Utah football is finding a nice niche on the national scene these days and that should only continue with their move to the Pac-12 slated for this summer.
Dennis Dodd, who has been favorable to the Ute football team in the past, takes notice of the growing program and ranks Rice-Eccles Stadium 25th on his list of top 25 college football stadiums.
For a school that ten years ago struggled selling out its stadium, this ranking more than validates how far the program has grown over the years.
The fans even get a shout-out in the introductory paragraph:
All you can do is try. The following list is sure to please some, offend others. Like the NCAA selection committee, conference affiliation is not a factor. Like the selection committee, there are also biases. The difference being, I admit it. I love atmosphere whether it's Utah taunting BYU with "Where's Your God Now?" signs or the Fifth Quarter at Wisconsin.
Of the schools listed, only SC, Oregon and Washington are from the current Pac-10.
That would put Utah fourth with a lot of room to grow.
What will be interesting is the complete shift in atmosphere Utah football is about to see during its road games. It was rare the Utes ever played in front of a sold out crowd on the road unless it was against the BYU Cougars or Air Force Falcons. In fact, it wasn't unique to see less than 20,000 in the stands at places like San Diego St., UNLV, New Mexico and yes, up until recently, TCU.
That's all but changing this September. The average attendance for a Pac-10 game in 2009? 54,186 - or about 10,000 more than Rice-Eccles actually sits.
We might be small, but I think Utah fans, specifically the students, will quickly prove to be some of the best in the conference.
I mean, you can't really beat the Third Down Jump...