Not an overstatement
Generally, one game does not define a coaching career, but there are exceptions. Utah's game tomorrow against Air Force is such an exception and I do not believe that is an overstatement. The outcome of this game will tell us a lot about Coach Whittingham and his staff. Their ability to motivate, change the game plan and go right an apparent sinking ship. A victory could propel Utah to a solid season, while a loss might just be one of many nails in the Whittingham coaching coffin.
So much rides on this one game and that makes for an exciting, intense situation facing Utah football. A position Utah probably hasn't been in for quite a long time and this is why I believe tomorrow's game might turn out to be one of the most important in recent Utah football history. We will look back to this game as the turning point of this coaching staff, good or bad. Utah will either rise up and face down adversity, or they will wilt like a plant yearning for light.
Maybe I'm putting too much on this game, but I just can't see a scenario where Utah loses and finishes the season above .500. This is the tipping point of Coach Whittingham's career at Utah, as a loss in my mind will start a snowball of struggle that ultimately ushers in a change at the top, either at the end of this year, or next. Obviously I do not want to see that happen and hope Whittingham is a good enough coach to get things under control. If he can, I think Utah football will be better for it, rather than if they were replacing their 3rd head coach in six years. No matter how good that replacement could be, since Urban Meyer proved Utah football is a stepping stone for many. Whittingham isn't using Utah as a stepping stone and the success he has will only make Utah better. But if he's not getting it done, change will have to be made and there will be no appeasement of mediocrity, no matter how well liked Whittingham is.
For his sake and ours as fans, I hope Whittingham wins this game and Utah rolls onward to a successful season. A victory tomorrow will give me and I'm sure most fans hope, a loss and I think it will be pretty clear where this program is heading under Whittingham.