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Pacific 10 Conference extends invitation and Utah accepts without hesitation

compiled from staff and wire reports

Utah’s road to the BCS  has just received a helping hand and a big boost.

As the Pac-10′s newest member, the utes will be playing for a guarenteed spot in one of college football’s elite bowl games rather than hoping and relying on upsets to get in as an at-large team playing in the Mountain West Conference.

Utah officially joined the Pacific 10 Conference on Thursday, leaving behind the Mountain West Conference for the more lucrative opportunities of a league that has access to the Heisman Trophy, Final Four and national titles are all possible instead of dreams.

Dr. Charles Hill Utah AD (courtesy of Utah)

The Pacific 10 offered Utah to join the league on Wednesday and University President Michael Young officially signed the agreement in front of a crowd of boosters on Thursday.

After playing one final season in the Mountain West this coming fall, Utah will join the Pac-10 in 2011.

The announcement by Utah was held at Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the Utes have enjoyed two undefeated seasons in the past six years. The utes received invitations to the Bowl Championship Series in 2004 and 2008, but they were at-large berths.

Michael Young reminded the media and fans that the Utes are 7-3 against the Pac-10 in the last 10 meetings, including wins over Arizona in 2004 and Oregon State four years ago during Utah’s two unbeaten runs to the BCS.

The gigantic leap by Utah takes them from the Mountain West, where national television are rare, to the major markets of the Pacific-10, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix.

Utah was the only unbeaten team in 2008, and didn’t even get a chance to play in the BCS title game. A rout of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl helped Utah’s claims of being more than worthy. The Utes ended up finishing number 2 in the final AP poll, the school’s highest finish ever.

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