On December 22nd 2010, Utah and Boise State will meet in Las Vegas, NV where they look to face off for the first time since 2006, when Boise State beat Utah soundly, 36-3.
Whether it gets any attention in the media or not, there is an unspoken rivalry between Utah, TCU, Boise State, and BYU, collectively, as the cream of the non-AQ crop. TCU and Boise State’s rivalry has been under the spotlight the last 3 seasons as each team has been playing outstanding football.
Utah and Boise State have a very intertwined relationship that goes back to Utah becoming the first non-AQ team to play in a BCS bowl game in January of 2005.
That year, Boise State was also undefeated through the regular season but had to settle for playing Louisville in the Liberty Bowl, losing 44-40.
Boise got their chance in 2006, when they beat Oklahoma in that same Fiesta Bowl that Utah played in a couple years earlier.
In ’08, another undefeated Boise State team watched as Utah received more respect and got the BCS bid again. Boise State was forced to play in the Poinsettia Bowl against fellow BCS at-large hopeful TCU. Boise State once again lost.
Utah enters the Vegas Bowl with the most to lose. The Utes currently own the longest active bowl winning streak at 9 games. Boise State comes in with nothing to lose.
Kellen Moore is coming off his trip to New York, where he came in 4th in the Heisman voting.
Coach Kyle Whittingham is a bowl game genius. The man knows EXACTLY how to come up with a gameplan and gets his guys to execute that game plan.
Utah’s defense will need to play a flawless game and force turnovers. The key here will be getting pressure on Kellen Moore quickly with the D-line to force ill-advised throws. If you give that kid time, he will give you fits, carving up your defense on short slant routes.
The most crucial aspect of this game, though, will be a combination of back-up QB Terrance Cain and Utah’s Offensive Coordinators. In Utah’s last game, the play calling was a little frustrating when Cain was in the game.
It seemed the Schramm/Roderick combination was more interested in running plays so conservative, you’d think the Utes were winning by 20 and trying to run clock off, instead of the reality of Utah being down 13-0.
The best chance for a Utah victory will come if Utah’s defense is lights out, their coordinators call plays like September and October, and if Boise can come out a little flat and disappointed over their late season loss to Nevada.