Kalani Sitake looks on during a BYU game.
Sitake is on the hot seat, but I don’t think it’s as hot as everyone thinks it is.

I have to admit, this week is a little rough to get a good topic. I want to say I told you so with Deshaun Watson, but I don’t feel like being that guy.

One thing I haven’t done for a while is spotlight the local teams here in Utah. I haven’t really said anything about the Utes for a while, and BYU is an interesting case right now.

Utah Utes

Zack Moss is a beast. He may not be the best running back in the nation, but he has helped put the Utah offense back on the map during his career.

The Utes have had an interesting season so far. All of their wins have been pretty decisive. But that one loss to USC is a real killer.

The Utes were picked before the season to possibly run into the playoffs. That’s pretty on-brand for the Utes. They love busting into places they shouldn’t be at. The PAC-12 has only been to the College Football Playoffs twice, and neither time was something they enjoyed.

Tyler Huntley calls a play during a Utah Utes game
Tyler Huntley has been one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. He is a big part of why the Utes actually have a chance to run the table and reach the playoffs.

But it’s the inconsistency of the PAC-12 that could really kill the Utes chances now. Their next game against a much improved Arizona State is a good resume builder, and a win against a solid Washington team should also help. But they don’t really play anyone else. Arizona and UCLA aren’t exactly great teams.

Chip Kelly doesn’t have the squad he wants with the Bruins and Khalil Tate is not the same Heisman candidate that he was despite the Wildcats improved record. To top that off, Colorado still isn’t that great and Cal has not been a top team since the mid 2000s.

This may be the most complete Utes team since 2004. They might even better than the 2008 team that beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

If the Utes hope to make a run into the playoffs, where they actually have a solid chance of advancing, they have to hope that their next opponents win more games so that their resume looks better. Also, USC needs to look better so that the loss doesn’t look so bad, which may be difficult.

BYU

BYU lost yet another game they shouldn't have. This time it was against the South Florida Bulls, one of the most turmoiled teams in the nation.
These are definitely the “Cardiac Cougs”. But this isn’t the heart trouble fans were wishing for.

BYU lost yet another game. Only a few weeks ago, Cougars fans were clamoring for Kalani Sitake to get an extension. Now, they want him fired. I stand by my take that Sitake should stay, but there’s a new reason why.

Yes, Kalani has been great for the non-football brand of BYU. The football brand is struggling, but the head coach of BYU has a tough job. They are underpaid compared to their peers around the country.

Sitake made a bold move after the latest Cougar loss.

It’s a bold move for a coach to take blame like this in a contract year, especially when fans are at at their neck for their job.

There’s not really much more to say. Sitake could easily say that he and his coaches are doing as good as they can but the players have got to perform. I don’t think that anyone would argue or get on him for it.

But instead he did this. And his players are grateful for it.

Chaz Ah You had several offers coming out of high school, but chose BYU. Now his coach is sticking his skin out for him and Ah You’s reaction is priceless.

If you didn’t think that Sitake cared about his players before, this should prove that wrong. Sitake is willing to put everything out on the line for his players, and that’s why he’ll stay as the coach through next season. His players are going to vouch for him. Just like LSU players got Ed Orgeron to be their coach, BYU players will save Sitake’s job for at least one more year.

Kalani Sitake speaks in a press conference after BYU's 27-23 loss to USF.
Sitake is right to worry about his job, but the fact he sticks up for his players shows what kind of coach he really is. This helps him, his players and it really helps the overall brand of BYU.

Debate

Just to summarize, Utah has to hope their opponents are better (while they blow out) for them to make the playoffs while Kalani Sitake is not on as hot of seat as everyone thinks thanks in part to his players.

What do you guys think? Are the Utes playoff bound? Or did USC crash the party before the party started?

Is Kalani Sitake going to get fired? Or are his players saving his job for one more year?

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