Welcome to Hooked On Golf College Football Blog. I’ve almost recovered from the biggest game, and greatest victory in the history of my University of Utah Football team. Two nights ago my BCS busting Utes CRUSHED Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl, despite being 10 point underdogs and getting almost NO respect or chance of winning by the talking heads in the national media. I’m proud of my Utes and proud to say I am a Utah Man.
Some highlights of the Sugar Bowl
I said the Utes “crushed” Alabama and that isn’t just a fan being a homer. Let’s look at the ways Utah dominated:
The Utah defense dominated Alabama’s offense
Alabama was supposed to destroy the Utah defense with its huge offensive linemen and amazing running game. ESPN said that if Utah held Alabama’s running back Coffee to under 150 yards they’d be doing well. The Utes not only held Coffee to under 150, they him to 36. The Utes held the entire Alabama offense to 31 yards rushing in 33 attempts. Yes 31 yards. It isn’t a typo. (Gets calculator out…) Hey that is an average of 1.06 yards per carry!
Alabama’s huge offensive line was supposed to have no problem pass protecting against Utah’s defense since they outweighed each player by an average of 40 pounds. Utah proved that size isn’t all that matters. Utah’s speed, determination and defensive scheme put them in ‘bama’s backfield almost as much as their own backs.
Utah sacked Alabama’s quarterback a record eight times. They knocked him down many more times.
Alabama’s offense entered Utah’s red zone once, following a turnover. Alabama wasn’t able to put on sustained drives from their own end of the field and get to Utah’s red zone otherwise.
Alabama converted 4-13 3rd downs, for 31%.
The Utah offense dominated Alabama’s #3 ranked defense
Utah steamrolled Alabama in the 1st quarter, racking up a 21-0 lead with a no-huddle offense. The ‘bama defense was in shock. Alabama had only given up 37 first quarter points in the 13 games they’d played before that.
Utah quarterback Brian Johnson carved up the Alabama defense like a Thanksgiving turkey. The Alabama D couldn’t keep up with the faster Utah receivers. The result was Brian Johnson winning the Sugar Bowl MVP and racking up 336 yards passing with three touchdowns.
Utah: 353 (Alabama gave up an average of 263 for the season) Alabama: 208
Utah won the turnover margin 3-1.
Utah came into the Sugar Bowl more prepared. They came in more focused. They came in with a better scheme which they executed in impressive fashion.
The Utah offensive coaches knew they’d have a difficult time trying to run against Alabama, so they didn’t. They let the spread offense do it’s thing, using short passes as run plays.
This is one category I’d say Alabama tied with Utah. Bama ran back kickoffs (of which there were many by Utah) well. They ran a punt back for a TD yes, but lost my consideration for winning the special teams battle with two missed field goals.
If you payed attention to this game at all, you saw a ton of big hits, many of which were delivered by Utah’s defense.The Ute D pounded Alabama’s QB and running backs. A look in the eyes of ‘bama QB Wilson showed he was beat up.
There were a few stoppages of play due to player injury. All injury times out were for ‘bama players. The Utes just plain beat them up physically.
Why Utah should be considered for the national championship
Utah is 13-0. Utah is the only team standing. There are NO other teams in the country who are undefeated.
Utah has wins against four top 25 teams, including two in the top 10.
Utah beat #4 ranked Alabama, a team ranked #1 for a large portion of this year
Utah beat a tough Oregon State, who beat USC
Of Utah’s 13 wins, six of those came against bowl teams.
For good measure…
Utah has the longest winning streak in college football
Utah has the longest bowl winning streak in college football
Back in 2004 a little ole football team coached by Urban Meyer became the first “BCS Buster” by going 12-0 and crushing Pittsburg in the Fiesta Bowl 34-7. At the time I thought that was a once in a lifetime thing for my Utes. I was wrong.
This year my Utes went 12-0, beating four top 25 teams and thumping our rival byu (yes I don’t use caps for them) 48-24. That 12th victory put the Utes in the Sugar Bowl to play Alabama. Alabama was ranked #1 for much of the 2008 season.
This is be the biggest game in Utah football history.
Greek tradition is on the Utes’ side!
Yesterday at my aunt’s house, we had our yearly New Years Day dinner. One Greek tradition is the “Vasilopita” or Greek New Years Day bread. A “good luck” coin is cooked into the bread. We make a list of each family member in order that they entered the family, and cut a piece of the bread for them. There were 24 names on the list.
We got to the end of the list and nobody got the coin. We didn’t know where to go next so we selected my aunt’s home as the next piece, so her home would have good luck. No coin.
I suggested that the next piece of bread be for the Utes. We all agreed.
My father cut into the bread and the knife struck gold. The Utes got the lucky New Years Day bread coin!
This is about as good an omen as one can get, and it will bring a ton of good fortune to the Utes!
For extra luck
Just in case it helps, I’ve worn a Ute shirt (not the same one) 57 days in a row, since their big game against TCU.
I’ve been in a blog break since the 22nd. This is the longest break I’ve taken, 7 days. I was going to be on blogbattical until the new year but I just can’t stay away.
On Christmas day, three buddies and I got together for the 3rd Annual Christmas Classic. This tournament takes place on the par-3 18th hole at River Oaks in Sandy, Utah. We each hit 12 balls, the 12 balls of Christmas. The closest to the pin is the champion for the year.
I was happy to get in 16 holes yesterday before I ran out of daylight. I even hit my irons solid, which I haven’t been doing lately. Perhaps I hit them solid because I had to. If you thinned an iron in that super cold temp, your hand would go numb for the next 15 minutes.
I guess that was likely the last round of 2008 in my neighborhood because I woke up to find a big snow storm dumping.