Since we're quickly approaching the Holy War, I thought I'd bring up an interesting what if scenario: What would have happened if Kyle Whittigham had chosen the BYU job over Utah?. There are several aspects to this question that make it interesting:
1 . Who would replaced Urban Meyer?
Mike Sanford; one of the other leading candidates to replace Meyer had already bolted to UNLV, (yeah....that worked out well). So who would have been 'the man'?. Let's not forget folks 2005 wasn't all that bad but it was still a season to forget (besides the OT win in Provo and the Emerald Bowl of course) In other words any coach (including Kyle) knew beforehand that the Utah job was a rebuilding task. I really can't think of anyone else who would have stepped up.
2: Had K-Whitt taken the BYU job, how well would he have fared?
When I said Utah was a rebuilding job, the same goes here. BYU was a mess thanks to the horrible Gary Crowton era nevertheless BYU did have some talent to work with. (for starters, they didn't have to break in a new QB like Utah). I honestly believe Coach Whitt would have done just fine at BYU. 12-0 good? I'm a little more hesitant to give him that much credit. Another aspect that Utah fans can be thankful for is that if Kyle went blue, he most likely would have taken Gary Anderson with him. (thus our defense would have taken a huge hit).
3. Would 13-0 even have happened if Kyle left?
Was Kyle Whittingham lucky?, was the Utes magical run in 2008 more the product of all the right chips falling into place (mediocre high profile opponent, our biggest games were at home and a Div II team on our OOC schedule) or was the Utes great run a reflection of good coaching?. In all honesty I have to say it was a little bit of both. I don't wish to take anything away from Kyle Whittinghams achievements but we did catch some real lucky breaks last year (case and point: TCU practically gave us a game with missed field goals) but on the same token Utah 2008 showed they could really play ( case and point: the OSU thriller and the Sugar Bowl domination). In the end I have to admit 13-0 would not have happened if Kyle left.
Looking back, I remember going though the 2004 offseason wishing and hoping Coach Whitt would have stayed with us. At the time there was a part of me that really thought that he would become the Cougars coach. Luckily he proved me wrong and I have to say despite the bumps in Coach Whitt's coaching road (7-5 in his first year, the UNLV loss and two strait losses to BYU) I have to say I don't regret his path choice one bit.
Kyle Whittingham is the man!!!