Adams: Bowl eligibility makes this Utah team successful, no matter what happens next


— Preston Zubal

What a season the Utes are having.
With a record of 6-1, Utah is poised to have its best season since entering the Pac-12. With five games remaining, the sky is the limit for this squad, despite having a brutal stretch of games where the Utes will see Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona in consecutive weeks.
However, no matter how they finish the last five games, this season has to be declared a success. Whether Utah beats two, three, all or none of its remaining opponents, the Utes’ season is already a successful one because they are bowl eligible for the first time since John “The Wolfman” White ran the backfield.
There were a number of goals this team set for itself for the 2014 season, but I truly believe getting six wins and making it to the postseason had to be their first priority.
“Well, it’s very important to us because we haven’t been there in the last two years,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham of being bowl eligible. “That was something we’re a little bit sick and tired of.”
Of course, this team does have other goals, especially now with its hot start in the first seven games. As far as I’m concerned, however, anything achieved by the Utes after this is just a bonus.
Just for hypothetical reasons, say Utah loses the five remaining games on its schedule. I can see how it would be easy for Utah fans to consider the season a disappointment, especially with the Utes being in good position to compete for the Pac-12 South right now.
But looking at the bigger picture, getting to a bowl game, and competing like they are now, was a big step for the Utes. Maybe this step will catapult them to bigger and better things, something that isn’t as farfetched as it once seemed.
Ute fans should just take in this season. One game at a time, just appreciate the football being played and the success this team is finally having in one of the toughest conferences in the country.
On its résumé this season, Utah has a clean sweep of the SoCal schools, a perfect record on the road and wins at the Big House and the Rose Bowl. I’m not sure many people saw this coming at all, but I think it’s safe to say the Utes have finally arrived.
Whittingham doesn’t believe that Utah has “arrived.” In fact, he hates that phrase.
But this is definitely the best season the Utes have had in quite some time and that won’t change — no matter what happens in their last five games.
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