The inaugural seasons for Utah in the Pac-12 and BYU as an independent are in the books, and both teams can claim successful seasons. Not great seasons, but successful.
BYU finished with 10 wins for the fifth time in Bronco Mendenhall's seven seasons in Provo. But who did they beat? The Cougars knocked off a bad Ole Miss team, an improved, but still average Utah State team, a bad Oregon State team and an average Tulsa team in the Armed Forces Bowl. Outside of that, BYU beat up a bunch of nobodys and lost to the three teams that really did anything this year (Texas, Utah and TCU).
But still, with all the turmoil at quarterback, Mendenhall did a very good job coaching up his team. The Cougars had very little to play for ever since the Texas loss, and yet the Cougars still played with passion, intensity and at times excellent execution. Riley Nelson proved himself to be a very solid quarterback, and with Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo and Josh Quezada returning, Nelson will have plenty of weapons to work with next season.
As for Utah, their Pac-12 debut started with a thud, but ended with a bang. When Jordan Wynn went down with a season-ending shoulder injury against Washington, the Utes season was derailed. But somehow, Kyle Whittingham and Norm Chow coached Jon Hays up enough to eek out eight wins, culminating in a thrilling overtime victory over Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
But this season for the Utes will be most remembered by what could have been. Had the Utes beaten Colorado in their regular season finale, they would have played in the Pac-12 championship game. Granted, they probably would have gotten crushed by Oregon, but reaching the title game in their first Pac-12 season would have been quite an accomplishment.
Whittingham has a big coaching decision to make in replacing Chow as offensive coordinator. But he'll have a deep and talented pool from which to choose from, and with a healthy Wynn, the Utes should be better next season.
So all in all, it wasn't a spectacular year for either BYU or Utah. But with all things considered, both programs have a lot to be proud of and a lot to build on for the future.