If the Utes could metaphorically sit on Santa's lap and ask him what they wanted for Christmas, they wouldn't even need to think twice about it.

They'd ask for a quarterback who could last the entire season.

Just think about all the recent quarterbacks who had to leave due to injury before the season was over. Jordan Wynn's promising career ended abruptly just two weeks into the 2012 season when Wynn injured his shoulder against Utah State.

Likewise, Travis Wilson's season got cut short just before the Oregon game due to concussion symptoms as well as "a pre-existing injury to an intracranial artery."

Deja vu.

Yes, part of what Utah needs to work on is protecting its quarterbacks against tough Pac-12 defenses. Whatever the cause, the Utes need a quarterback who can play all year without going down to injury if Utah wants to be a contender in its new conference.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham's job is also on the line. If the Utes don't have a steady injury-free quarterback next year under new offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, Whittingham will likely be looking for another job this time next year.

Imagine how bright Utah's faces will be if they could receive the guarantee of an injury-free quarterback. While the Utes probably wouldn't be able to immediately turn that gift into a conference title, they would likely go to a bowl next year and build toward a potential title run in 2015.

Lafe Peavler is a sportswriter intern at the Deseret News.