Douglas C. Pizac-USA Today Sport
Stop me if you've heard this one...
I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!
Okay, so who was the wise guy that, back in the early 00s, turned away a man and his goat? That's the only explanation I have for the unbelievable amount of bad luck that has gripped this program since Rick Majerus rode off into the sunset.
Eight points. This is the combined margin of Utah's three conference defeats. I can't remember the last time a team has had so many opportunities to win a game and yet hasn't like the Runnin' Utes this season. Is it bad luck, inexperience ... talent? Either way, no matter what the justification, sooner or later, this team is going to have to win. I think we'll only tolerate enough close losses if it, you know, actually results in a win down the road.
Now I didn't expect Utah to beat UCLA, who has a boatload more talent than us, but I also really didn't anticipate another game where the Utes couldn't close. This isn't just about competing anymore. We've proven, even throughout parts of last season, that we can do this - but now they have to take that next step and win.
Because if they lose every single Pac-12 game by an average of 3 points, it's not going to look any more glitzier in the standings than if they lost 'em all by an average of 30 points. Now odds dictate sooner or later Utah will win, especially a close one, but right now? Right now we watch yet another game play out where the Utes go cold at the most important time.
We'll see if they can heat up and finish Saturday against USC. While I hesitate calling that game a must-win, if Utah starts the conference season 0-4, even if the losses are close, well, Lord help us.