Utah – Boise State Las Vegas Bowl Preview and a little Grunge

Utah – Boise State Las Vegas Bowl Preview and a little Grunge

Tonight should be one of the more intriguing match-ups of the bowl season. Former national title contender, Boise State against 10-2 Utah. Utah was on their way to a top 5 season but ended up suffering 2 bad losses and then barely squeaked by BYU. I still believe Boise State is good enough to play for the title and because of that belief, I think they should dominate this game. However, motivation level could be a factor for Boise after going from possibly the title game, to the Vegas Bowl. Not to mention, Utah has won something like 9 straight bowl games. And as I’ve said many times on this blog, Utah has one of the best coaches in America. Boise State is favored by 16.
The match-up aside, we need to pay homage to the pioneers of the Non-AQ rebellion. Utah was the first to crack the good ole boys club in 2005 at the Fiesta Bowl when they steam rolled Pitt. And then Boise State helped solidy the belief that the Non-AQ schools could indeed play with the big boys when they played in the Fiesta Bowl just 2 years later. They endeared themselves to every college football fan in America not from Oklahoma. And then Utah followed that up a few years later by pounding on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Many believe though that the Boise State win over Oklahoma was the the critical point in the fight for more respect for the non-AQ schools. In fact, the Boise State win against Oklahoma was the greatest college football game I’ve ever seen. (The national title game between Texas and USC when Vince Young ran all over SC is a close 2nd)
I like to compare the Boise State Fiesta win, in terms of significance, to the band Nirvana and their break-out song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Much to my chagrin, that one song ended the era of glam rock and big hair bands and ushered in the Grunge scene. You may argue that grunge music has since faded somewhat and that my be true. However, Nirvana forever changed music by making alternative music main stream. Boise State’s win did the same thing.
I dare say two plays in that game changed the college football world – the hook and ladder and of course the statue of liberty. I was watching ESPN classic on a plane the other day and they were re-airing the game. I was practically cheering out loud even though I already knew what was coming. I had forgotten that this insane hook and ladder play was on 4th and 18 or something like that. It just adds to the legend:
So regardless of the outcome tonight, you’ve got to have a lot of respect for these two teams and what they have meant to college football. Though Boise State is recognized as the ultimate game changer – Nirvana, Utah would have to be considered something like Pearl Jam, though not the first, a consistent part of the movement and a band/team that will never be forgotten because of their contributions.
Check out the link from the Las Vegas Review Journal for a preview of the contest:
Why not enjoy a great song as well:
Finally, if you consider yourself “grunge rock” guy or “indie rock” guy, go ahead and post a comment and set me straight on my musical history.

Matt Nielson has been writing about the college sports landscape in Utah and the Intermountain West since 2010. When he’s not pretending to be a professional blogger, he works full time as a residential real estate agent and house flipper. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000. He and his family reside in Salt Lake City, UT.


  1. Andrew

    Classic. Greatest game I have ever seen. Behind only to the 2004 ALCS and game 1 of the 88 World Series for greatest sports memories of my life.

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