Both the football and basketball seasons were by all accounts a success. The Runnin' Utes advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2009 season and made their first sweet sixteen appearance since the 2005 season. The football team was able to
Here's a quick recap of how both programs finished their respective seasons.
The men's basketball team finished the year 26-9 overall, 13-5 in conference, good for a final ranking of 15th in the coaches poll and tied for second place in the Pac-12. The Running Utes faced six ranked opponents during the season, going 1-5, beating
In football, the Utes returned to the top 25, finishing the year ranked 22nd in the College Football Playoff rankings. They faced 5 opponents who were ranked at the time they played, finishing 2-3 against those opponents. Nate Orchard, Tom Hackett and Kaelin Clay were named all-
It's hard to definitively measure the success of the basketball team against the football team. The two sports are very different from each other. The differences vary from length of schedule,
Expectations were higher for Larry Krystkowiak's Runnin Utes than they were for Kyle Whittingham's team on the gridiron. Heading into the season the basketball program was seen as being on the rise, while some questioned whether Whittingham would have a job at the end of the year. The basketball team was picked in the preseason to finish second in conference, and finishing second is exactly where they ended up, meeting expectations. The football team was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 south, and that is also exactly where they ended up. Due to the depth of the Pac-12 south this season, the fourth place finish doesn't tell the whole story. The football team finished the season in the top 25 with a both a winning record overall and in conference and qualified for a bowl game. It's fair to say they exceeded expectations by a good margin.
The best measure of success, however, is how close a team gets to winning it all. The best teams in Utah's history in any sport, are remembered because of their post season performances. In basketball, everyone remembers the run to the NCAA championship game. In football, it's the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar bowl teams.
By this measure, the basketball team had the better the season. Even though their base expectation was higher than the football team, they made it into the final group of 16 teams vying for the national championship in their sport. They were able to win two elimination games, one against a nationally recognized opponent in Georgetown, and the team to finally eliminate the Utes was the eventual national champion Duke, in a game they were very much
The football team had a successful season in their own right, returning to the rankings, beating both the southern California schools, making it to a nationally televised bowl game and dominating an opponent many thought they might lose
The fact is the basketball team finished three wins from finding themselves in the championship game while the football team was never really in the hunt. In measuring against all the great teams in Utah history, the 2014-15 basketball team this season ranks higher than the football team. What do you think? Let is us know in the comments who you think had the better season.