Was this the most important season in Utah football history?

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    • #181664

      Ute Fan

      Something I said in August. Success brings great rewards, you know what brings even better rewards? Sustained success. The run we are on in recruiting is just incredibly important, for obvious reasons. I pray that we get to see Kyle with a full cycle of top 25 classes before he is done.

      Beyond making back to back Rose Bowls with conference titles (the greatest achievement in school history), beyond making the 2 last “traditional” Rose Bowl games before its tradition disappears forever. Beyond this being a critical time in conference realignment with everyone making their case to have a seat at the table. Beyond cementing our place as a top 25-30 program (not team) in the country. Stringing these great seasons together is just so important for the long term viability of the program. Utah has officially proven that they reload, and now we have recruiting classes coming in on another level. 

      If Cam and Kuithe come back and we do this again next year, I firmly believe we will get to see what a Kyle Whittingham team looks like with a full cycle of top 25 classes. And imo we just might see Utah with a legitimate national championship caliber roster for the first time ever (although 04/08/19 were close). Just in time for the expanded playoff and absolute and unabated access to compete for one.

    • #181667

      Ute Fan

      Oh that’s a good question, and I like your thinking. For me though, the 2008 Sugar Bowl team was the most important as it helped Utah’s bid toward a P5 invitation.

    • #181670
      3 1

      Ute Fan

      No. The most important is still to come……
      Mobile Ute Hub user submitted image

    • #181672

      Ute Fan

      2004. Nothing close. Changed the whole landscape of college football. Even though the toughest Utah team was the 1994 team.

      • #181712

        Ute Fan

        Agreed. 2004 was the first time the nation TRULY took notice! We had had some good and great seasons before like 1994, but 2004 was when Utah had a small moment in the spotlight if the finish of 2003 and was the first time we took full advantage of it. That team was NC caliber. Then 2008, while not showing the flash of 04 and definitely not showing a clear separation from our peers, it was proof that Utah hadn’t regressed to the mean, and the 09 Sugar Bowl was the most important single game for our program. After last year to show we could win the conference and THIS year to show we aren’t going away, even in the face of lots of injuries and bad breaks over the course of the season. 

        • #181727

          Ute Fan

          I lean 2008 as the most important. Not to downplay 2004 at all (first BCS buster and a BCS bowl win is huge), but it was just a matter of who would be first. There’d been lots of one-off teams doing nearly as well and the national consensus was that someone was going to get there at some near point

          1998 Tulane was #10
          1999 Marshall was #12
          2003 Miami (OH) was #11

          Utah was higher than those teams in 2004 (#5), but it wasn’t the first time a plucky underdog had made noise. Boise St was even #9 in the same year.

          And then getting the Fiesta Bowl win was great…. but it was against an 8-4 Pitt team, that came into bowl season ranked #21 and hated by the computers.

          It was great as a Utah fan, but too easy for everyone else to write it off as a nice underdog story, a happy fluke, but certainly not representative of the program.

          Doing it again (with a different coach) 4 years later and this time beating the team that had been the national title favorite before their CCG? That showed that Utah wasn’t just another flash-in-the-pan small-time school enjoying a magical season, but that they were a legitimate program who wasn’t going away.

    • #181676

      Ute Fan

      2014 was the most critical in the modern era, but for the success that year Whitt is gone, the Utes are likely on a second coach post Whitt and the Utes look more like Arizona than a Big10 team.

      None of this happens without that squad.

      • #181682

        Ute Fan

        Somewhat agree, but, big picture, definitely 2004 was a paradigm shift in the landscape of college football to what we see today.

        • #181704

          Ute Fan

          The first Oregon game last year followed by the second in the CCG IMO were the most important for Whitt’s legacy and for the program. Had he lost either of those games he’s goes down as a good but not great coach and the program is in good but not great shape.

          That launched him to the Rose bowl and an incredible showing which garnered a top 10 preseason ranking for the first time ever.

          12 months later we’re in an even better spot…nationally known, respected and recruiting with the big boys. We now have set records with avg recruit rating and overall team rank in 5 straight years.

          Fast forward to this year and the same could be said about the USC CCG win with everyone watching week before last. Generated incredible recruiting momentum and national exposure. Had we lost that game the luster would have lessened. Nice year, plucky team but out of sight out of mind. Play in an ok bowl game with a lot of guys sitting out.

          The next step is a Rose bowl win, followed by Vele, Cam and Kuithe returning and you have another top 10 preseason ranking and a very good chance at 5 straight CCG’s (minus the CoVid year).

          I’m not discounting the 04/08 seasons. Incredible in their own right but we were still outside looking in. Nobody believed we were real outside of our fans and we showed that early in our Pac days with a few losing seasons BUT it did contribute to the P12 invite which has been massive.

          Wouldn’t have one without the other, wouldn’t have been invited to the Pac12 without 04/08 but to really be taken seriously the wins against Oregon (x2) and USC this year have given us the best opportunity we’ve ever had…just in time for the “big merger” coming in a few years! Incredible.

          • #181708

            Ute Fan

            Yes, Coach Whitt, I agree. For your legacy yes. But for Utah Football? I would say, 2004 #1, 1994 #2, 2008 #3, 2021 #4, 2022 #5. 

            Look at the last 30 years. Same brand. Utah makes you hurt. Period. Doesn’t matter who the head coach is. Coach Mac definitely set the tone 

          • #181709

            Ute Fan


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