As Utah fans go, I can't help but imagine there are varying degrees of acceptability. Some fans are ok with 8-wins and a bowl victory every season, some fans are not. It's interesting to note the differences here, but I think there tends be a larger number of Utah fans who do not accept mediocrity, or even play slightly above mediocre. This is a big reason why Ron McBride was eventually fired and why there is still a large number of Ute fans who have yet to fully embrace Kyle Whittingham as head coach.
So this year they begin 0-0, just as years past, yet expectations are higher. The experience, talent, coaching stability and schedule have many of us believing this team is capable of advancing to the next level. But what is the next level and if the Utes do not step it up, what will we as fans tolerate at the end of the season?
There are many scenarios, some good, some bad and some that are pretty meh, but they're all possibilities. And as last year showed Ute fans, expectations, whether made at the beginning of the season, or after a 27-0 defeat to the worst team in all of the Mountain West, have a good chance of being proven wrong. But it doesn't change the fact there is a ceiling for expectations and a floor, as well. Some may feel this team is only capable of winning 10-games, while others may feel they can go undefeated. Yet I'm willing to bet it's nearly universally accepted this team will win more than 9 games. And why not? They managed to do so last season, even with all the injuries and what many thought would be the hardest schedule in years. So why not this year, if they stay healthy?
But what if they don't.
I think there are many fans who concede the Utes may just very well lose to Michigan (myself included). So if they lose there, drop a home game to Oregon State, lose to New Mexico and TCU, but manage to defeat BYU and win their bowl game, is that a successful season? Will Ute fans tolerate it?