Club SportsSports

Utes deserve shot at title

Boise State-19, Oregon-8.

BYU-14, Oklahoma-13.

Utah-31, Alabama-17. 

Here are just three examples of non-BCS conference teams beating BCS conference teams. It’s actually quite impressive. Teams with less money, smaller recruiting budgets and less name recognition are showing they can get it done, too. No longer does the name Michigan guarantee a win. Neither does Oklahoma, nor any other traditional powerhouse.

Teams are learning that just because you play in a small conference, the only thing that’s different is the name. They’re all playing the same game and more and more schools are getting recruits who used to go to eight or nine of the same schools.

It’s evened the playing field.

And it’s not as if these games have been flukes, either. Utah handled a very good Alabama team last year in the Sugar Bowl and showed everyone that even a team from the all-powerful SEC is susceptible to a loss against a mid-major conference. 

But it wasn’t like Utah’s victory over the Crimson Tide came out of thin air. The Utes went to Michigan and beat the Wolverines — although they weren’t good last year, it’s still Michigan and the Big House — and then beat Oregon State 31-28 a few weeks later. The Utes then went on to beat No. 11 TCU. Finally, Utah wrapped up its conference championship with a 48-24 win over No. 16 BYU.

Impressive wins. They deservedly got a chance in the Sugar Bowl. Seasons like that make me increasingly supportive of a playoff system for college football. Yes, the bowl system is traditional, and yes, there is so much money being rammed into these things that half the country would probably have a cardiac arrest if the number of post-season games were cut to half of the 30 or so that are now played, but it’s necessary.

Playoffs would answer certain questions like, “is an 11-1 SEC team better than a 12-0 Mountain West team?”  That question was partially answered when the Utes beat Alabama, but what about Florida? They were 12-1 after beating Oklahoma and won the national championship. Who wouldn’t have liked to see a game between Utah and Florida to decide once and for all was better? Utah ended the season undefeated after playing some great teams. Florida came within one point of also being undefeated (a 31-30 loss
to Mississippi).

Polls where coaches and writers are voting based on their opinions and biases should not decide a national champion.

Games should decide.

A playoff system would be easy to implement with the bowls already in place. What’s more, the BCS wouldn’t have to be totally eliminated. Have the top eight teams be BCS teams, but instead of having them all play in a bowl game and then be done, make an eight-team bracket and give each game a bowl name to boot. No. 1 will play No. 8 in the Fiesta Bowl. No. 2 vs. No. 7 in the Sugar Bowl; No. 3 vs. No. 6 in the Holiday Bowl and No. 4 vs. No. 5 in the Cotton Bowl. 

In the semi-finals we can have the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl be the two games and the winners can face off in the BCS National Title game. Then everyone else can still play in their bowl games.

This process would be the best of both worlds. The BCS sticks around for the money-grubbers and it isn’t obsolete, bowl games aren’t eliminated for the 7-5, 6-6 teams that still want to play in post-season games, and it adds another level of certainty to whom the champ is.

Wouldn’t everyone love to see a Utah/Boise State/BYU matchup against Florida/Ohio State for the national championship? There wouldn’t be all of the, “We went undefeated and yet we’re only No. 2” stuff, and the winner can unequivocally claim the title. Granted, there will be complaints from teams who were on the bubble and left out, but that happens no matter the number of teams a tournament allows. We see it every year in the NCAA
basketball tournament.

In this day and age where parity is becoming more and more the norm, a playoff system is the way to go. Teams like Utah and Boise State deserve their chance, and just because they don’t draw the ratings that teams like Florida and Oklahoma do, it doesn’t mean they are any less deserving.

I made the mistake of underestimating Boise State opening weekend and I won’t with any other team from here on out. 

It’s time the rest of the non-believers and BCS bigshots to do the same.

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