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Pac-12 Season in Review: Utah Utes

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To begin the series of psycho-analysis of every Pac-12 Conference team, we start with the Utah Utes. The song selected for them fits their wild season---one which was full of ebbs and flows of a whole bunch of what ifs.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

As every single Pac-12 Conference fan is aware, there is just one game left in the 2014-15 college football season, and it features a member of their beloved conference.  Whether you're a Beaver or a Duck, we can all take solace in rooting for one of our own to hoist the inaugural College Football Playoff trophy and kidnap it to the West Coast.

With the season over for everyone but Oregon, we here at Pacific Takes will be unveiling a fun little series that will be somewhat of a summation of each club's 2014 season.  We won't get too serious and we hope you won't either.

Rather than just babble on for an entire post, I'll be using hit songs from 2014 to help drive the point home.  If you've never heard the song before, great, listen to it.  Even if you haven't, I'll be bringing up the lyrics as we go through to make my point.

Again, this is all in good humor and the name of chalky 2014 music.  Because you know here are Pacific Takes we are always "Happy" and we don't want you "to be so rude."

Without further adieu, we'll open our 12-team cavalcade with the Utah Utes, their song being:

I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore - Rise Against

Unfortunately, what has happened after the season has been more of a story for the Utes than what transpired on the gridiron just a few short months ago.  The first lyric from the song we'll use to display that, is well,

"I don't want to be here anymore/...Your paradise is something I've endured/...I'm listening with one foot out the door"

After just one season with the Utah Utes, offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Dave Christensen clearly didn't want to be here anymore, as he shot right out the door for the evil empire, the SEC West (Texas A&M to be more specific).  The move is puzzling because while he may see it as a step up the ladder, he'll only become the offensive line coach.

Kalani Sitake had been with the Utes since 2005, serving as their linebackers' coach up until 2008, before taking over the role of defensive coordinator in addition to that in 2009.  Although he played at Brigham Young, Sitake had seemingly found a home in Salt Lake City.  Suddenly, he jumped ship to become the defensive coordinator at Oregon State, meaning he won't go far.  In the moment, the move seems incredibly unilateral.

It couldn't end there.  The daily back and forth over whether or not Kyle Whittingham will remain the head football coach at Utah has become exhausting.  With nearly every media source claiming to have the scoop, it has created a whole muck of confusion.  No matter the outcome, the coaching staff has in someway or the other been vexed over.  The Utah paradise was something they endured.

"On hand and foot we answered every single call"

It seemed that Devontae Booker did answer literally every single call during the season.  When quarterback Travis Wilson proved unable to move the ball consistently (which happened on quite a few occasions), the offense consisted of Booker left, Booker right, Booker up the middle.

On the season, he'd carry the ball 292 times for 1,512 yards and 10 touchdowns.  In addition to that, he'd catch the ball 43 times as well, amassing an additional 306 yards and two touchdowns.  (He'd also return three kicks for 57 combined yards.)  His backup, Bubba Poole, would carry the ball just 49 times and catch it only 12.  In the days of the two-back system most every team in any level of football runs, Booker was the one who answered with his feet nearly every single time.

"The point where we break gets closer everyday/But where do we go?/But where do we go?"

For the first time since 2011, the Utes had a winning season.  It would be their first nine-win campaign since 2010.  After two rough years, the Utes seem to finally have it all back together.

But this is not a fan base that is satisfied with middling at the middle of the Pac-12.  They beat big, bad Alabama back in the 2009 Sugar Bowl without the advantages of the recruiting and funding of what could be the most complete conference in the nation.  Nobody else in the state of Utah has Pac-12 ties; the Utes should have a stronghold on much of the recruiting.

So as the song beckons, "Where do we go?," the question becomes, well, where do the Utes go?  Their only two significant losses came to the two teams that played one another in the Pac-12 Championship Game in Arizona and Oregon (they'd lose their other two games by a combined four points).  Are the Utes poised to make a jump up and make an appearance in next year's Pac-12 title game?  Or are they going to regress back towards the middle of the pack?

The point where the fan base breaks is getting closer everyday.