Kyle Whittingham is the longest tenured head coach in the Pac-12, coming up on 14 years at Utah after taking over for Urban Meyer in the 2005 season. Whittingham has guided the Utes through a tough transition to the Pac-12, and after some growing pains, the Utes are now a perennial contender in the South Division. Each and every season, the Utes are competitive and teams hate playing them because of how hard nose and well coached they are. Utah has been picked as one of the favorites, at least unofficially, by many people this off season, and media outlets are giving coach Whitt some due with where they rank him in the league. Two sites, Sporting News and Athlon Sports, have Whitt in the top half, and top third of the league.
Sporting News has Whitt at No. 5 in their ranking saying:
Whittingham is a by-definition solid coach who has kept the Utes on the national radar after moving up to the Pac-12. He has only had two losing seasons as head coach, but the expectations should be a little higher now. Utah can’t go 7-6 again in 2018 for Whittingham to stay here.
A little generic in their description, but 7-6 is without a doubt the floor for this season, or well below, depending on your perspective.
As for Athlon, they put Whitt at No. 4:
Whittingham enters 2018 as the Pac-12’s longest-tenured coach. His 13 years at the helm in Salt Lake City also places him among the top five in in the nation in that respect. Whittingham’s longevity isn’t the most notable thing about his tenure, however. He’s produced consistent winners since working as a co-head coach with Urban Meyer in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl. Whittingham is 111-56 over the last 13 years and has just two losing records in that span. Utah has five finishes in the top 25 since 2008, including a No. 2 rank in the Associated Press poll in ‘08. After finishing with back-to-back 5-7 seasons from 2012-13, Utah posted three consecutive years of at least nine victories. The Utes finished 7-6 last fall but are poised to challenge for the Pac-12 South title in 2018.
I think Athlon is closer than Sporting News, because I don’t think Clay Helton should be ranked ahead of Kyle, because I think USC underachieved a bit last season. I’m not sure he is the guy that can lead them back into the National Title scene, but we’ll see over the next few years. He’s a good coach, but not better than Whitt.
Check out the respective links above and see where they rank the rest of the coaches, and let us know where you’d have Whitt.