There's dominance, and then there's dominance. The 2004 Utah team showed dominance throughout the season, destroying everyone in their path. The 2008 Utah team showed flashes of greatness throughout the season, but really didn't show dominance until the Sugar Bowl. Bama fans to this day will claim that because they weren't in the National Championship game, it didn't matter to the players...
The Sugar Bowl kept its "traditional" ties to the SEC by choosing Alabama after Florida made it to the National Championship game. After the announcement of Utah being selected as the second team for the Sugar Bowl, odds-makers began their over-hyping of the Crimson Tide, placing them as 10.5 point favorites over the Utes. Brian Johnson and company had other ideas.
The Utes utterly dominated the first quarter with a 21-0 run behind a Matt Asiata run and 2 touchdown passes from Brian Johnson (though not in that order). Utah's defense held Alabama to 10 yards on their first three drives of the game. Alabama came back with 17 straight points over the course of 2 quarters on scores by a Leigh Tiffin field goal, a Javier Arenas 73-yard punt return, and a Glen Coffee touchdown reception.
From there, Utah would immediately respond with another Brian Johnson touchdown. Utah's defense held the rest of the game and with a final field goal kick from Louie Sakoda, the Utes completed a dominating performance of a so-called "superior" SEC team. Even if the whole "players were let down for not making the Championship game" was true, there should have been no reason for a 14- point defeat from Alabama, if they were really as good as they were made out to be. Utah was truly, the better team at the Sugar Bowl.
Up Next: A non-AQ team makes it to the Granddaddy of Them All, and shocks the world with one swat.