The Chronicle’s View: Despite Setbacks Season Was a Success

By and

This time just a year ago, U football coach Ron McBride was contending with headhunters out for his job for the umpteenth time after the promise of a potential conference championship quickly degenerated into a 4-7 finish.

Through it all, he remained unperturbed, expressing support for his players, making changes to the staff and personnel and all the while maintaining his belief that his football team was a good one.

A year later, McBride, his staff and his players deserve credit for finally becoming the team they always anticipated they would be?even if no one else did.

After starting the year ranked sixth among the Mountain West Conference’s eight members, this group of Utes put the exclamation point on its reclamation project by defeating the hallowed University of Southern California on Christmas day in the Las Vegas Bowl to finish the year at 8-4.

All year long, these Utes faced adversity. Pundits questioned their ability and their discipline. Irate and impatient followers bemoaned keeping McBride around. And just about everyone wondered about the sanity of employing virtually the same personnel that had floundered a year before.

The program was cited in a university investigation for secondary NCAA violations. Players were suspended for infractions ranging from assault to using scholarship funds to buy books for a younger brother. And, of course, there was a late season swoon that included a bitter loss to ever-hated rival BYU.

Through it all, McBride kept up the quality of the program and the athletes kept up the quality of their play.

In the end, while some people will inevitably bemoan the attention given to college athletics, ultimately, in this day and age, universities are often recognized as much for the quality of their football teams as for their academic acumen.

While the merits and flaws of such a system can be debated, The Daily Utah Chronicle simply prefers to congratulate the U football team for a great season?one the entire university and community can and should be proud of.