But before I boarded the TRAX for my return trip downtown, I noticed something that the Utes have that can only make Arizona blush with envy: two huge banners draped on the backside of Rice-Eccles Stadium.
One is for Utah's 13-0 Sugar Bowl season of 2008. The other is for the Utes' 12-0 Fiesta Bowl season of 2004; two enormous, colorful, logo-laden banners celebrating seasons that made everyone forget that Utah was mostly a football puffball from 1965 to 1995.
4. Kyle Whittingham, Utah coach. The best coach with the least hype, watch how Whittingham's program develops as a BCS school. The stadium and facilities already are magnificent (see: Olympics, Salt Lake City), the city is gorgeous, and all of those California recruits and their parents will take a renewed, long look at Utah. Collateral benefit: Now there's no reason for Whittingham to leave for a better job.
Years ago, people were always talking about BYU leaving the conference, not Utah. People said BYU ought to be in the Pac-10 or Big 12 — they are too good for the WAC or the Mountain West. Utah was never in anybody’s thoughts about going to another conference. But it’s all changed.
They came into our place with the nation’s longest win streak and it was a heck of a game," he said. "They have a really strong program.
Congratulations to Chris Hill, Kyle Whittingham and the entire Utah athletic department, it is indeed a great day for one of the great Universities in America.
Utah athletic director Chris Hill said Tuesday that to comment publicly on expansion would unnecessarily add to the speculation.
"The BYU-Utah rivalry is probably the biggest I’ve ever been involved with," Mullen said. "There’s so much state pride that lasts a long time in that one game. I think that’s what makes it huge.
Utah is 7-0 all-time in games when both they and their opponent are ranked in the Associated Press poll.
"Kyle's not afraid to use anything as motivation," says one of his former players. "The practices the week before the TCU game aren't the same as the practices the week of Wyoming or San Diego State. He might yell at you if the effort isn't there the week of the Utah State game, but if it happens the week of TCU, he'll start practice over. He uses psychology, mind games, he'll fabricate a story, to get your attention. He'll call a team meeting and tell everybody: 'We're going to get our asses kicked.' He'll make you wonder: 'Am I doing enough to be ready this week?' That gets everyone hyper-focused."