Selection Sunday has finally arrived.
And barring a big surprise, Utah will likely be invited to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl today. The Dec. 20 game at Qualcomm Stadium will pit the Utes against Navy.
"They're a good team," said Utah safety Steve Tate, who noted that the Midshipmen have an explosive offense; a good quarterback; fast, tough guys; and a talented offensive line.
The challenging task isn't being taken lightly. The Utes have won their past six bowl games and are determined to extend the nation's second-longest active streak.
"We've got one goal in mind, and that's to win seven bowl games in a row," Tate said. "That's the only thing on our mind right now."
The Utes practiced three times last week despite not knowing exactly who their bowl opponent would be. They did, however, watch some film on Navy and introduced some schematics for the probable meeting.
"We take it serious," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "It's all in the preparation of the players."A look at Utah's 6-0 bowl roll:
ARMED FORCES BOWL (Dec. 23, 2006)UTAH 25, TULSA 13: At Fort Worth, Louie Sakoda earned MVP accolades after accounting for 13 of the Utes' points. Eric Weddle capped his stellar career at Utah in impressive fashion by scoring a touchdown, intercepting a pass, recovering a fumble, assisting on a sack and rushing for 56 yards.
EMERALD BOWL (Dec. 29, 2005)UTAH 38, GEORGIA TECH 10: At San Francisco, Travis LaTendresse and Weddle earned MVP honors as the Utes upset No. 24 Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl. LaTendresse made 16 catches and scored four touchdowns, while Weddle held Georgia Tech star Calvin Johnson to just two receptions.
FIESTA BOWL (Jan. 1, 2005)UTAH 35, PITTSBURGH 7: At Tempe, Ariz., Alex Smith and Paris Warren shared offensive MVP honors, while Steve Fifita garnered defensive recognition as the Utes made their historic journey into the Bowl Championship Series a success. Utah's defense set a Fiesta Bowl record with nine sacks in the lopsided affair, witnessed by what is believed to be the largest gathering of Ute fans.
LIBERTY BOWL (Dec. 31, 2003)UTAH 17, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 0: At Memphis, Brandon Warfield and Lewis Powell were named offensive and defensive MVP, respectively, as the Utes overpowered the Golden Eagles. Utah's defense had a strong outing with five sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss. Morgan Scalley returned a fumble 74 yards for a touchdown.
LAS VEGAS BOWL (Dec. 25, 2001)UTAH 10, SOUTHERN CAL 6: At Las Vegas, Dameon Hunter rushed for 94 yards and was named MVP as the Utes edged the Trojans on Christmas Day. Utah sacked USC quarterback Carson Palmer five times and made nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Trojans wound up with just 1 yard rushing.
LAS VEGAS BOWL (Dec. 18, 1999)UTAH 17, FRESNO STATE 16: At Las Vegas, Mike Anderson had 254 rushing yards and was named MVP of the one-point win over the Bulldogs. Cletus Truhe's 33-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the game proved to be the difference.
E-mail: [email protected]