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Whittingham's most masterful coaching job yet?

Kyle Whittingham has won over seventy-percent of his games at Utah. He's produced an undefeated season, led the Utes to a second-place finish nationally and a Sugar Bowl win over the Alabama Crimson Tide

It's hard to imagine, at least from the coaching perspective, that '08 could ever be topped - outside, you know, winning the whole thing. 

Yet, with two weeks remaining in the '11 regular season, the case could be made that this year is his best coaching job ever at Utah and it might not even be close. 

'08 was great and certainly this post isn't here to diminish what Utah did. But that was also with a team loaded with senior leadership, a great quarterback, a balanced running attack and a defense that was not only stocked with talent, but bundled with experience. 

This year's team, though, has lost its quarterback, started over with its running game and rebuilt parts of its defense - all the while entering a BCS conference and they still managed bowl eligibility. 

A few weeks ago, after the California debacle, that seemed unlikely. Eight wins seemed inconceivable. 

Now, however, this team has a good chance, depending on how the final three games go, of surging to nine victories, which, all things considered, would be something of a miracle. 

Already, even without the prestigious rankings and BCS contention, this season is more satisfying and successful than what Utah did last year. The Utes, a year ago today, had just been beaten down two weeks in a row against the TCU Horned Frogs and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Sure, they still had a chance to win ten games and beat BYU, but everything, after that lay down against the Irish, seemed hollow. 

There won't be ten-wins this season and it's possible the Utes even have a couple more losses ahead of them, but it's not hard to suggest this season, more than any other, shows how valuable Kyle Whittingham, and the staff he's built, is to this program. 

Not many teams can counter with losing their starting quarterback by winning four of their last five - three of which have come in blowout fashion. 

But that's exactly what the Utes have done this season. Once sitting at 3-4 and on the cusp of a losing campaign, Whittingham rallied the troops and now Utah's the hottest team, outside USC, in the Pac-12 South. 

8-4 is now not only a possibility, it's actually now starting to be the expectation. 

All this with a D-II quarterback and, even today, a fairly one-dimensional offense.