There must be something to it. I don’t know. I’d have to study that. —Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham on his team's poor record against Pac-12 North
SALT LAKE CITY — For whatever reason, Utah has struggled against teams from the Pac-12 North the past two seasons. The Utes enter Saturday’s game at 15th-ranked Washington with a 1-6 record against squads from the “other division” over the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.
“I didn’t realize we were 1-6 against the North. There must be something to it. I don’t know. I’d have to study that,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that he just kind of looks at the big picture and hasn’t really pulled the North teams out of the equation.
After all, each Pac-12 game counts the same.
However, since joining the conference in 2011, the Utes have had just one winning record in their annual four-game slate against the North. They went 4-0 in 2015. Three seasons ended with 2-2 marks (2011, 2012 and 2014), while three featured more losses than wins (2013, 2016, 2017).
A scheduling rotation leaves two teams from the division featuring California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State off of Utah’s slate each year. The Utes face South Division foes Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA and USC every season.
Utah hasn’t been too stellar in the latter, either. The only team in Pac-12 South without an outright division championship has gone 4-1 against the field once (2016). The only other winning record came in 2013. Other than that, the Utes went 2-3 twice (2011, 2015) and 1-4 two times (2012, 2013). They enter next week’s home finale with Colorado at 2-2 in Pac-12 South games.
Utah (5-5, 2-5) at No. 15/16 Washington (8-2, 5-2)
Husky Stadium, Seattle
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. (MT)
Radio: ESPN 700AM
HOMECOMING, OF SORTS: Utah backup quarterback Troy Williams began his college career with the Washington Huskies. Saturday’s game will mark his first return to Husky Stadium as a player.
“I haven’t been back (to Seattle) in a while,” Williams said. “So it’ll be good to get back out there, see some of my buddies, and hopefully go out there and get a win.”
WAIT AND SEE: No injury update on the Utes. That’s just the way it is.
“I never talk about injuries but we have a bunch of guys that we’re going to have to wait another day or two to determine whether or not they’ll be available on Saturday,” Whittingham said.
The situation, he expounded, has its challenges. New game plans are installed on Tuesdays and getting reps is important.
“So even when a guy gets declared late in the week healthy, it’s not ideal,” said Whittingham, who explained that the lack of practice time is not the best situation.
However, he noted, it’s better than not being able to play.