The sports year has hardly begun and only two collegiate sports are really underway. But by the results of those two, the University of Utah has some tough sledding in the new Pac-12. While they were a perennial power in the Mountain West, they are the bottom of the Pac-12. Wasn't that what the experts said would happen?
For those who have railed against the experts that said that the non-BCS teams were not worthy of being in the BCS and didn't meet BCS team standards, the University of Utah is an example in the favor of the experts. One must humbly say, "looks like they were right."
Utah is a miserable 2-12 in basketball and on their way to a 2-16 record in conference, which is just as bad as its 5-25 regular season mark. There isn't much swagger or prowess in Salt Lake right now. All the bravado is lost in the end of the game buzzer showing just how miserable the Utes are in the Pac-12 competition. This is coming in a conference that doesn't even have a top 25 team in the rankings.
Certainly the basketball program is not up to the current standards of the Pac-12, even in its lowly state. Now for the good news, yes there is good news.
The football program went 8-5. Yea, that certainly should show they are competitive right? Well let's look at those wins.
They were over a struggling BYU, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona and FCS school Montana State. Not exactly a resume of credibility. They even lost to Colorado, the worst team in the Pac-12.
Washington State had only four wins, over even weaker competition. However, its win over Arizona State was more than just a fluke. It was one of those games that shows that when pride is on the line the underdog can raise to the occasion.
Was it a mistake for Utah to join the Pac-12?
Oregon State distinguished itself by losing to FCS Sacramento State and nearly everyone else. 'Nuff said.
Arizona distinguished itself by beating FCS Northern Arizona, Western Athletic Conference foe Louisiana Tech and hapless UCLA.
I forebear to go on. The Pac-12 was weak, top to bottom, and only at the very top in Oregon and USC were there quality BCS teams. In that realm of competition Utah, despite their record, just didn't compete.
However, if the Utes had held on for just one more year they would have been a part of the bidding contest to join Boise State in the Big East, where the competition is so weak that it is readmitting Temple, a school that got kicked out of the conference just a few short years ago.
One might look at where Utah is today and ask if they will linger in the basement of the Pac-12 for many years. If they had been patient they could have been in a much weaker conference and still been in a BCS conference.
I, for one, must wonder how long the tax payers of Utah will subsidize a premier state school football program being beaten into submission on both the gridiron and the hardwood year after year. And I wonder, was the move a mistake?
Time will tell, but in the first year, and the first part of the 2012, the results don't look promising.