UTAH UTES

Kyle Whittingham Expecting Full Participation From Utah Football For Rose Bowl

Dec 5, 2022, 2:00 PM
Rose Bowl - UCLA Bruins Football...
View of the entrance to the Rose Bowl before the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Washington Huskies on October 6, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah clinched their second straight trip the Rose Bowl last Friday with a convincing win over USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The excitement surrounding the Utah football program and the highs it has recently achieved are at a fever-pitch throughout Salt Lake City. However, college football has changed over the years and many players now opt to sit out of bowl games if their Draft stock is high or enter the NCAA Transfer Portal if they feel they need a fresh start. At least early on, head coach Kyle Whittingham does not foresee anyone missing out on the Utes’ next trip to the “Granddaddy of them All” since it was a team goal to go back.

 

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“As far as the University of Utah, we had no opt-outs last year,” Whittingham said. “Everybody played. Fully expecting that to happen this year. Doesn’t mean it necessarily will but I’ve heard nothing of the sort to think any differently.”

“The Rose Bowl is a terrific game, obviously, and right in the heart of our recruiting footprint,” Whittingham continued. “We have a ton of guys from Southern Cal on our team that will be excited to play in front of friends and family. You never say ‘never’ but right now we anticipate everybody playing. Things happen, but right now that’s not the case. We’re excited to make the trip down.”

The Difference A Week Or Two Makes

Things felt very dark and kind of final for the Utes after their loss to Oregon almost a month ago. While there still was a crazy path for Utah to get to the conference championship game, it felt like a longshot and that guys were just done and ready to move on whether it was to the NFL or NCAA Transfer Portal which opened on December 5 and will run through January 18, 2023.

A week later the tune began to change as things began to fall into place for Utah to make their fourth appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game in five years.

Another week later and the Utes have seemingly flipped their script 180 degrees after beating up on the Trojans and stamping their ticket to the Rose Bowl against Penn State.

That’s not to say that guys won’t be moving on to the NFL or looking for a new home via the transfer portal, but for now it sounds like those decisions will wait till after January 2, 2023. In the here and now, 2022 Utah is too motivated to be the first team in school history to win the Rose Bowl and bring that hardware back to Salt Lake City.

 

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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