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Countdown to Opening Day: Remembering 10 Great MW Football Moments - 9. 2005 Fiesta Bowl: Utah vs Pitt

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There are now 10 days left until the beginning of college football. To celebrate this auspicious and great sport I have compiled 10 great moments in MW football history. The rankings aren't necessarily top to bottom, and there are always room for opinions.


Sometimes, there is just that one magical moment that changes the course of history. The 2005 Fiesta Bowl is one of those moments. While most people will remember Boise State - Oklahoma as the "little engine that could" game, Utah was the first BCS Buster, and their dominant performance during the season earned them a bid to the Fiesta Bowl to face the Pitt Panthers.

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Starting the season ranked No. 19 by the Coaches Poll, the Utes quite literally dominated everyone on their schedule, winning by an average of 24 points per game. Their biggest challenge was Air Force, who they beat 49-35. Finishing the touches of a "humiliate the rival" versus BYU by a score of 52-21, Utah finished the season ranked at No. 6, just enough to bust the BCS. History was made, the non-AQ's had rudely crashed the BCS party and as a reward, Utah was given an 8-3 Pitt team led by coach Walt Harris.

Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham smelled the blood in the water, and they sent their ace, Alex Smith to finish the job. With the Spread Offense set in place, Smith absolutely dominated the Panthers, going 29/37, 328 yards, 4 TDs, no INT's and additionally carrying the ball 15 times for 68 yards. Surprisingly, Pitt won the turnover battle, however, it didn't help as they weren't able to score.

The knockout was complete: Utah did what they did throughout the season and utterly destroyed PItt 35-7. Alex Smith was rewarded handsomely: a number one pick in the NFL Draft. Kyle Whittingham took over as the head coach when Urban Meyer nearly immediately got hired at Florida. Mike Sanford left for UNLV (he probably should've stayed at Utah) and the Mountain West left their true first mark on the AQ conferences...

Up next: This team has a nasty habit of beating highly ranked home teams. This was the first one they were known for...