Utah will be playing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
Dec. 5, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
> No. 5/6 ranked Utah (11-0, 7-0 MWC) and No. 19/20 Pittsburgh (8-3, 4-2 Big East) will square off in the 34th-annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Saturday, Jan. 1 in Tempe, Ariz. The game will be played in Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium (73,752) and will be televised nationally by ABC. Team introductions will begin at 6:30 p.m. MST and the game will kickoff at 6:43 p.m.
> Utah has made history by becoming the first school from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference to earn a berth in a BCS bowl.
> Utah is the outright Mountain West Conference champion for the second straight year, while Pitt tied with three other teams for first place in the Big East.
> Utah earned an at-large BCS bid by finishing the season ranked in the top six in the BCS standings. Pitt received its league's automatic BCS berth as the highest ranked team from the Big East. Utah's final BCS ranking was No. 6, while Pitt's was No. 21.
> Utah and Pitt have never played each other in football. Utah is 1-0 all-time against the Big East, having beaten West Virginia 40 years ago in the 1964 Liberty Bowl.
> Urban Meyer, the 2004 Home Depot National Coach of the Year and the 2003-04 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year, will coach the Utes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl before departing for his new job as head coach at Florida.
> Utah quarterback Alex Smith will be honored as one of three Davey O'Brien finalists this Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards in Orlando, Fla. A day later, on Dec. 10, Smith and Ute offensive lineman Chris Kemoeatu will be recognized as Cingular Wireless/ABC Sports All-Americans, also in Orlando.
> Smith will learn if he is a Heisman Trophy finalist on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The Heisman Trophy presentation will be made in New York City on Saturday, Dec. 11. Of the Heisman semifinalists, Smith ranks No. 1 in pass efficiency, total touchdowns, fewest interceptions and total offense.
> The Fiesta Bowl has featured a team from a conference other than the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12 or Pac-10 just twice before in its history: In 1974, Brigham Young played Oklahoma State (losing 16-6) and in 1976, Wyoming played Oklahoma (losing 41-7).
> Utah is 3-0 against BCS teams this season, with wins over Texas A&M (41-21), Arizona (23-6) and North Carolina (46-16). The Utes are 5-1 against BCS teams in the past two years and 5-0 with Smith as the quarterback. Last year, Utah beat California and Oregon and lost by two at Texas A&M.