Dispelling the myth of our annual “WTF?” loss.

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    • #100893

      Ute Fan

      We all seem to buy into this narrative that Utah has at least one WTF? loss every year, and sometimes two or three. I decided to look at the numbers and what I found surprised me. Going back to 2008, I’ve listed every loss with each opponent’s record. There aren’t very many WTF? losses.

      2008 – Undefeated Sugar Bowl season. Not a single loss.



      2009 – Not a single WTF? loss. These were three very good/great teams who beat a very good Utah team. 

      @ Oregon(10-3)

      @ TCU (12-1)

      @ BYU (11-2)


      2010 – Two great teams and one good team that could be argued as a WTF? loss but it was Notre Dame on the road after the beatdown TCU laid on us. Can we really call that a WTF? loss?

      vs TCU (13-0)

      @ Notre Dame (8-5)

      n Boise State (12-1)


      2011 – First year in the Pac-12. This is where we find our first WTF? loss to a 3 win Colorado team at home. The other losses were to average or better Pac-12 teams.

      @ USC (10-2)

      vs Washington (7-6)

      vs Arizona State (6-7)

      @ California (7-6)

      vs Colorado (3-10)


      2012 – Every single one of these teams was better than our 5-7 team. Not a single WTF? loss in the bunch. Sure, we lost some of these games in frustrating ways, but none of them were crazy losses.

      @ Utah State (11-2)

      @ Arizona State (8-5)

      vs USC (7-6)

      @ UCLA (9-5)

      @ Oregon State (9-4)

      @ Washington (7-6)

      vs Arizona (8-5)


      2013 – Again, every one of these teams was better than our 5-7 team. No WTF? losses.

      vs Oregon State (7-6)

      vs UCLA (10-3)

      @ Arizona (8-5)

      @ USC (10-4)

      @ Arizona State (10-4)

      @ Oregon (11-2)

      @ Washington State (6-7)


      2014 – Here we find our 2nd WTF? loss at home to a 3-9 Washington State team. After going up 21-0 in the rain/snow, we fell 28-27 to a terrible team.

      vs Washington State (3-9)

      @ Arizona State (10-3)

      vs Oregon (13-2)

      vs Arizona (10-4)


      2015 – Based on record, you could argue that all of these were WTF? losses but looking at the circumstances of these games paints a different picture. USC in the Coliseum is always going to be a tough game and I believe Wilson was playing with an injured hand. A double OT loss @ 7 win Arizona isn’t exactly WTF? material especially when you factor in Wilson’s injury and weren’t we without Booker in that game as well as the UCLA game? Regardless, I have a hard time calling any of these WTF? losses.

      @ USC (8-6)

      @ Arizona (7-6)

      vs UCLA (8-5)


      2016 – A couple of WTF? losses here. We were a 9 win team and some how crapped the bed against a 5 win Cal team and a 4 win Oregon team, AT HOME no less.

      @ California (5-7)

      vs Washington (12-2)

      vs Oregon (4-8)

      @ Colorado (10-4)


      2017 – In a rebuild year that saw us finish 7-6, none of these can be considered WTF? losses.

      vs Stanford (9-5)

      @ USC (11-3)

      vs Arizona State (6-7)

      @ Oregon (7-6)

      vs Washington State (9-4)

      @ Washington (10-3)


      2018 – 9 win South Division champs so maybe we could call the loss @ 7 win ASU a WTF? loss, but not when you consider Huntley left the game early in the 3rd quarter with a broken collarbone. The rest of these losses were to 9+ win teams and two of them we were without Huntley, Moss, and Covey.

      vs Washington (10-4)

      @ Washington State (11-2)

      @ Arizona State (7-6)

      n Washington (10-4)

      n Northwestern (9-5)


      TL;DR – The narrative that Utah has 1-3 WTF? losses every year is a myth. In reality, we’ve had 4 true WTF? losses over the last 11 years and maybe a handful of others that could be argued as WTF? losses but most reasonable fans would say otherwise.

    • #100898

      Ute Fan

      Great post, thanks! I admit that I have bought into that thinking as well.

    • #100901

      Ute Fan

      Utah will lose at home to Cal after creaming ASU 54-10 the week prior.

    • #100903

      Ute Fan

      WTF losses are more than just the other teams record , you also have to consider the way the team played during said game.

      • #100905

        Ute Fan

        In that case every ASU game is a WTF game cause they always look so sluggish and disinterested when playing ASU.

      • #100906
        2 1

        Ute Fan

        2018- ASU lost to SDSU and Fresno. Utah came out sloppy and couldn’t control the LOS on either side of the ball.

        2017- being blown out at home by ASU, allowing a bagillion TFL’s to Wazzu. 

        2016 Cal 4th and goal multiple attempts from the 1 against a terrible run defense. Oregon- Helfrich was getting fired on the road if they lost that game, but Williams couldn’t complete a short pass to save his life.

        2015 your ranked as high as #3- and lose to a backup QB on a desperation play vs UA in  theOT..and then only manage 3 field goals vs UCLA with multiple red zone trips… 

        Need I go on…

        Whitt has multiple WTF games every year. Hell the November curse was a thing as well.

    • #100909

      Ute Fan

      Awesome data. I think you’ve spelled out that if we base WTF losses on record alone, we don’t have many. 

      This made me realize that there’s more to it than just record. I think it also includes momentum killers or head scratchers. Take the 7-6 Arizona team with the 2OT loss for example…what an unexpected, emotional, loss. That was our year to win the south outright and we should have gone 10-2. WTF. 

      It also appears that some of our best players were injured in these games. I think this is fine for context, but we have to be able to come up with ways to win games more often than not despite the injuries. 

      The injury comment is not intended to be negative. To become a top tier program, we need to be hyper critical and fix our deficiencies. This is one of them (the other is recruiting).

    • #100917


      Excellent post. In my mind the WTF loss isn’t just about the record of the team we lose to. It’s about the performance of the Utes. The WTF losses are poor performancce, poor execution, penalties, missed assignments and such.

      • #100919

        Ute Fan

        ASU last year in my opinion was the wtf loss. It almost was the TDS game because of the way Utah played for three quarters. 

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