Paris Warren, like Utah's 18 other seniors, couldn't ask for a better scenario.

His final home game has it all — BYU, Bowl Championship Series implications and an opportunity to go 11-0.

"It doesn't get any better," Warren said of Saturday's clash between the Utes and Cougars (5 p.m., ESPN2) at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

A successful outcome will most likely land Utah in a BCS bowl. The Utes are in position to become the first team from a non-BCS conference to crash the lucrative party.

The improbable finish is especially sweet for Warren.

The wide receiver began his career at Oregon, where he was part of a team that earned a BCS bid in 2001. The Ducks, who narrowly missed out on playing for the national championship that year, wound up defeating Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Warren saw action in 14 plays in what proved to be his final game in green and gold. For a variety of reasons, he transferred to Utah a few months later.

The Utes, however, weren't exactly BCS contenders at the time. They went 5-6 during the year Warren practiced but could not play in games because of NCAA transfer rules.

A coaching change followed. Ron McBride was out and in came Urban Meyer. That's when fortunes began to change for everyone involved. Victories became commonplace.

On Oct. 3, 2003, Warren came face-to-face with his past when Utah played host to nationally ranked Oregon. He caught a game-high 10 passes in the Utes' 17-13 victory.

Warren went on to break Utah's single-season receptions record with 76. His rise to prominence was accompanied by team success. The Utes went 10-2 and carried a four-game winning streak into 2004. They have since added 10 more victories while claiming back-to-back outright conference titles to end a 51-year drought.

Oregon, meanwhile, has slipped. The Ducks need a season-ending win over Oregon State just to become bowl eligible.

"I just feel that things happen for a reason," said Warren. "Everything really fell in place."

Complete satisfaction, though, is still a win away. This year's BYU game, he added, is more personal. Last year's 3-0 victory in Provo gave him a taste of the heated rivalry.

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"It's a lot of emotion, a lot of energy. It'll be flowing all week long. We wish we could play tomorrow, but we've got to wait. We're going to be ready to go," said Warren. "It's not really going to hit me until the game is over. There's not a better way to go out than against that team down south."

A comment by BYU receiver Austin Collie, who said the Cougars were going to "put a hurt" on the Utes, caught the attention of Warren and his teammates.

"We heard it over the weekend. But, we're really not going to worry about one person. We'll let him talks all he wants," said Warren. "He's got to realize he's going against a tough defense. We feel that we have the best defense in the conference. We'll see what he has to say after the game."


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com

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