Saturday, Utah will take the field against the Aztecs and a few hours later, should leave the stadium 11-0. That is, of course, they don't lose in the biggest upset in program history and as focused as these Utes have been all season, it just doesn't seem possible. That doesn't mean Utah can just walk through the game expecting a victory, they will have to put up some effort, but Saturday's match against San Diego State doesn't strike much fear into my heart. In fact, it'll be the first game in a few weeks were the possibility of a loss is not hanging around somewhere in the back of my head. And after last Thursday's stunning victory over TCU, a game against the Aztecs is a welcomed sight.
But almost as soon as that game starts, it will end and then the focus turns to Brigham Young. Not to get too ahead, as I don't want to ignore San Diego State completely, but it's hard not to realize what lies on the horizon for this Utah team. And it's pretty exciting, ok, really exciting. For those fans who thought 2004 was a blur, this has been the season to really soak it all up and I've been doing just that. However, unlike in 2004, there has been doubt cast on whether or not this team was capable of storming through the season undefeated and locking up a BCS berth. After Thursday's game, it's hard to question their capacity.
So when that game does end this weekend and all eyes find their way to Salt Lake City for the big showdown, it's going to be frenzied. Maybe not at the level as 2004, when ESPN College GameDay aired live from Rice-Eccles (that isn't likely to happen), but it will still be a historical rivalry game, in fact, probably the best rivalry game to date. BYU is not a pushover and they are a team very capable of stepping in and ending Utah's dream season. Unlike San Diego State, we can't overlook them, which makes this week the lull before the storm. That means relax, enjoy the pressure-free build-up, because it's about to get heavy once the final seconds tick off the clock at Qualcomm Stadium.
That isn't to say this game isn't important for Utah. A win gives them the second most victories in school history, it positions them for a huge showdown with BYU, but most importantly, a victory will guarantee Utah at least a share of the Mountain West title, their first since the 2004 season. And that should give them enough incentive to get past the Aztecs and one final step closer to their 2nd BCS bowl berth in four years.