The Utes Throw A Match On A System Made Of Kindling

Saturday, January 03, 2009

If you're Alabama or one of the legion of Tide fans, you don't have any room to look for excuses in getting handled by Utah last night. Using Andre Smith's improper conduct with an agent doesn't fly, nor does the offensive line weakness that resulted with players shifting positions due to injury throughout the game. There's nothing to say about this game save the fact that Utah is just a better team, pounding through a schedule in which it played and beat five ranked opponents during the season.

Alabama not only got outplayed, the team looked like it wasn't happy to be in New Orleans instead of Miami, never mind the fact that the Tide was in a BCS bowl way ahead of schedule under Nick Saban. Ute QB Brian Johnson had his way in the passing game to the tune of 336 yards and 3 TDs, spreading the passes around to several different receivers. Utah's front seven harassed John Parker Wilson all day -- the only lapse they had was when Javier Arenas returned a punt for a touchdown, and the refs let a block in the back go on that return. I'd never seen Saban that pissed; he not only got outcoached, but his team didn't do the little things at all when it came to tackling, blocking, and such.

And now we have one undefeated team left in all of Division I-A football, yet they stand absolutely no chance at any part of the national championship, just like Boise State two years ago. A "plus-1" or Top 4 format wouldn't even help this at all: teams like Utah would be left out because they play in the MWC. Now, we have to consider last year's Sugar Bowl between Hawaii and Georgia an aberration: out of the four BCS bowls featuring non-BCS conference schools, the outsiders are 3-1 (Utah winning twice.) The more this happens, the more obvious the need for an 8-team playoff, at a minimum, becomes, so much so that any fair-minded and smart commentator can't avoid pushing for it, no matter whether their network airs the games or not. Considering how some ESPN analysts and on-air people keep talking about a playoff, I can't imagine them stopping once the Four-Letter gets the BCS contract in a couple of years.

Thank you, Utah, for pouring even more gasoline on the fire.


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JFein said...
Jan 3, 2009, 3:40:00 PM  

When Boise State beat Oklahoma, I, like most people, that saw that game instantly became the biggest argument for a college football playoffs system. After last night, I now stand corrected. This is the biggest argument for a playoff system.

I'm still waiting for the "Boise was just a fluke" and "Utah has no chance" people to say something.

Forget Texas, USC (who apparently are the best team in football according to tWWL), Oklahoma, and Florida, in my mind the Utah Utes are the National Champions of the 2008-2009 college football season.

JFein said...
Jan 3, 2009, 3:41:00 PM  

Wouldn't you just love to see Utah and USC play for a West Regional Final? That would be a great game that actually meant something.

FJT said...
Jan 3, 2009, 6:21:00 PM  

Frankly, I look at this result as one where Utah deserved to win and the BCS deserves to die a horrible death. As for last year's game between Hawaii and Georgia, I see that as Georgia venting its frustation over not being in the SEC title game. Expect the same performance by Texas over Ohio State. Also, by those standards, Boise State could get killed by Texas, but they have a better argument for the Fiesta Bowl than the Buckeyes.

Anonymous said...
Jan 3, 2009, 6:48:00 PM  

So a Bowl +1 would not work, but you honestly believe that if we took two teams out of the current 10 team field that Utah would absolutely not be one of the teams left out?

Pip said...
Jan 3, 2009, 9:42:00 PM  

The BCS could stage a playoff without changing the system that's already in place at all. The six BCS champions plus 4 at large teams already make it to BCS games, so just throw those 10 into a tournament. The six champions would get a first round bye, the four at large teams, which would be the top four in the rankings other than the six champs would play in the first round, and then you've got an 8 team bracket. The regular season still means something, the other bowls still have the same games, the BCS still pays $17M to each school, and the nation gets what it wants.

Anonymous said...
Jan 4, 2009, 12:06:00 AM  

i think in the system described by Anon 12:06, all conference champions should have 11 wins...or their spot goes to an at-large bid...10 teams is too small a format to have a 8-4 team....yes, i think the same of the NFL...

questionmark said...
Jan 4, 2009, 12:31:00 AM  

I always enjoy it when people advocate a college football playoff. They voluntarily reveal themselves as the mental midgets they truly are.

Bowls forever.

Barry O'Manson said...
Jan 4, 2009, 1:24:00 AM  

Wouldn't you just love to see Utah and USC play for a West Regional Final? That would be a great game that actually meant something.

You don't have to wonder.

It was always insane to think that Utah couldn't hang on the field with Alabama - not when Utah played in perhaps the closest a mid-major could come to being a BCS conference. If I see one more unthinking "they're not in the Big Six conferences ergo they can't last ten seconds" argument about a BCS buster I will lose all respect for whoever's talking. (Hawaii was unusually weak for a BCS buster, and I was never on the "award Boise State the National Title" bandwagon, since I noticed Oklahoma only won the Big 12 South because Texas collapsed late.)

The only sane, fair playoff system that still maintains the sanctity of the regular season is a 16-team playoff with all 11 conference champions, and even that might be a team too many. Yet it would also go on so long that reducing the size of the regular season becomes mandatory. Don't throw out "ah, just make an 8-team playoff" without considering how you'd block that out over a three-week period (four, really, if you add even one more team or go to 16). Do you push the tournament to MLK weekend, or start holding the tournament over the holidays or even during finals week?

Take care of that, though, and I would direct Mr. O'Manson's attention to this.

Morgan Wick said...
Jan 4, 2009, 2:29:00 AM  

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