The Louisville game will mark the end of the first half (where the hell has it gone?) and I think we can all agree that it's been almost a complete train wreck. Luckily for Utah, the second half offers a chance to redeem themselves and salvage this season. But for that to happen, I believe some things need to change.
- Consistency. This season has offered embarrassing lows (UNLV) and exciting highs (UCLA). It's enough to make one queasy and if Utah is going to have any success in the second half of the season, it will need to end. That means the Utes will have to find a solid middle ground between great success and head scratching failure. If they can, it's not unreasonable to expect they win most of the remaining games on their schedule.
- Beat teams you should beat. This goes hand-in-hand with consistency and is just as important. If Utah had beat the teams they should have beat, they would be at 4-1 right now, probably ranked and the team to beat in the Mountain West Conference. Instead, they are 2-3, at the bottom of the conference and projected to finish with a losing record. All because of their inability to defeat opponents they have no business losing to (Air Force and UNLV). These are games that separate truly elite teams from the good and the bad teams. Well the past two years Utah has been good, but because of this shortcoming, they are quickly falling from the good category to the bad.
- Win the remaining home games. The remaining home schedule is rather easy, which means Utah probably will lose a game or two they shouldn't. But, if they are going to have any success this season, they will need to win every home game. Doing that will mean they fix the two above problems. Not an easy task, especially with New Mexico on Utah's home schedule, but it's imperative the Utes go 3-0 at home to end the season if they are going to find any success.
- Win at least one conference road game. It won't be easy, but Utah should win at least one conference road game. Their most likely shot is Colorado State, who are obviously struggling. But that will require the coaches to actually coach and get the players up to the level of their ability. Ideally, Utah would sweep each road game and then win the remainder of their home games to finish with a solid record. But that isn't happening, so hopefully Utah can get at least one road win and manage 6 wins on the season.
It's going to be a tough season, but it's by no means over. If Utah can get their act together and start playing at a level we thought we would see from the start, this team can get closer to bowl contention. It'll be an uphill battle no matter what, but I hope we see some progress as the year goes on.