Utah proved as much when they walked into the heart of the SEC, slaying the Pride of Dixie Friday night. Yes, here in the highlands of the Rocky Mountains, we too play a pretty good brand of football.
Back in 2004, many dismissed the Utes as a cute story, the little team that could. They defied all the odds by crashing the BCS, but beyond that, it was a short feel good story that quickly became a footnote in college football history. Sure, they were the first and possibly the best, but as the more successful Boise State stole the show in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against the College Football Power Oklahoma Sooners, people quickly forgot the Utes' accomplishments. To put it bluntly, Utah was so four years ago.
Well until they did it again and now the Utes sit as the first team in the BCS era to make it through the season perfect twice. USC, Oklahoma, Florida and Ohio State -- all powers for the last decade -- can't say the same.
Call these Utes the 21st Century Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes. Two programs that leaped from obscurity to football dominance in a pretty short time. They rolled through the latter part of the 20th Century, unconventional in their success and disproving every myth along the way. That is exactly what Utah is doing right now. Southern Speed might have conquered pre-game discussion, but it was Utah's speedy defense and offense that was on full display during the game. They confused the Tide, flying around the field surprisingly easily and in the end, Alabama had no answer. All the hype leading up to the Sugar Bowl fizzled and it was Utah that left everyone wondering exactly what they had been missing this entire season.
What they were missing was the birth of a football power and Friday night, Utah proved to the country that there is, in fact, football played in the Rocky Mountains. Now maybe those who were so quick to reject Utah won't be so inclined to do so in the future.