Whittingham Is Prepared For National Spotlight On Utes

Nov 12, 2019, 3:56 PM | Updated: 4:27 pm
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on against the Arizona Wildcats from the sidelin...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on against the Arizona Wildcats from the sidelines at Arizona Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah has been hovering around the top 10 in the nation in both the College Football Playoff Rankings and the Associated Press Poll this season.

Now that the national spotlight is starting to shine on the program and are on the brink of breaking into the playoff picture. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been prepared for that spotlight from his experiences with the 2004 team that busted the BCS by beating Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl and also their undefeated Sugar Bowl season with a win over Alabama in 2008.

“I think so. Those were two seasons where we were obviously very successful and had some lofty rankings,” Whittingham said at his weekly press conference. “I think it was 2015 where we ascended pretty good but we kind of tailed off at the end. We are not completely unfamiliar with this territory.”

Since 2004, Utah is 16-2 in games that they were ranked in the top 10 in the AP Poll. In those 16 wins, 4 of them were against ranked opponents. The two losses came against No. 3 TCU in 2010, Utah was ranked No. 5 and the Horned Frogs were No. 3 in the nation. Utah lost the game 47-7 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The other time was in 2015 when the Utes won their first six games of the season and received a No. 3 ranking after beating two ranked opponents. They traveled to USC and lost to the unranked Trojans 42-24 on October 24.

They were only ranked in the top 10 in the College Football Playoff ranking twice, the first time was in 2015 when they were ranked No. 10. Utah lost to Arizona in double overtime in the next game. The other time was this season but the Utes were on a bye week. The first rankings were released during the bye week after Utah beat Washington 33-28 in Seattle two weeks ago.

Utah has been in the College Football Playoff for 26 weeks, which is the sixth most in the country since the Playoff era began in 2014. Only Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and LSU have had more appearances in the CFP rankings.

Now that Utah is still in the top 10 this week with a matchup with UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Whittingham isn’t focused on the national rankings.

“Easy because our focus and task is to get a win this week,” Whittingham stated. “No matter what you are ranked and no matter what that outside noise says, you can’t worry about that because no matter what it says you have to win. That is our whole focus.”

The game between Utah and UCLA this week will start at 6 p.m. and will be televised on FOX.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

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