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Kyle Whittingham, Kalani Sitake and Blake Anderson all took a big jump in this ranking of college football’s top coaches

SHARE Kyle Whittingham, Kalani Sitake and Blake Anderson all took a big jump in this ranking of college football’s top coaches
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham watches warmups during the opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Sept. 2, 2021.

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham watches warmups during the season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Whittingham jumped into the top 10 of Sporting News’ college football coach rankings.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

How did last year’s success impact the national perspective of Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, BYU’s Kalani Sitake and Utah State’s Blake Anderson?

All three made a significant jump in Sporting News’ annual rankings of the nation’s FBS college football head coaches released this week.

BYU, Utah and Utah State all finished the 2021 season ranked in the final Associated Press top 25 rankings, and each had a double-digit win total.

While there were other coaches who experienced bigger jumps in Sporting News’ rankings, that kind of success still resulted in a sizable leap for each of the three Utah coaches.

That included Whittingham earning his highest ranking ever by Sporting News, similar to his jump in CBS Sports’ ranking of Power Five coaches that came out last month.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, left, and Utah State head coach Blake Anderson speak before an NCAA college football game.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, left, and Utah State head coach Blake Anderson speak before an NCAA college football game Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Logan, Utah. Both Sitake and Anderson jumped double-digit spots in Sporting News’ rankings of college football’s head coaches.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Where is USU’s Blake Anderson in Sporting News’ coach rankings?

  • Ranking: No. 70.
  • 2021 comparison: Moved up 26 spots from No. 96 last year.
  • What Utah State did in 2021: Anderson led the Aggies to an 11-3 record, a Mountain West Conference championship and an LA Bowl win in his first season in Logan. Utah State finished the season ranked No. 24 in the AP poll.

Where is BYU’s Kalani Sitake in Sporting News’ coach rankings?

  • Ranking: No. 29.
  • 2021 comparison: Moved up 17 spots from No. 46 last year.
  • What BYU did in 2021: The Cougars had their second straight double-digit win season, going 10-3 and beating six Power Five programs. BYU finished the season ranked No. 19 in the AP poll.

Where is Utah’s Kyle Whittingham in Sporting News’ coach rankings?

  • Ranking: No. 10.
  • 2021 comparison: Moved up nine spots from No. 19 last year.
  • What Utah did in 2021: In Whittingham’s 17th season as Utah’s head coach, the Utes went 10-4, won their first Pac-12 title and made their first appearance in the Rose Bowl. Utah finished the season ranked No. 12 in the AP poll.
  • Sporting News analysis: “It might come as a surprise that this is his first top-10 appearance, but the Utes have made the jump to a borderline top-10 program under his watch. Utah has the best record in the Pac-12 in the CFP era at 68-31, and Whittingham has developed a steady wave of NFL talent in that stretch,” Sporting News’ Bill Bender wrote. 
  • “Why isn’t he ranked higher? The top nine coaches all have what he needs next: A CFP appearance.”