Utah Utes Finish No. 2 in AP Rankings
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Highest finish ever for a Utah football team.

SALT LAKE CITY -- The 13-0, Sugar Bowl champion Utah football team finished the 2008 season ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. Utah received 16 first-place votes and 1,519 total points in the AP poll to finish behind Florida (48 first-place votes, 1,606 total points).

It was the highest finish ever for a Utah football team--surpassing the 12-0, Fiesta Bowl champion team of 2004, which earned a No. 4 AP ranking. The 2008 Utes finished No. 4 in the USA Today Poll, which is voted on by the coaches, who were required to vote the winner of the BCS Championship game No. 1. Utah's No. 4 ranking in the coaches' poll also beat its previous record of No. 5 in the final 2004 rankings.

The Utes held out hope for a share of the national title after dismantling an Alabama team that was ranked No. 1 for five weeks in the regular season. Utah blasted the Tide 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 before a heavily partisan Alabama crowd in the Louisiana Superdome. Alabama's only loss prior to meeting Utah was to Florida in SEC Championship game. The Utes jumped to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and finished the game with both the most points scored against, and the fewest points allowed to, Alabama in the 2008 season.

15 Utah Highlights in 2008
1. The only undefeated team in the nation (13-0).
2. No. 2 AP and No. 4 USA Today rankings are both the best in school history. 3. 3-0 against teams from automatic qualifying BCS schools (Michigan, Oregon State, Alabama).
4. 4-0 against the Top-25 (Alabama, TCU, Oregon State, Brigham Young).
5. In their fifth game against a FBS opponent, the Utes beat the only team (Oregon State) to beat USC.   
6. 6-0 against bowl teams.
7. Utah scored 21 points in a seven-minute span against Alabama.
8. Eight straight bowl wins is the longest current bowl streak in the nation. Included are wins over USC, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Alabama.
9. Nine tackles for loss (including eight sacks) against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. 10. In 10 games against the Pac 10 and SEC combined, Mountain West Conference teams were 8-2.
11. 11 Utah first or second-team all-league selections (8 first team, 3 second team).
12. Utah is 12-3 in the last 15 games against automatic BCS qualifiers.
13. 13 wins is a new school record.
14. 14 straight wins is the longest current win streak in the nation.
15. Number of years Coach Kyle Whittingham has been on the Utah staff.

Quotes from Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham

On Utah's No. 2 AP Ranking
"We had a great season and finished with the highest ranking in school history. Our players should be very proud of what they have accomplished and are well deserving of all the accolades that have come their way."

On Not Finishing No. 1
"We felt that being the only undefeated team in the country should have allowed us the opportunity to play for a national championship. We believe that if given the chance, we can play with any team in the nation. We're not trying to take anything away from what Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators accomplished this season. They have a great team and he is one of the best coaches in the country, if not the best. While there is certainly some disappointment about not finishing No. 1, we prefer to look on the positive side."

On the Mountain West Conference
"The Mountain West Conference went 6-1 against the Pac 10 in regular season games (6-2 overall) and was 2-0 against the SEC, so awareness has been raised on the competitiveness of the teams in this league. Hopefully having two teams ranked in the top 10, and three in the top 25, will convince people that a MWC team does not have to go undefeated to be invited to a BCS bowl. It is incredibly difficult to make it through an entire season without a loss."

On the Effects on Recruiting
"Playing in a BCS game obviously has a very positive effect on recruiting. We've already had a couple of recruits commit since our bowl win, and we expect to feel the positive impact of this season in recruiting for the next couple of years."

2008 Final AP Rankings (Jan. 8)

1. Florida (48)      13-1    1,606
2. Utah (16)         13-0    1,519
3. USC (1)           12-1    1,481
4. Texas             12-1    1,478
5. Oklahoma          12-2    1,391
6. Alabama           12-2    1,264
7. TCU               11-2    1,193
8. Penn State        11-2    1,153
9. Ohio State        10-3    1,013
10. Oregon           10-3      997
11. Boise State      12-1      938
12. Texas Tech       11-2      916
13. Georgia          10-3      903
14. Mississippi       9-4      857
15. Virginia Tech    10-4      713
16. Oklahoma State    9-4      534
17. Cincinnati       11-3      506
18. Oregon State      9-4      467
19. Missouri         10-4      435
20. Iowa              9-4      317
21. Florida State     9-4      246
22. Georgia Tech      9-4      223
23. West Virginia     9-4      144
24. Michigan State    9-4      138
25. Brigham Young    10-3      137

2008 Final USA Today Poll (Jan. 8)
1. Florida (60)      13-1    1,524
2. USC               12-1    1,393
3. Texas             12-1    1,389
4. Utah (1)          13-0    1,375
5. Oklahoma          12-2    1,333
6. Alabama           12-2    1,157
7. TCU               11-2    1,114
8. Penn State        11-2    1,091
9. Oregon            10-3    1,011
10. Georgia          10-3      904
11. Ohio State       10-3      874
12. Texas Tech       11-2      867
13. Boise State      12-1      809
14. Virginia Tech    10-4      740
15. Mississippi       9-4      620
16. Missouri         10-4      549
17. Cincinnati       11-3      493
18. Oklahoma State    9-4      480
19. Oregon State      9-4      407
20. Iowa              9-4      250
21. Brigham Young    10-3      248
22. Georgia Tech      9-4      219
23. Florida State     9-4      217
24. Michigan State    9-4      179
25. California        9-4      116

 
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