The Tennessee Game May Make or Break Kalani Sitake's Future with BYU Football
Although it really shouldn't be a program defining game for the Cougars it sort of feels that way.
In today's game of football it isn't good enough to just be average. Fans demand more as well as players and recruits. We live in a world of instant access where we can have the answer to any question in the world answered within ten seconds.
In College Football, teams go through coaches faster than ever before. The transfer portal is starting to look more like the normal thing to rather than the exception, and fans are getting rid of their season tickets at the first sign of a team going south.
BYU is no exception.
Kalani Sitake is in his fourth year as BYU's Head Coach and has an overall record of 20-20. Do you know how many P5 programs have a coach in their fourth year or later with a .500 record or worse? Rutgers, Illinois, and Virginia (who is going the right direction). That isn't the group you want to be with, and yet that is where the Cougars are right now. If you add G5 schools to the list it is also a group that BYU doesn't want to be part.
In that time he has been nothing short of mediocre in getting wins. There have been some great moments, but for the most part there have been more negatives than positives. More last second losses than game winning scores. His wins over Arizona, Wisconsin and Nebraska are often covered up by his losses to Northern Illinois, UMass and a 1-9 record rivals Utah, Utah State and Boise State.
Don't get me wrong, Sitake is a great guy and there is nobody who would doubt his love for his players and the game, but he has to start winning. He has to beat Tennessee.
While it isn't fair to grade the 2019 season off of the first two games, BYU can not afford an 18 point loss to rival Utah followed up by a loss to Tennessee, a team that the week before got beat by Georgia State, a team with 30 wins EVER.
But that is the reality of it. If you are reading this article, it probably doesn't apply to you, but the vast majority of fans out there are already one step out the door on this team and soon Kalani Sitake. Honestly, what will the public interest be if BYU comes back to Provo in a week to play USC being 0-2? Will the stadium even reach 75% capacity? Even if the Cougars won that game, would there be enough fans left to really get emotionally invested behind this 2019 squad? My guess is no.
If Kalani Sitake wants to secure himself a job next season he has to do three things;
Beat at least one of the rivals
Go to a bowl game
Win on Saturday against Tennessee.
If he loses this week, it makes a contract extension questionable, even doubtful barring a 180 degree turn that would involve going 8-5 or better and beating both rivals.
Sitake has a been in a unique situation in that for his first two years he wasn't working with all of the coaches that weren't his first choice and now he has a team that is full of a lot of younger players. Throw in the fact that many of players are returned missionaries and Sitake is at a disadvantage of others coaches.
Do I agree that Sitake should be on the hot seat? Not yet. But is it the reality of the situation? Yes.