Utah Utes: The True Undefeated National Champions
We all know what happened Thursday night down in Miami. But did that game really decide the true National Champion?
That all depends on who you ask.
If you ask the fans of the Oklahoma Sooners and Florida Gators, they would agree that the champion had been decided. However, go and ask fans of the Utah Utes, Texas Longhorns, or Southern California Trojans.
What do you think you would hear from them? A big, fat resounding, "NO!"
Every one of those five teams and even Penn State and Alabama, prior to the BCS Bowls, had a legitimate claim that they should be in the BCS Championship Game. The Utah Utes had a perfect record entering the BCS slate of games.
Among Utah’s victories were wins at Michigan, Oregon State, TCU, and BYU. Yes, Michigan was down this year, but it is still tough to go into the Big House and come away with a victory.
The other wins came over a second place Pac-10 team. A team that eventually beat the only other undefeated team in a bowl game.
Not to mention TCU gave up the fewest points to Oklahoma during the regular season, so that surely was not just a lucky Mountain West team that played an easy schedule. Of all the teams with cases to be made, Utah has no losses to explain.
I will rank the teams in order as far as the case they have for playing in that title game. When there are teams with losses, why does a no-loss team, with solid credentials get locked out because they have the misfortune of not being from a power conference?
They defeated Oklahoma. Yet, they were shut out of the championship game. Texas' only loss came with one second remaining to Texas Tech and Michael Crabtree, who later in the year got stomped by Oklahoma.
Could Texas have missed out due to style points? Oklahoma went on an offensive tear scoring over 60 points in four straight games, and over 50 points in all but four games.
Who knows? But Texas was ranked lower in the BCS than Oklahoma, which as far as the three-way tiebreaker in the Big-12 South goes, says that the highest-rated team in the BCS wins the division.
Texas got shut out inevitably because of computers.
University of Southern California Trojans
Their only defeat came at the home of Pac-10 runner-up Oregon State. USC probably have some of the best non-conference wins of any of the other contenders.
The Trojans even lost early in the season but we are never able to rebound due to a lackluster Pac-10 this year. They even went a span of four games of allowing only 10 points total.
Those games were against both Arizona and Washington, which isn't saying a whole lot. USC played well, but they had the weak conference going against them.
The early loss did not play in their favor like it did with Florida and Oklahoma, even though USC lost earlier than both.
Alabama and Penn State
Alabama's only loss came in the SEC Championship game against Florida. So really their case went out the window with that loss, but then again so should Oklahoma's considering they lost to Texas.
Why weren't the two individual losses weighted the same?
Alabama had the championship game within their grasp, they just couldn't take care of business. Both of these teams had their chances, they just simply blew them.
Penn State's was defeated by Iowa, their only loss in the season, after a huge win against Ohio State. However, the perceived notion of the Big-10 due to Ohio State's faults kept Penn State really from being a contender.
Florida may have hoisted the BCS trophy, but the team that hoists the trophy in my book is the Utah Utes.
Florida has to explain the loss to Ole Miss, at home. Oklahoma has to explain the loss to Texas. Texas has to explain the loss to Texas Tech. USC to Oregon State, Penn State to Iowa, and Alabama to Florida.
The only team that does not have to explain a loss of any type is Utah, and yet, they were left out.
Utah not only played a flawless regular season, but they proved they wanted it when they showed up in New Orleans and whipped the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The coaches and press members of the AP poll made a huge mistake when they did not vote Utah the National Champions.
What else did Utah need to do? Have Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, USC, Texas, among others lose a second game? What would happen then? I can say, for a fact, you would have seen a one-loss Penn State and one-loss Texas Tech over the little team from Utah.
Two-loss power conference teams in the title will happen before we see another 1984 BYU.
Without some new reform to the system and more access to those schools like Boise State and Utah, we will never see a non-BCS conference team as a championship contender.
Utah was as close as we have gotten, and a perfect 12-0 record compared to teams with blemishes apparently is not good enough. The BCS and AP pollsters got it wrong.
Utah, my 2009 National Champions.
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