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Utes' fight for bowl eligibility could come without Wilson

Travis Wilson, who missed the Oregon game, is likely done for the season.

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Utah football did about all it could Saturday against the Oregon Ducks and, predictably, it was not enough. Not much was expected, especially without Travis Wilson, and though the Utes did manage to put a scare into the Ducks well into the third, they lacked too many weapons on offense - despite the return of Jake Murphy - to make it a game in the end.

What's more troubling, and far more concerning, was not what happened on the field - but what happened off it. Wilson, who suffered a concussion against Arizona State, failed to even travel with the team and Kyle Whittingham's postgame comments lead me to believe there is something even worse here. We should find out officially later Monday when he holds his weekly press conference, but his words painted a picture of Wilson beyond just injury and football.

It's hard looking ahead toward the biggest game of the season, a game that could eliminate Utah from bowl contention, with this cloud hanging over the program - especially when, ultimately, football is but a spec in the ocean to a player's overall health.

I am infinitely more concerned about Wilson than whether the Utes will go bowling and would happily trade them losing these next two games for his health.

Hopefully, Wilson is okay, and even if we lose him for the season, he'll valiantly return to lead the Utes next year. He has absolutely been a warrior and, I don't hesitate to say this, the funnest quarterback I've watched at Utah. He has absolutely done everything asked of him this season, and even with injury and questionable line play and a lack of depth at receivers, his will to win was resounding. When his arm couldn't get the job done, Wilson relied on his feet.

I want to see more of that. I want to see Wilson line up under center in August, 2014, and I hope to high heaven we get that opportunity. I've said it most this season, and have no qualms reiterating it: Wilson is a special player. I picked up on it when he shrugged off some difficult interceptions against Oregon State and did just about everything to deliver Utah the win in overtime. He didn't get it done - but it wasn't for a lack of trying.

Who knows what the season holds for Adam Schulz and the Utes. It's possible any hope of bowl eligibility ended late in the fourth quarter against Arizona State. But I hope this is not the end of Wilson and that he will be able to suit up and develop into a truly remarkable quarterback here at Utah.

But most importantly, I hope he's okay. I hope whatever Whittingham eluded to is not nearly as serious as suggested and that, no matter how this season ends, Wilson will be fine and have an extremely storied football career.