Utah Utes football notebook: Bowl matchup still up in the air
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Even with Friday's loss, Utah is assured of a ninth consecutive bowl appearance. Where the Utes go, however, likely won't be known until the Bowl Championship Series announces its selections on Dec. 4.
Should Oregon and Stanford end up in the BCS, as expected, Utah will join Washington, California, UCLA, Arizona State in a selection process by Pac-12 bowl partners other than the Rose Bowl — beginning with the Alamo Bowl and followed in order by the Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, Bowl Las Vegas and Fight Hunger Bowl.
The New Mexico Bowl comes into play if Oregon or Stanford fails to secure a second BCS berth (presumably in the Fiesta Bowl) for the conference.
Alamo Bowl president/CEO Derrick Fox was in Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday to watch the Utes play. While acknowledging the San Antonio-based bowl was interested in Utah, he noted before the game that the outcome could be a factor.
Had the Utes prevailed and improved to 8-4 with five consecutive wins, Fox said they would have been "appealing from that standpoint."
Ryan Oppelt of the Fight Hunger Bowl, which has the sixth pick among Pac-12 teams, was also in Utah on Saturday.
"We had a great experience with Utah in San Francisco back in 2005 in the Emerald Bowl, where they came out and kind of blasted Georgia Tech," Oppelt said while adding the Utes brought a ton of fans to that game.
SENIOR DAY: Utah's 19 departing seniors were honored before their final game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The class, which has matched last year's seniors with a school-record 41 career wins, includes defensive tackle James Aiono, defensive tackle Shawn Asiata, offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom, defensive back Greg Bird, defensive back Conroy Black, linebacker Wise Cilumba, offensive lineman John Cullen, defensive lineman Tevita Finau, defensive end Nai Fotu, kicker Kenny Golladay, linebacker Matt Martinez, wide receiver Dexter Ransom, running back Mychal Robinson, defensive end Derrick Shelby, defensive back Ben Soliven, running back Tauni Vakapuna, linebacker Chaz Walker, defensive back Tyler Whittingham and linebacker J.J. Williams.
EXTRA POINTS: The attendance was 45,026, extending Utah's streak of sellouts at home to 12 games. ... Scouts from the Atlanta Falcons and AFL's Utah Blaze were credentialed for the game. ... Colorado now leads the all-time series with Utah by a 31-24-3 margin. ... Junior punter Sean Sellwood had two lengthy punts and now has 10 of 50 yards or greater in his career. ... The Utes are 0-5 this season when trailing after three quarters.
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