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Utah football: Were the 2004 Utes playoff-worthy?

Published July 25, 2014 2:15 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Would the 2004 Utah Utes have qualified for a four-team playoff, in this era of college football? Let's just say that would have been a good test case for the new College Football Playoff committee.

The Utes barely earned automatic inclusion in the Bowl Championship Series at No. 6 in the final BCS standings, determined by polls and computer rankings. For the Utes to have made the top four, the committee would have had to vote them above Texas and California, each with one loss, while evaluating Utah's strength of schedule.

After the bowl games, Utah finished No. 4 in the AP Top 25.

Classic rock influence

The genesis of Utah's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" football advertising campaign in the summer of 2004 was coach Urban Meyer's mentioning to Randy Hanskat, a school marketing strategist, that he'd installed only part of his offense the previous season, when the Utes finished 10-2.

Driving home, Hanskat heard Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" — the official title includes "Nothing," with a "g" — on the radio. "That's the perfect way to say that," Hanskat thought.

He took the idea back to Meyer, who "loved it," by Hanskat's account — although Meyer said in a recent interview, "I didn't want to do that."

Hanskat added, "He was on board with setting the tone, and let the players feed off that."

Hanskat inquired about using the actual BTO song in the three commercials, but Sony Records wanted an exorbitant fee. So he turned the song's signature line into a chant, as the backdrop for the spots.

No Bowling Green

Meyer had proven himself as a head coach by turning around Bowling Green's program, going 17-5 in two seasons at the Ohio school in the Mid-American Conference. That gave his staff some credibility with Utah's players — within limits. Veteran players including safety Morgan Scalley met with Meyer two months into the offseason program and offered some advice.

As Scalley said this summer, discussing his own success as a player, "You can't ever say, 'I did this, I did that.' That doesn't resonate with people. It didn't resonate with us. We hated it. After two months, we said, 'Enough Bowling Green. We don't need to hear Bowling Green anymore.' They didn't mention Bowling Green anymore."