On the eve of the 2017 college football season, I was having a discussion with a knowledgeable FBS friend about who we think will win the Pac-12 this season. I had a tough time. Part of the reason I wasn't able to easily pencil in a winner is the conference's recent history of upsets — typically by an unranked or lower-ranked opponent at home versus a higher-ranked school.
I talked to my friend about Utah. I couldn't provide quantifiable proof, but I just felt like I remembered Utes fans running onto the field seemingly every year after dashing the hopes of either BYU or a highly ranked opponent.
I decided to do some research. My gut was right.
Since 2008, Utah fans have stormed the field seven times after scoring major upsets or victories. That total is nine if you count the times they rushed the field on three separate occasions against BYU in 2012.
Watch these endings below to see why the Utah Utes just might lead the country in field-storming parties.
September 23, 2016: Utah 31, USC 27
Ranked No. 20 in the country in preseason polls, USC had already been routed by Alabama and rolled by Stanford. That didn't stop Utah fans from celebrating the fact they had dropped the Trojans to 1-3.
What's interesting is that fans didn't run onto the field two weeks earlier in a nail-biter against rival BYU despite stopping the Cougars on a dramatic two-point attempt for the win. Perhaps it was because it was the sixth straight win in the series for the Utes?
October 26, 2014: Utah 24, USC 21
In one of the school's biggest Pac-12 wins at home, Travis Wilson found Kaelin Clay with eight second left to steal a victory over No. 20 USC.
October 12, 2013: Utah 27, Stanford 21
Stanford came into the game with an undefeated 5-0 mark and No. 5 ranking. But like so many other teams that visited Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Cardinal watched fans flock from the stands after a final-minute goal-line stand secured the contest.
September 16, 2012: Utah 24, BYU 21
Fans rushed the field a total of three times in one of the wildest endings in Holy War history.
The crowd stormed the field the first time after it looked like No. 25 BYU had run out of time on offense while driving into Utah territory. Officials confirmed there was one second left on the clock and the Cougars lined up for a 51-yard game winner.
The kick was blocked by defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, but as the ball squirted around on the turf, Utes' fans ran onto the field prematurely and were assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The flag moved the ball 15 yards forward and gave BYU an untimed down to win the game from 36 yards away.
Riley Stephenson's kick clanged off the left upright, and Utah fans discovered that the third time rushing the field was a charm.
September 2, 2010: Utah 27, Pitt 24 OT
November 27, 2010: Utah 17, BYU 16
It's no wonder Cougar fans must be sick of watching Utah students run onto the field.
The Utes improved to 10-2 after Brandon Burton got his hands on this 42-yard game-winning attempt in 2010.
October 2, 2008: Utah 31, Oregon State 28
Quarterback Brian Johnson saved what would become an undefeated season for the Utes by rallying his troops to 11 points in the final 90 seconds against Oregon State. When Louie Sakoda drilled the 37-yard winner, the party was on.