Coach Whittingham's Best Victories

In honor of Coach Whit getting his 142nd win at Utah and overtaking Ike Armstrong for most program wins, I bring you a list of his Top 10 victories.

#1 Alabama (2009) - This is unquestionably Utah’s best win of all time, for any coach, not just Whit. It’s the win that made it possible for us to move to the Pac-12, and it secured Utah’s best poll finish: #2 in the AP Poll.

#2 USC (2016) - Sam Darnold led USC to a Rose Bowl victory and a #3 ranking in the final AP poll. But before any of that happened, Utah’s Troy Williams arguably outplayed Darnold and helped Utah to a 31-27 win. By final AP poll ranking, this is Utah’s best win of all time.

#3 TCU (2008) - This is the game that made it all possible to beat Alabama. Just say, “This press box is shaking right now!” and Utah fans everywhere know this game. TCU finished the season ranked #7.

#4 Oregon (2015) - The previous year, Oregon was in the College Football Playoff final. Utah shellacked them 62-20. This was the beginning of the end for Mark Helfrich.

#5 Michigan (2015) - This was Jim Harbaugh’s first game as Michigan head coach. Michigan ended the season ranked #12 in the AP poll.

#6 Stanford (2013) - Stanford entered the game ranked #5 in the nation and finished the season ranked #11. Until this, Utah did not have any signature Pac-12 wins.

#7 Georgia Tech (2005) - Some people were wondering if Coach Whit was going to be a good coach. In his first full season, Coach Whit guided the Utes to a bowl game and a stomping of Georgia Tech who entered the game ranked #24.

#8 Oregon (2021) - We don’t know what Oregon’s final ranking will be. I might need to move this game up if Oregon finishes strong, but knocking off the #3 team in the country 38-7 is an impressive feat. This is the most points Utah has scored against a team ranked in the AP Top 10.

#9 UCLA (2014) - UCLA entered the game ranked #8, finished the season ranked #10. This was Utah’s first victory in the Rose Bowl.

#10 BYU (2011) - Most fun I’ve ever had in Provo, bar none. This game set the tone for The Holy War in the Pac-12 era. Any loss to those guys is an upset.

Honorable Mentions:

Pittsburgh (2005) - Urban Meyer was off recruiting for Florida so Coach Whit did all the game preparation for the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. As “Co-head coach,” he helped Utah get one of its most important victories. This would be ranked higher if Whit had been the coach for the full season.

Oregon State (2008) - Oregon State had just beaten #1 USC the previous week. Oregon State held a late 8-point lead and some fans had left the stadium. 11 points in the final two minutes secured the comeback win and allowed Utah to finish the season undefeated, making the Alabama game possible. Oregon State finished the season ranked #19 in the AP poll.

Washington (2015) - This was Utah’s first win against Washington in program history. Washington was the last Pac-12 team we had never beaten. Some computers at the time even suggested Washington was the better team.

BYU (2018) - Down 20-0 at halftime and 27-7 late in the third, Utah reeled off 28 unanswered points to win the only November game between the two rivals since Utah joined the PAC-12.

Washington (2019) - Utah dug themselves a hole early and trailed 14-3 early in the second quarter. However, Utah’s defense stiffened and dominated the rest of the game, giving Utah the inside track to the South Division Championship.

What say you? What wins would you rank and how would you rank them?

The win at Washington in 2019 that allowed us to go the PAC12 championship game. That was big. But probably not any bigger than the games you mentioned.

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Excellent list and recap of each game. Very fun and to read and remember. I can’t argue with any of your rankings.

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List works for me and a great trip down memory lane.


I could add it to the honorable mentions. We have precious few victories against Washington.