Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh, but looking at Utah's upcoming schedule and comparing it to their past losses, it isn't a surprise that you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. It's been a season much like a rollercoaster, ups and downs and I doubt that changes much over the coming months. Which is a shame, because I thought the Utes would actually put together some solid runs this season and build a respectable record in not only preseason, but conference play. That hasn't happened and I doubt it will.
So when the dust settles at the end of the year, what will Utah's record be and will it be good enough to give Giacoletti a fourth season with the Utes? Well, let's start by answering the first question by looking at Utah's schedule.
It's best to break it up into three categories. Sure wins (or as sure as possible with this Utah team), probable wins (games the Utes should win, but could also lose) and probable losses ( games I don't see the Jazz winning).
That's 3 wins to Utah's 3-5 record. So hey, break out the champagne, the Utes are getting to at least 6-wins on the season!
I don't think the Utes will win all of these games, even though they should. Let's say they win all but one, which gives them 11-wins on the season. This of course does not count the post-UCF San Juan Shootout, which could put Utah's win total at 12-13, depending on if they beat UCF and another game in the tournament.
After that it gets pretty ugly...
Air Force/@ Air Force
San Diego State/@ SDSU
Utah is just not a good road team this year and I think they'll struggle in every conference road game. They're capable of pulling off an upset, but just as capable of losing to TCU on the road, so who knows what'll happen. In the end, unless they pull a stunner and run all the way through the Mountain West Conference Tournament, I don't see them sniffing .500 this season. I'd peg their record at around 12-17 (not counting the MWC Tourney). In my mind, that would not be enough wins to keep Giacoletti around and I do believe a change would be in order.
If Giacoletti is going to save his butt, he'll need to string together some big wins in conference play, or it's over with. There is no reason this Utah team, with as easy of a preseason schedule they had, should be below .500 on the season. I thought 18 wins should be expected this season and I still believe the talent is/was there for that to be attained. That makes the failure of this season even harder to accept. Here's to Giacoletti turning it around and the Utes actually do play well once conference play starts.