KSL UNRIVALED

Jamal Anderson Always Believed Utah Would Be In The Rose Bowl

Jan 1, 2022, 9:30 AM
Jamal Anderson - Utah Utes...
(Photo courtesy of Tom Smart, Deseret News)
(Photo courtesy of Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utah’s Rose Bowl appearance is a major feat for the school on the athletic and academic side of things with all of the exposure that the Utes will be getting taking on Ohio State on Jan. 1.

Former Ute Jamal Anderson had no doubt that this football program could reach heights as big as the Rose Bowl and this was even back when Utah was in the WAC.

Anderson joined UnRivaled and gave his lofty thoughts about the Utah program from over 20 years ago from when he was running the ball in Salt Lake City. He has always been a true believer of what this Ute football program could be.

“I’m not going to lie. I did imagine when we play Utah,” Anderson said. “Obviously, we were in another conference, but when we played against Pac-12 teams or Pac-10 teams at the time, we were always very competitive or we beat those guys. Obviously, we graduated to the mountains and had a tremendous amount of success there being the first team in BCS history to make it twice undefeated.

“So, I felt like it was the natural maturation or where we could see the program going down the line. It’s something I thought that we could do this where I saw the program, the potential for where the program could go.”

It took a while and a few stumbles of not winning the Pac-12 championship in prior tries, but Utah has made it to the Rose Bowl. Now that the Utes are in the “Granddaddy Of Them All,” the next step is to return to this game.

Utah does not want to be a program like Arizona State which has been to two Rose Bowl appearances with its most recent one all the way back in 1997. The Utes are expecting to be contenders year in and year out with Rose Bowl showings being a regular occurrence.

Academics The Key To Sustainability?

College football programs are trying to one-up each other with the latest and greatest locker room toys, gadgets, and whatever younger kids are into so that they will sign and play for that university. Perhaps it is not always about the amenities toward the football program but sometimes it is the quality of schooling one can get

Anderson has thoughts on how the Utes can make sure to remain at a high level of play and part of it is the academics which is what drew him to Salt Lake City out of high school.

“I think the visibility and the profile overall of the program has greatly increased just by competing not only for the Pac-12 championships but the way the school is set up,” Anderson said. “The recruiting excellence, the scholastic excellence that we’re seeing from the players, the graduation rate.

“These are all the things that initially attracted me to Utah because, quite frankly, it wasn’t a school when I went on my recruiting trip, I was seriously considering. Then when I got there, it was eye-opening to me the things that they were trying to do back then.”

No one is going to mistake the University of Utah for Stanford in terms of academic prowess. However, if Utah can provide the type of majors and career paths that these student-athletes want, then that could lure in a few extra recruits who might be considering a different school.

Ultimately, it all comes back to football, and if the Utes continue to do well and win the Rose Bowl this weekend that will also attract new talent to the school that it may not have been able to get before.

It doesn’t matter how Utah has done it with coaching, academics, recruiting, the fact is that they are in the Rose Bowl and the goal is to find a way to return more often than not.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p .m. on 1280 The Zone and 97.5 FM or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Jamal Anderson Always Believed Utah Would Be In The Rose Bowl