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Taters & Sauce: The complete side dish rivalry


It's perfect, isn't it? Idaho is known for its potato and Utah is known for its fry sauce. 

It's a match made in fat guy heaven. 



But of course, those two things aren't the only thing the University of Utah and Boise State have in common. Both have had a pretty successful run over the last decade or so - winning four BCS bowl games since 2004. That's pretty remarkable when you consider 20 years ago, the Broncos were not a Division 1-A football team and the Utes were hardly playing like one. 

But times have changed. Both teams have had a pretty damn good run as of late and that success has altered the dynamics of college football.

For Utah, it came this summer when they were invited to the Pac-10. For Boise State, it came for much of this season, as they spent it on the cusp of a national championship berth. Though that ended on the field in Reno against Nevada, it really solidified their standing in the college football landscape. The Broncos are, and will continue to be, a threat to the national championship - even if outside the system. Utah, on the other hand, has become a contender from within.

Together, over the past few years, they have been spectacular. To get into the meat of that, let's just take a look at what these two teams have accomplished since the start of the true BCS buster. 

I peg that as 2004 because Utah officially became the first team from outside the major conferences to play in a major bowl game. Prior to the Utes' run that year, no team managed to bust the BCS. Some came close, others wilted down the stretch, but in the end, they failed every single year. Since Utah's Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh, Boise State (2006, 2009), Hawaii (2007), Utah again (2008) and TCU (2009, 2010) have all played in a big-money bowl game. 

So I'd like to think of 2004 as the true point of attack for the non-BCS teams. 

Over that stretch, you'd be hard pressed to find two teams that have done more than either Utah or Boise State. 

And that is what makes this bowl game so intriguing. 

It's also intriguing because both teams are going in different directions. Both those directions are paved in doubt. 

Will Utah be able to make the transition from really good non-BCS team to really good BCS team? 

Will Boise State struggle for justifiable recognition in a Mountain West Conference that is remarkably different than the one they joined over the summer? 

The answers to those questions won't be known for a few years and this game certainly won't decide anything outside of who had the better team this year (and most suspect it's the Broncos by a mile). But it just adds another layer to the side dish that is the Las Vegas Bowl. 

So next week, two of the most successful teams of the last half-decade will take the field. In five years, will we still consider the Utes and Broncos two of the most successful teams in the country? 

Only time will tell. But for now, we can enjoy our taters and sauce.