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Utah’s first appearance in the Rose Bowl could be a boon for the entire school, not just the football team.

Coach Kyle Whittingham has thought about the fringe benefits of playing in one of college football’s most prestigious bowl games on national television on New Year’s Day against No. 6 Ohio State.

“Tons of benefit. You’ll see a spike in enrollment, particularly out-of-state enrollment. The community itself will feel the positive effects,” he said. “I don’t know how you measure that but I know that the effects of going to this bowl is going to be far-reaching in the Salt Lake community and the University of Utah.”

While millions will be watching the 108th Rose Bowl on TV, a large contingent of Ute fans will be in attendance in Pasadena. Athletic director Mark Harlan has said he expects 60,000 Utah fans to be on hand while the Buckeyes have had to return some of their allotment of tickets. The Rose Bowl seats about 90,000.

“We’re so elated. In the Pac-12 championship game we experienced a four-to-one advantage in the fans,” Whittingham said. “It looks like this might be two-to-one or three-to-one. Our fans have been great all season long. They’ve rallied behind this team. I can’t thank them enough for the support they’ve given us throughout the course of the entire season.”

Numbers game

3: With a win in the Rose Bowl, Utah would capture its third New Year’s Six Bowl victory.

6: The Utes are one of six Power Five programs, and the only Pac-12 team, that is ranked in the top 30 in the FBS in scoring offense and scoring defense.

11: With a win in the Rose Bowl, the Utes would earn their 11th victory of the season for Whittingham’s third season with 11 or more wins.

From the archives

Most impactful Utes stories of the year ran gamut of emotions
Something’s wrong when players are opting out of Rose Bowl

Extra points

  • Even while at Disneyland, both Utah, Ohio State cautious about the virus ahead of the Rose Bowl (Deseret News)
  • How Utah handled an ‘alarming’ experience at team hotel late Sunday night (Deseret News)
  • 4 Ohio State stars have opted out of the Rose Bowl (Deseret News)
  • How Utah’s Rose Bowl date ranks among state’s biggest bowl games ever (Deseret News)
  • After losing two bowl games in a row, Kyle Whittingham, Utes aim to return to winning ways in Rose Bowl (Deseret News)


Comments from Deseret News readers

“I don’t begrudge the four Ohio State players for not playing. They are trying to take care of their families with generational changing money that will come their way if they can avoid some devastating injury. Their school is going to rake in millions of dollars, but none of this will go to the players directly. The other reality, and this won’t determine the game result on January 1, is that the two programs are in different places in the overall scheme of things. Ohio State’s expectations are to be in the CFP and the Rose Bowl for them is short of their goals. For Utah it was their goal and became their goal as soon as BYU beat them in September and basically ended their CFP dreams. As said before, bowl games are to sell soap (and other stuff we may or may not need) and until the CFP is actually expanded to at least 16 teams, expect more and more players to bail out in these bowl games. And by the way, Utah had a chance to play a bowl game last year and the players voted to bail on the opportunity, maybe Ute fans should be careful about how they label these Ohio State players quitters or whatever.”

— eaglesflyhigh

“Enjoy the moment Ute fans!! It’s hard to make it to the Rose Bowl, just ask U of A; ASU; WSU; Cal; Oregon St; Colorado. Go Utes!!!”


Up next

Dec. 30 | 7 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Oregon State | @Corvallis, Oregon | Pac-12 Network

Dec. 31 | 8 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Oregon | @Eugene, Oregon | Pac-12 Oregon

Jan. 1 | 3 p.m. | Football | vs. Ohio State | @Pasadena, California | Rose Bowl | ESPN

Jan. 1 | 8:30 p.m. | Men’s basketball | at Oregon | @Eugene, Oregon | Pac-12 Network

Jan. 2 | 1 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Oregon State | @Eugene, Oregon | Pac-12 Mountain