George Kliavkoff Believes Utah Could ‘Contend For National Championship This Year’

Jul 27, 2021, 9:45 PM
George Kliavkoff - Pac-12 Media Day...
(Photo courtesy of John McGillen, Pac-12)
(Photo courtesy of John McGillen, Pac-12)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – New Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff gave some high praise to Utah football entering the 2021 season.

Before taking the Pac-12 commissioner job, George Kliavkoff didn’t know much about the University of Utah.

“Honestly, no,” Kliavkoff told KSL Sports during Pac-12 Media Day. “I have never been to the University of Utah. I look forward to it. I have spent a lot of time in your airport but have not been to the campus and I can’t wait. I hear the football environment is among the best in the conference. I have been to other football environments in the Pac-12 and I can’t wait to see it.”

Now that Kliavkoff has been on the job officially for nearly one month, he has gotten to know Kyle Whittingham’s program and thinks they have what it takes to compete for a National Championship.

“I think they are ready to compete for a National Championship, the way they are lining up,” Kliavkoff stated. “I think they were picked to be second. I think they have every opportunity to get a CFP invitation.”

Those words meant a lot to the three Utah football individuals that represented the program at Pac-12 Media Day, including head coach Kyle Whittingham, wide receiver Britain Covey and linebacker Devin Lloyd.

“That’s high praise from the commissioner,” Whittingham told KSL Sports. “I will thank him for that but we feel like we have a lot of good players on our roster. This might be the best roster from top to bottom depth-wise that we have ever had since joining the Pac-12 which is a pretty good statement because 2019 we were a pretty darn good football team. Had some other good teams as well. We just gotta stay healthy, which is key, catch some breaks along the way and have everyone be willing to sacrifice and do the things you need to do to win a championship.”

Covey was asked what he thought of the commissioner’s high praise.

“It means a lot that he believes in us like that,” Covey said to KSL Sports. “It’s really cool and expectations like that, they are all out of house. You keep the in-house – you know, Kyle Whittingham, blue-collar, chip on your shoulder mentality at all times.”

Lloyd weighed in as well.

“It’s an honor and a blessing,” Lloyd said. “At the end of the day, this is preseason, this is all hype, but I am glad that more than one person has that mentality. Whether you are with us or against us, we plan to meet our expectations and handle things the right way to the best of our abilities.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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George Kliavkoff Believes Utah Could ‘Contend For National Championship This Year’