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The signature season of Kyle Whittingham’s head coaching tenure didn’t require any salvaging, as Utah went 13-0 in 2008. Yet a case could be made that Whittingham has done his best work in years when his football team recovered after struggling in the first half of the season, and 2018 is shaping up as another one of those examples.
The media get three weekly snapshots of Whittingham — in his postgame news conference, his formal session Monday and a less formal briefing after Tuesday’s practice. Judging his level of satisfaction is always tricky, but his demeanor Tuesday suggested he’s happier with this team than any he has coached in a long time.
That makes sense. The Utes produced the program’s most dominant October performance since 2004, responding admirably after an 0-2 start in Pac-12 play. The obvious question becomes whether they can finish a drive to their first Pac-12 South title. I would say this: The Utes may lose a game in November, possibly Saturday at Arizona State, but it wouldn’t stem from a flat performance by Utah. There’s something different about this team, and an opponent will have to outplay the Utes to beat them.
It was a remarkable October for the Utes, ending with a strong showing at the Rose Bowl. (TRIB)
Utah teams of the past may have let UCLA hang around, but not this one. (TRIB)
After playing Friday, the Utes got Saturday off and witnessed chaos in the Pac-12. (TRIB)
Like every program, Utah takes some recruits away from other schools and loses some, including Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin. (TRIB)
Utah cornerback Javier Guidry is making a bigger impact than you may have realized. (TRIB)
Once a fixture in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Utes are back in the first standings of 2018. (TRIB)
Freshman tight end Brant Kuithe might be Utah’s biggest surprise this season, while his twin brother can only watch. (TRIB)
Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner did an enterprising study of how the Utah and other football coaching jobs rank in appeal in the conference. (MERC)
The Utes not only have risen to the top of the Pac-12 South, but they’re making a league-wide impression. (ORE)
Freshman receiver Solomon Enis will make a hometown appearance Saturday. (DNEWS)
Here’s a look at the Utes, from a Sun Devil perspective. (SPARKY)
• Welcome to basketball season. The Ute women’s team showed a fast-paced, entertaining style in a 118-80 exhibition win over Westminster College on Wednesday, and the Ute men’s team will stage its only exhibition contest Thursday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) vs. College of Idaho at the Huntsman Center. The Runnin' Utes are expected to live up to their basketball-specific nickname, with a deep, athletic roster in coach Larry Krystkowiak’s eighth season.
• The Ute women’s soccer team has produced a solid regular season that will end Friday at Colorado. Utah (8-8-2, 5-4-1 Pac-12) is tied for fifth place in the conference, one point behind fourth-place Colorado. The Utes, coming off a 0-0 tie with conference co-leader USC, can make an NCAA Tournament case for themselves in Boulder.
• Utah’s women’s volleyball team completed a season sweep of a good Washington team last weekend. The Utes (13-10, 5-7) are tied with Washington for eighth place, but are only one game out of fifth place. Conceding a loss Sunday at Stanford, with the Cardinal unbeaten in conference play, Utah needs to avenge a September defeat by beating California on Friday.