The U.S. sports media has a new flavor of the month, and it's Utah. Which means it's up to you, readers and listeners and sports fans all over, to say no to this nonsense.
Not you in Utah, of course. You in Utah can say yes. The Utah football team just beat the crap out of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to finish an undefeated season -- the only undefeated season in major college football -- at 13-0. You in Utah ought to be proud of your team, thrilled for your achievement and reveling in the BCS bloodshed as you watch this imperfect system try to justify putting a one-loss team, either Florida or Oklahoma, ahead of your perfect Utes.
|Sorry Utah, but that Sugar Bowl trophy is all you should be getting. (Getty Images)|
Meanwhile, here on planet Earth ...
I mean, come on. Utah? From the Mountain West? There's an awful lot of momentum for Utah to be crowned king in the final Associated Press poll, the final one of the 2008 season, which comes out shortly after the ostensible national championship game between Florida and Oklahoma on Thursday night. The AP poll has that kind of freedom, considering it has cut ties with the Bowl Championship Series. The AP poll could make a stand for Utah, and against the BCS, all in one motion by erecting the Utes as the No. 1 team in college football.
Could we in the media, and everywhere else for that matter, please look at the Sugar Bowl for what it was? It was an exhibition game. It was meaningless. It was watered-down football, what with Alabama missing the very best pro prospect, and probably the very best player, in the SEC in suspended offensive tackle Andre Smith.
Now I'm in the position of having to make excuses for that cretin Nick Saban, and that really ticks me off. But here goes. In the span of one day, Alabama went from the fantasy of hoping to play for the national championship to the reality of having to play Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Until it lost to Florida in the SEC title game, Alabama thought it would play for everything. And then it ended up playing for nothing. That's the Sugar Bowl, if you're Alabama. It's nothing.
Go back to August, and it's a different story. Had you told the Crimson Tide in August, when they were unranked, that in January they would be playing an undefeated team, even Utah, in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama would have been good and fired up. But a lot changed. Over time Alabama ascended to No. 1, a plain mistake, but a mistake foisted on us by the same voters who now have the power in their hands to make Utah No. 1. So anything is possible.
But Alabama went from No. 1 to the stinking Sugar Bowl. Alabama was understandably down. Utah, given the chance to play a BCS league big boy, was understandably up. The result was understandable. Utah won 31-17.
And now it's everywhere. The Washington Post says Utah should be No. 1. That's not going to happen, of course, and the New York Daily News says Utah's exclusion from the No. 1 conversation is proof that the BCS is a failure.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth ...
People, please. Utah is the same team that beat Michigan 25-23. Michigan went 3-9 this season.
Utah is the same team that beat Air Force 30-23. Air Force went 8-5.
Utah beat Weber State 37-21. Weber State isn't even in Division I.
Utah beat New Mexico 13-10. New Mexico went 4-8.
These are facts. But people don't want to hear facts right now, because they'd rather burn down the big, bad BCS witch. As if the BCS is so bad. I'm all about getting the right system, just as long as someone can come up with one. An actual playoff, with 40,000 fans of Oklahoma or Ohio State or Texas being asked to mobilize week after week after week to the far reaches of the country? Not realistic. Games every weekend through the month of December, like they do it in Division I-AA? Feasible, but not ideal.
A plus-one system? Fine. But who are the plus-one teams this year? The winner of the Florida-Oklahoma game is one. Utah, I guess, would be another. What about Texas? Southern California?
You say plus-one, I say plus-four. And some years, plus-six. Which puts us back where we started, with no real solution to the BCS problem. Meanwhile, the BCS has been infinitely better than the previous system, where the No. 1 team in the country might beat the crap out of the No. 7 team in a Jan. 1 bowl and be crowned the national champion. At the time, people thought that made sense. You see my point? People are dumb. People are weak and easily influenced by the here and now.
So, people, please. Do not be fooled by the here and now of Utah's win over Alabama. Do not be fooled by the media clamoring.
Utah is a very good team, probably even a top 10 team.
But Florida would kick Utah's ass. And so would Oklahoma.
Assuming they weren't still laughing after watching film of Utah's games with Weber State and New Mexico.