Expectations. Some love them. The pressure fuels them to great things. Others? The weight is crushing.
Kyle Whittingham’s squad enters fall camp next week in brand new territory, and that’s with expectations at a level that says ‘Pac 12 South title or bust.’ Utah is good enough to do. All of the pieces are there, and with the rest of the South having question marks all over the place, if it’s going to happen this is the year.
But how does Utah handle these expectations? The expectations within the program have been high since the days of Urban, and the fans have generally had optimism in their expectations, but within the rest of the Pac 12 and nationally, the Utes have generally been an afterthought. Now Utah is viewed as a legitimate Pac 12 South and Pac 12 championship contender by most everyone. We can sit here and say that it won’t be a distraction, but it’s naive to think that the coaches and players haven’t noticed.
When I look around the Pac 12 South and exam each team, stability is one of the most important traits I think a program can have in meeting and exceeding expectations from year to year. The Utes are easily the most stable program within that division. You know what you’re getting out of Whittingham’s squad each week. That’s why I think Utah can handle these expectations. If there’s one program in the South that is prepared to meet or exceed what the rest of think is possible, it’s the University of Utah.