As I look back over the last season, now that it draws to a close, I realize that the Utes are at the end of an era.
For decades, Utah has had the underdog tag on. Whether it was basketball or football, matched up against the Texas’, Oklahoma’s, Florida’s etc. of the college world, Utah was counted out.
But we Ute fans take pride in the fact that we have always proven that we can hang with the best of them.
Rick Majerus’ Utes made it all the way to the championship game in the 1998 Final Four Tournament.
Ron McBride’s Utes were the first team to beat a Pete Carroll coached USC team in a bowl game.
Urban Meyer’s Utes were the first non-BCS conference team to receive an invite to a BCS bowl game.
Kyle Whittingham’s Utes were the first non-BCS team to go to and win its 2nd BCS bowl game.
The Utes have paid their dues both on and off the field and court, and the nation is taking notice.
Utah has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality to them right now. When announced that Utah would be joining the PAC-10 conference this past Summer, all the national media had done their homework on Utah and either sang the Utes’ praises, or had a we’ll see attitude about the Utes.
Many of the Associated Press agreed that Utah would be a contender for the PAC-12 Conference Title. In other words, Utah fans were getting validation and acceptance from the sports analysts they watch on the national sporting news.
On the other hand, when Utah is used in the Mountain West context, it is rarely anything but negative, nationally. The same exact analysts that knew everything about Utah this Summer suddenly forgot all their high opinions of Utah when they were disposing of the lower tier of the Mountain West Conference early this football season. Some even forgot names as one analyst gave praise to the job Coach “Willingham” was doing this year.
I think I speak for most ALL of Ute nation when I say I can’t wait until the only media we get will be as a member of the PAC-12.
Having to come back down to earth and play out the last season in the Mountain West Conference, is comparable to being forced to come inside during a game of street ball with your neighbors to eat a bland awful dinner, with your friends clearly visible out the window.
Well, we’re done choking down the stale rolls and soggy salad with expired ranch that was the football competition (excluding TCU, Air Force, and San Diego State), and we’ve started on the main course of burned eggplant/tuna fish casserole that is our basketball team right now.
The only satisfaction is that our younger brother was forced to eat the same horrible meal before being allowed to go play outside alone on the swings, cuz he’s not very good at street ball…