2008 Utes recognized as national champions

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The 2008 Utah Utes are officially considered national champions by the NCAA — sort of.

The Anderson-Hester computer ranking, used to help determine which teams would compete for the national championship in the BCS era, had the Utes ranked number one in its final poll of the season. The NCAA now recognizes that 2008 team, which beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, as champions next to BCS champion Florida.

“We thought we were a pretty good team that year,” said Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham. “I voted us number one. We were the only undefeated team that year in the country, and even now, it’s speculative and mythical. Until they have a full on real playoff system, then it’s all speculative.”

Whittingham said that he didn’t expect the university to hang a banner or proclaim themselves as national champions.

The Anderson-Hester ranking, which was used in the old BCS system and is available to be used to determine today’s playoff teams, does not use margin of victory as a determining factor.

Current linebacker Cody Barton said the recognition was nice, but they want to win it for real.

“That’s cool I guess,” Barton said.  “But I think it would be cooler if we win it this year, you know what I’m saying? Without the asterisk.”

The Utes kick off the season Thursday at home against Weber State.

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