KSL UNRIVALED

Utah’s Rose Bowl Bid May Have Saved The Football Program

Jul 15, 2022, 10:11 AM | Updated: Jul 22, 2022, 10:58 am

Utah-Utes-Rose-Bowl-Game...

Utah Utes fans during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football has grown up quite a bit from its days in the WAC and Mountain West with a Rose Bowl berth this past year. That uplifting of the program could be what ultimately helps the Utes be in a good position with USC and UCLA off to the Big Ten and the Pac-12 in limbo.

Realignment has slowed down quite a bit in the days after that bombshell announcement of the Big Ten going West. A lot has to do with Notre Dame and if they want to join the Big Ten. Since then, the Pac-12 has opened up negotiations for its next media rights deal.

Matt Zemek of Trojans Wire joined Unrivaled and feels that with the Utes playing elite football over the past few years they are in a great spot if there is more shuffling.

“Utah certainly gets the better deal because of their affiliation with the Pac-12,” Zemek said. “With Utah, the good fortune for the Utes is that they have built their brand by going to the Rose Bowl, they are a College Football Playoff contender this year. Utah just in the nick of time elevated its football profile such that Fox and the Big Ten are you going to look at that and say, ‘yes, we want that under our umbrella.’

“Utah really differentiated itself from Washington State, Oregon State, and from the Arizona schools. I don’t think Utah will be left on an island in a really precarious position. I think you can bundle Utah with Oregon and Washington. …  over the past four years under Kyle Whittingham will really save the schools bacon in terms of getting into the right conference and revenue.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lloyd Cole (@lloydcolezone)

What About A Big Ten Move?

This is likely a long shot but a few national writers out there have mentioned the Utes to the Big Ten. Utah, for one, plays like a Big Ten school on the football field with a great defense that is complemented by a good ground game.

Plus, Utah is now a member of the AAU. That carries weight with Big Ten presidents and it is almost a requirement to hold that status to earn membership to that league.

A few sports writers who cover the sport nationally said it is not far-fetched that Utah could be in the conversation to join the Big Ten, which includes Andy Staples of The Athletic who said on his podcast that Utah plays like a Big Ten team.

“I think Utah is in a really weird spot right now,” Staples said. “They are the one that is hardly heard mentioned when you talk about where they go. Playing style [they fit in the Big Ten] and also they are an AAU member it’s a very school and they have been successful in multiple conferences. I don’t know if they move the meter enough to be someone that someone wants to steal.”

Winning is the best medicine in this current round of realignment. Markets matter which is why USC and UCLA joined the Big Ten which very well should get that league over a $1 billion per year media rights deal.

The Utes went to three big-time bowl games this century and also appeared in three of the past four Pac-12 title games and they won last year’s championship to advance to the Rose Bowl.

Outside of Utah not being a long-time member of a power conference, the football program has been doing things right and playing at a level that is worthy of remaining in one of the best conferences.

As of now, things have cooled off a bit in realignment talk but there are plenty of conversations going on about how Utah and the Pac-12 are going to position themselves going forward.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-7 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.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

KSL Unrivaled

A detailed view of the fingernails of Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans that spelled out Utah...

Jeremy Mauss

USC Beat Writer Calls Trojans A ‘Soft’ Program

Utah's defense could have a big day against the USC offensive line.

4 months ago

Nate-Johnson-Utah-Utes-Football-Touchdown...

Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson On Utah’s New-Found Offensive Spark Ahead Of USC

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson joined the Player's Club to discuss the Utes' offensive spark ahead of a big matchup against USC this weekend.

4 months ago

Utah Football Oregon State Beavers QB Nate Johnson...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses Evolving Under Pressure

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson discussed with Unrivaled's Player's Club about evolving quickly in a high-pressure situation.

4 months ago

nate-johnson-celebrates-touchdown-against-ucla-2023...

Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Says He’d Like To Meet Michael Jackson, His Reason Will Surprise You

Utah QB Nate Johnson says he would choose to meet Michael Jackson if time travel existed due to a family connection with the King of Pop.

5 months ago

Nate Johnson - Utah Utes vs. Arizona...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses What Motivates Him To Win

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson discussed his motivation in light of showdown between Colorado and Oregon last weekend.

5 months ago

Nate-Johnson-Utah-Utes-Football-Touchdown...

Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Discusses ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality As Utah Football’s Backup QB

Utah football's backup quarterback Nate Johnson was fourth on the depth chart at one point but has positioned himself as a key player.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Utah’s Rose Bowl Bid May Have Saved The Football Program