lake a year later.
A road game in Laramie is never easy, but for the Utes, it turned disastrous. The Cowboys rolled Utah 31-15 and the loss left the Utes demoralized and on the verge of collapse. They didn't fully tank, but Utah didn't easily get over its loss to Wyoming, as was evident when the Utes rolled them 50-0 a year later.
I brought up New Mexico, as they defeated Utah in both 2005 and 2006. However, as stated earlier here, the Utes got back at them with a pretty dominant win in Salt Lake over a good Lobo team.
Joining New Mexico as the only team in the conference to beat Utah two years in a row. Both games came down to the final play and both losses were by single digits. The revenge factor failed Utah in 2007, as they lost by seven down in Provo, but could be a huge factor when the two teams meet in November. Especially when you add in the fact no Mountain West team has ever recorded three wins over Whittingham, let alone three in a row.
The 2007 season saw four losses, one less than the two years prior. Utah has already played two of the teams they lost to in 2007 and by Friday morning, it will be three. That's where Oregon State enters.
The Beavers easily defeated Utah to start the 2007 season and now Thursday Whittingham and Co will get a chance to do as they've done to many teams before...get a little revenge.
The Falcons beat a wounded Utah team in the second game of the 2007 season, leaving many fans wondering if Utah's season was over before it really even began. It wasn't and Utah has pretty much rolled since. They got their vengeance this year, beating the Falcons in Colorado Springs 30-23.
The loss many of us want to forget, yet we never can. Utah was fresh off a victory over UCLA and failed to show up against the Rebels. The 27-0 loss was the low point of the Whittingham era, but as it is with alcoholics, sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you start your journey toward the top again. It appears that is exactly what Utah has done, going 13-1 since the debacle and that includes a solid 42-21 victory over UNLV earlier this season.
And there you have it, every loss to a team that has made another appearance on Utah's schedule under Whittingham. Of his 14 losses, 12 have been against teams the Utes have played or will play (if you count Oregon State) more than once. The two other losses were to North Carolina in 2005 and Boise State in 2006. That means Whittingham is 11-2 in games against teams he has lost to before. That does not count the 2005 Air Force, UNLV and Wyoming wins, nor the victory over UNLV in 2006.
What does this all mean? Probably nothing, but when Whittingham loses, it generally isn't to the same team. There are two exceptions, but even the first, New Mexico, has ended with a Utah victory. So really, the only two teams Whittingham has yet to get revenge on are Oregon State and BYU. Hopefully, in both cases, that changes this season.