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Who’s the best college football head coach in Utah?

Here’s how Kyle Whittingham, Kalani Sitake and Blake Anderson fared in The Athletic’s ranking of college coaches

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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 against Weber State at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Whittingham recently was named one of the top 10 college football coaches in the country by The Athletic.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Athletic released a ranking of college football coaches Wednesday, and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham fared really well.

Whittingham, who is entering his 18th season as head coach at Utah, made The Athletic’s top 10; he was one of nine coaches in “Tier 1B.” (Alabama head coach Nick Saban was by himself in 1A.)

All the 1B coaches except Whittingham have made the College Football Playoff, The Athletic noted. But the Utah coach’s impressive record — and the hurdles he’s had to overcome — made him impossible to ignore, according to the “administrators, agents, coaches and industry insiders” that The Athletic’s writers consulted with as they compiled the list.

“To put what Whittingham has done in perspective, remember that he took over Utah in 2005, when the program was still in the Mountain West. He not only has taken the Utes to 14 bowl games, but he also has posted seven AP Top 25 finishes — the Utes totaled three ranked finishes before he took over,” The Athletic reported.

The Deseret News recently highlighted these accomplishments and others in its coverage of Whittingham’s recently restructured contract.

“In 17 years at the helm at Utah, Whittingham has a record of 144-70 and led the Utes to their first Rose Bowl berth in program history last season,” that June 2022 article said.

The Athletic put Whittingham’s former colleague, Kalani Sitake, now head coach at BYU, one tier lower than Whittingham. He and the other coaches in Tier 2 were praised for their consistency and creative use of at-times limited resources.

“He showed some resilience,” said one of The Athletic’s sources about Sitake. “I think they’re going to enter the Big 12 full steam ahead and instantly be one of the contenders.”

Meanwhile, Blake Anderson, the head coach at Utah State, made it into Tier 3. The Athletic’s writers said that the 50 coaches in that tier are “solid” but not as flashy as coaches who ranked higher on the list.

“They haven’t done enough to get to the elite tiers yet, but most have done a solid job and the vast majority are not in danger of losing their jobs,” The Athletic reported.

You can learn who really might be at-risk of getting fired by checking out tiers 4 and 5 on theathletic.com.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake waves to fans as he heads to the locker room at halftime of the Independence Bowl.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake waves to fans as he goes into the locker room at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2022. Sitake made The Athletic’s Tier 2 list of college football head coaches.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News