A Utah football fan's almanac

Published: Thursday, Feb. 9 2012 2:29 p.m. MST

From Urban Meyer's hire to BCS bowl wins to an invitation to the PAC-10 Conference, the last decade of University of Utah football has been well documented.

But what about the other 11 decades?

In his book, "100 Things Utes Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die," Patrick Sheltra has compiled interesting stories about past all-American players, influential and well-known coaches, heart-stopping plays in legendary games, fun facts and proud traditions in order to provide passionate fans with information to enhance their Utah football I.Q.

"To best appreciate the ground Utah football has covered over the last decade, it's important to remember the countless toe-stubbings, near-misses, and empty off-seasons that followed blowout losses to BYU that the program endured for nearly 30 years," the author wrote in the introduction. "It's important for that period to be documented in this book — not just for perspective's sake, but for the simple fact that there were still some dynamic players and games in that era."

So with serious sports fans in mind, Sheltra, a sports journalist and Utah alumnus, listed the top 100 stories and moments in Utes football history, including Utah's entry into the PAC-10, the 2009 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, a history of the classic "Holy War" battles against BYU, the MUSS and other campus traditions and the story behind Rice-Eccles Stadium, among many others.

The book reviews the careers of players like Alex Smith, Eric Weddle, Morgan Scalley, Jordan Gross, Steve Smith, brothers Kevin and Andre Dyson, Erroll Tucker, Luther Ellis, Larry Wilson, Joseph B. Wirthlin and others. There are tales of coach Ron McBride, play-by-play voice Bill Marcroft, and memorable bowl victories. Sheltra said he intended the book to be a "jumping-off point for further discussion."

"The whole point of such rankings is to generate debate, to enlighten, and to entertain," he wrote.

"100 Things" for Utah fans is available at www.triumphbooks.com.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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