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Urban Meyer: ‘No Doubt In My Mind’ 2004 Utes Could’ve Been National Champs

Utah head coach Urban Meyer is doused with Gatorade after his team's 35-7 victory over Pittsburgh in the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl at the Sun Devil Stadium on January 1, 2005 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images).

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah head coach Urban Meyer led the Utes to a historic season in 2004 after going undefeated and beating Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.

Utah became the first non-BCS school to win a BCS Bowl Game. Looking back on his time at Utah, Meyer believed that the 2004 Utah team could have won the National Championship if given the opportunity.

Meyer joined the Crimson Corner podcast to discuss his two seasons as head coach of the Utes among many other things. You can listen to the full interview, below.

No Doubt Utah Could’ve Competed For Title

When Meyer was asked if the 2004 Utah football team could’ve competed for a national championship, Meyer didn’t hesitate with his response.

“I know so. You’re talking to someone who has some experience in that big game and there’s absolutely no doubt that Utah team on any given day could beat anybody in America,” Meyer told KSL Sports. “Could we have sustained and survive an SEC schedule? That’s a whole other conversation. Because we survived the Big Ten schedule and even back then the Pac-12 schedule because I thought that conference was a little more difficult back then. You asked me if we could on any given day, if we went to play for the national championship, or could we competed and I believe we could have won and there’s no doubt in my mind.”

After leaving Utah following the 2004 season, Meyer went on to win three national championships as a head coach. He led the Florida Gators to two titles in 2006 and 2008. His most recent championship was with Ohio State in 2014.

Top CFB Teams In 2004

Back in 2004, the BCS Bowl games included the following programs:

  • Orange Bowl (Championship game): No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
  • Rose Bowl: No. 5 Texas vs. No. 13 Michigan
  • Fiesta Bowl: No. 6 Utah vs. No. 20 Pittsburgh
  • Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Auburn vs. No. 8 Virginia Tech

The Trojans won the National Championship while Auburn took down Virginia Tech.

At the end of April, KSL Sports hosted the “Great Ute Debate” with running back Quinton Ganther and safety Eric Weddle from the 2004 team. They both wanted to play Auburn in their BCS Bowl Game.

“We wanted to play Auburn,” said Ganther. “That was who we wanted because we wanted to make a statement to the country. We were up for that challenge. That was one thing about that team was that we wanted the best and we felt like Auburn was one of the best teams in the country. We didn’t feel like Pitt was one of the best. So we just made it our thing that we have Pitt and we can’t control it. We will go out and show that these guys shouldn’t be on the same field as us. We made it personal to make a statement that they shouldn’t have sent Pitt to play us. They are not ready.”

Eric Weddle also wanted to see how the Utes would’ve lined up against Auburn.

“We were hoping for Auburn,” Weddle stated. “Because USC played Oklahoma so their were three other undefeated teams and it didn’t work out that it happened that way. We were a little bit slighted just to get there and finish it off.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.