NEW ORLEANS (AP) - During its glory days, there was no place Alabama would rather end a season than in the Sugar Bowl.
The Crimson Tide won its last national championship in the 1993 edition, its eighth victory in 12 previous appearances in New Orleans during the new year.
The Bowl Championship Series era changed that. Alabama's berth in the Sugar Bowl this season was more akin to a relegation.
It had lost to Florida in the Southeastern Conference title game, keeping the Tide (12-1) from playing for the BCS championship in Miami.
That cannot be said for Utah (12-0).
The Utes needed to run the table to get the school's first taste of the Sugar Bowl and its first matchup with Alabama on Friday night.
Utah receiver Bradon Godfrey says it's the biggest or second-biggest thing ever.
The only comparable accomplishment was their undefeated 2003 season, which ended with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Pittsburgh.
That gives Utah a measure of bragging rights.
Alabama has only one BCS bowl appearance - the 2000 Orange Bowl, which it lost to Michigan in overtime.