No. 8 UCLA Bruins (4-0, 1-0) vs. Utah Utes (3-1, 0-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. PT, Rose Bowl
TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Jessica Mendoza)
Radio: 1150 Fox Sports LA / SIRIUS 136 (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Coach: Kyle Whittingham isn’t exactly on the hot seat, but the 54-year-old is at a bit of a crossroads in the midst of his 10th season at Utah.
Through his first six years, the Utes finished top-three in the Mountain West all but once — punctuating five straight postseason wins with a perfect 13-0 run to the Fiesta Bowl. His team finally stumbled in 2012 and lost to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, but still finished 23rd in the coaches’ poll.
Conference expansion knocked the program completely off course. Utah has yet to win a Pac-12 opener, and finished league play with four wins in 2011, three in 2012, and two in 2013. The Utes’ offense has finished either 11th or 12th in the Pac-12 in each of those seasons, which has pushed Whittingham into trying to juggle offensive coordinators like a bad Penn Jillette impression.
Utah’s 2014 campaign looked more promising after a road upset of Michigan, but the team followed up by blowing a 21-point lead to Washington State last weekend.
QB Travis Wilson, Jr., 6-7, 233 — 56/96, 783 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT, 33 carries, 81 rushing yards, 1 TD
– About as tough as any quarterback you’ll find in the country, the San Clemente product looks more efficient after throwing 23 touchdowns against 22 interceptions over his first two seasons. Continue reading