Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has a simple way for Mountain West Conference teams to increase the league’s credibility and respect across the nation.
“We’ve got to beat our quality non-conference opponents,” he said.
The Utes have one of the biggest. They face traditional power (albeit depleted) Michigan in their opener on Aug. 30 in Ann Arbor.
Whittingham dismissed the notion that Utah might be considered the favorite because of the heavy graduation losses Michigan suffered.
“They did lose a lot of people, but I don’t care – they’re Michigan,” he said. “They’ve got four solid, great recruiting classes under their belt with people just coming up through the system.”
And considering the Wolverines were upset in their opener last season by Division I-AA Appalachian State, forget about Michigan looking past the Utes.
“I think Appalachian State already took that sneak approach … there’s heightened awareness in Ann Arbor about that happening again,” Whittingham said.