With the recent realignment in college football done, at least for now, there are a few conferences that have taken on a whole new look. The Big 10, Big XII, and Pac 10 conferences have been at the forefront of this crusade in expanding and contracting their conferences in an attempt to gain more revenue and exposure. Most of the schools that switched conferences seem to have made the right decision but the Utah Utes have put themselves in a great position to have success. Since leaving the Mountain West Conference for greener pastures and joining the Pac 10, Utah is now going to be a legit contender for the Pac 10 title every year now and they are now in a BCS conference.
Being in a BCS conference will lead to more exposure and hopefully a shot at the National Championship. After going undefeated two seasons ago and beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, they should have had a shot at playing for the BCS Championship game. Now if they do run the table again and no other school is undefeated, they would most definitely be in the title game. With USC and a few other schools down in the Pac 10, Utah should hit the ground running when they join the conference in 2011. Being regionally close to the Pac 10, Utah has always fought for most of the same recruits sought after by the Pac 10 powerhouses. Now that they are a part of it, Utah should be able to overcome the small-school mentality that most recruits have.
Kyle Whittingham joined KJR in Seattle to talk about how deciding to move to the Pac 10 Conference being a long process, how much joining the Pac 10 will have an impact on recruiting, and whether it happened in the past that recruits didn’t want to come and play at Utah because it wasn’t in a BCS conference.
On deciding to move to the Pac 10 Conference being a long process:
“It was no question about it. It has been in the conversation at the University of Utah as far as trying to gain entrance into the Pac 10 and speculating on that and obviously it became a reality just last week and we’re excited and it is good for the university on a bunch of different levels, academically, financially, athletically it is a big plus for us and like I said we couldn’t be more excited about joining the Pac 10, Pac 12 or whatever name we are going to have attached to it there.”
On them joining the Pac 10 in 2011:
“Correct. We will begin competition in the Pac in 2011. Colorado, it is my understanding that they come in 2012.”
How much joining the Pac 10 will have an impact on recruiting:
“We are going after the best players we can find. That doesn’t change in that respect. What we have now is a level playing field. In the previous conference, the Mountain West Conference, which is very competitive, very good conference but it is not an AQ-status conference and that really is a hindrance in recruiting as was a hindrance to us. So what we have now is have the ability to not have that be a negative for the recruits because we can go in and say that we are in a BCS conference and that is really just the most important facet is that right there. Now obviously the bar is raised. The Pac 10 has exceptional teams, football-wise. You have got USC and Oregon, a bunch of good football programs in that league and that is also a selling point to recruits, is ‘Hey you have got a chance to play with top notch competition.”
Whether it happened in the past that recruits didn’t want to come and play at Utah because it wasn’t in a BCS conference:
“No question about it and we have gone head-to-head with the Pac 10 several years now and we have won our fair share of those battles, but the majority of those battles that we lost, that was most typically the overriding factor, was ‘Hey we want to be in a BCS conference where we are guaranteed to be in the Rose Bowl if we take care of business and that type of thing. So like I said, we don’t have that stigma attached to us anymore and we are hoping that it will make recruiting that much more productive.”