It was the perfect storm.
USC, saddled with sanctions, was ineligible to play for the conference championship.
Arizona State, a month ago thought to be a shoe-in as Pac-12 South champs, saw an improbable collapse - losing to UCLA, Washington State and California - which opened the door for Utah to claim a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 championship.
The Bruins, who somehow played their way into the picture, fell badly to rival USC.
All the Utes had to do was beat, at home, a 2-10 Colorado team that hadn't won on the road since 2007.
Easy as pie.
Everything fell into place for the Utes to win the division and put themselves in position to play for a Rose Bowl berth.
When every other team ahead of them buckled heading into the final month of the season, Utah was flourishing, which was remarkable considering their 0-4 start. They had the division gift wrapped and handed to them on a golden platter.
And what did they do with it? They stumbled badly and face-planted in front of the whole party.
This was as easy as it was going to get for the Utes and they couldn't get it done.
Maybe it's for the best. Maybe we didn't deserve to have it handed to us like that. Maybe this will be a wake up call to the team that every opponent, no matter how bad, should be taken seriously. This isn't the Mountain West. You can't overlook a two-win team solely because you think you'll beat them.
Utah laid an egg in a huge game that could have really pushed the program forward. It is what it is. They blew it and they have no one to blame but themselves.
So now we move on, regroup for the bowl game, and hopefully learn from every mistake made Friday night - and to be clear, there were a lot.
That's all you can do.
Maybe next year, we'll be worthy, because they certainly weren't this season.