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The odds say Utah won’t be the only Pac-12 football team that wins a bowl game this season.
The Utes distinguished themselves last December by beating West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, during a season when the conference’s eight other bowl contestants all lost. Coupled with the conferences’s poor showing in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the Pac-12 faced some harsh reviews.
The forgivable element of the bowl effort was that only Oregon and Arizona lost as favorites. This season, only seven Pac-12 teams became bowl-eligible, and four are favorites in their games: Utah, Oregon, Washington State and Stanford.
Arizona State, opening the Pac-12′s postseason schedule Saturday vs. Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl, is an underdog; so are California and Washington. If the Huskies beat Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, that would help restore some of the Pac-12′s national status.
Quarterback Tyler Huntley returned to practice as the Utes began Holiday Bowl preparation. (TRIB)
Ute athletic director Mark Harlan recounted the process of Utah’s landing the bid to San Diego. (TRIB)
The coach staff lost Gary Andersen... again. But Kyle Whittingham quickly replaced him with a former Ute star. (TRIB)
Gymnastics expert Lya Wodraska has rejoined our coverage, beginning with this Red Rocks preview. (TRIB)
The men’s basketball team’s performance against BYU was discouraging. (TRIB)
Though, the women’s basketball team’s performance against BYU was encouraging. (TRIB)
So it was natural to compare the two programs after Tuesday’s dual news conferences with the coaches. (TRIB)
Ute women’s basketball player Sarah Porter is determined to make a difference, this season and in her future pursuits. (TRIB)
In his monthly podcast, Harlan reviewed the athletic program’s November achievements and answered some fan questions about the Rice-Eccles Stadium expansion project. (UTES)
The San Diego Union-Tribune covered the promotional appearance by Whittingham and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. (U-T)
BYU’s football players already are looking forward to hosting the Utes on Aug. 29. (DNEWS)
Athletic department news
-With her football-playing brothers, Jackson and Cody Barton, making their last appearances for the Utes in the Holiday Bowl, Ute volleyball star Dani Drews will be the only member of her family competing for Utah Athletics next year. As a sophomore, Drews made the volleyball coaches' All-America second team, which was announced this week. Having led the Utes to the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32, Drews is the 12th player in school history to be named All-America. Kenzie Koerber, another sophomore, received honorable mention.
“The fact that they are both only sophomores is exciting for our program, as well as for them,” Ute coach Beth Launiere said.
-The women’s basketball team’s 78-67 win over BYU at the Huntsman Center was recognized with two Pac-12 awards, the first weekly sweep in the program’s history. Senior forward Megan Huff was named the conference’s player of the week after scoring 28 points (including 24 in the second half) and guard Dru Gylten was voted the Freshman of the Week after posting 17 points and eight assists.