Kalani Sitake, Kyle Whittingham Among Top Coaches Voted To Win ‘Battle Royale’

Aug 6, 2021, 6:57 PM
Kyle Whittingham - Utah Utes - Kalani Sitake - BYU Cougars - Golfing...
Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham, left, watches BYU coach Kalani Sitake walk during the annual National Kidney Foundation fundraiser and golf invitational at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy, Utah, on June 19, 2017. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Kalani Sitake and Kyle Whittingham are friends away from the gridiron. But how would they respond in a battle royale? Coaches around the college football landscape believe they would be two guys that you don’t want to see in a fight to the death.

ESPN polled their staff covering college football, asking them a variety of questions here in the pre-season. One of the questions was, “Who are the top coaches to win a ‘battle royale’?”

Kalani Sitake, Kyle Whittingham top coaches to win in a fight

Both Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and BYU’s Kalani Sitake made the cut.

Sitake checked in at No. 5 while Whittingham, one of Sitake’s mentors, appeared one spot ahead of him at No. 4.

ESPN’s Joe Tessitore said on College Football Live, “Kalani Sitake, he’s a former fullback. He came in at number five.”

Former Georgia defensive lineman David Pollack and current ESPN analyst chimed in on Sitake, “Fullbacks are animals. They’re savages. Look at the way he’s built; that emotion!”

Notorious for his boxing broadcasting background, Tessitore introduced Whittingham, “Kyle Whittingham came in at fourth. He’s a cagey veteran. He’s got that old-school strength.”

Pollack then asked Tessitore, “Did you call [Whittingham] old?”

Tessitore responded, “Hey, he’s a good athlete now!”

Top Five Battle Royale College Football coaches

The rest of the top five consisted of coaches from three different Power Five conferences in LSU’s Ed Orgeron, Mario Cristobal from Oregon. And the number one coach to win a battle royale is Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald is a former Northwestern linebacker who led the Wildcats to the Rose Bowl in the 1995 season.

During the segment on College Football Live, David Pollack gave an honorable mention to former BYU head coach and current Virginia headman Bronco Mendenhall.

Pollack said, “What about Bronco Mendenhall? He’d leave there with someone’s clump of hair.”

BYU and Utah will face each other in Provo on September 11th. While Sitake’s squad will see Mendenhall’s Virginia Cavaliers on October 30th.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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