This season was not lost Saturday. No, there won't be a BCS bowl game. No, the Utes aren't going to win the Mountain West title in their final season - but they still can finish 12-1. That would easily be considered one of the greatest seasons in Utah football history.
They still have a lot to play for these last four games.
That's what what we've got to remember here. As tough as Saturday was, and it certainly tops the list of bad losses I've seen, there are some considerable achievements left for this team.
The first is a win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Though extremely tarnished this season, the possibility of beating the most prestigious program in college football should still excite fans. I'm excited to watch Utah travel to South Bend and leave with a victory.
Then there is the potential win over our bitter rival. That game has still yet to be played and offers up a huge win to end the regular season.
That leads us into our bowl game. The Utes can still keep the longest current bowl win streak alive with a win over whatever opponent they throw at us. It's possible that team comes from the Pac-10 and though unlikely, they still could potentially play a slighted Boise State. Wouldn't that be an interesting outcome?
Yeah, I'm still not over Saturday's loss. It was so much easier getting over it in 2009 because of the fact it came on the road and we knew Utah would get another shot at TCU. The hardest part about this loss might be knowing the Frogs and Utes won't ever meet again. At least not for a while.
This will be the lasting memory of what has turned out to be the best Mountain West rivalry.
But now we must put that game aside and move forward. Enjoy the remainder of the season and the potential 12-1 finish. Of course, that still means Utah is going to have to turn up their play and maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here because if they finish the season like they did last weekend, it certainly is going to be a harder crash than we ever anticipated. With that said, with how horrible Notre Dame looks and average San Diego State has been the last few weeks (barely beating the worst of the worst in the Mountain West), the Utes should be 10-1 entering their game against BYU. Their win over UNLV aside, the Cougars still don't look threatening.
12-1 now has to be the ultimate goal. Anything less would be considered a failure. If that 12-1 finish is their destiny this season, well I think it'll help us forget that TCU debacle.