BCS And The Utes: Lookin' For Love
The Bowl Championship Series. Drink it in. Many college football fans find this an objectionable, offensive drink. In fact, the mere mention of the acronym “BCS” instills rage and anger in almost every college football fan.
There is rich tradition in NCAA Football unlike any other sport in the United States. Its roots trace back to the late 1800s and was nearly banned by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 in response to the deaths caused by on-field injuries.
Although the BCS has only been in operation since 1998, it has become ingrained in the college football tradition. You can’t sit there and tell me that the BCS Selection Show isn’t the next best thing after the NFL Draft.
When I was a kid, Christmas was my favorite day of the year. Now its New Year's Day. It’s tradition to wake up with a nasty headache from New Year's, turn on the TV and watch bowl games all day.
While the idea of a college football playoff system is indeed titillating, the chances of it happening are unfortunately very slim. It’s tough to see great teams like Utah and Boise State get pushed to the side year in and year out. But as long as the BCS resides and they remain in the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conference respectively, their chances at a National Championship are almost nonexistent.
The amount of money these Bowl Games generate is dizzying. From the individual team payouts to the television contracts, millions are at stake in the NCAA Football post season.
A change in the format could mean the end for many classic bowl games, including the BCS bowls. These include the legendary Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
A big complaint of the BCS is that it hurts the little guy. Automatic bids to a BCS game are given to the champion of these six conferences: ACC, Pac-10, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, and Big East.
If your team is in any other conference in Division I-A Football you better hope they finish ranked somewhere in the top twelve, because other than that…it ain’t gonna happen.
This includes but is not limited to: the respectable Mountain West Conference, the not-so-respectable Western Athletic Conference and the dismal Sun Belt.
In most cases you know which teams are going to each bowl game, but every now and then they throw a serious curve ball.
Granted the selection process is only fun for every fan whose team is not in the running for the National Championship. Every year we’re guilt-tripped by teary-eyed teams and teary-eyed fans who felt they got snubbed. Every year it happens, and every year the cries for a playoff system get louder.
The most recent offender in this area was the Utah Utes. Last year they felt they were snubbed by going to the Sugar Bowl instead of the National Championship.
The Sugar Bowl has a long and rich history, any team should feel privileged to be invited to play in such an elite bowl. That being said, the Utes played an incredible season.
The only problem: they played an incredible season in the Mountain West. Don’t get me wrong, the Mountain West is the next best thing to a BCS conference, but its still not a BCS conference. With good reason.
Over the years I have watched the Utes and become some-what of a closet fan, rooting for them in almost every bowl game I’ve seen.
The first Utah bowl game that comes to mind was played at my Alma Matter, Arizona State University in 2004. They were up against Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl which at the time took place at my beloved Sun Devil Stadium.
To be short, it was a routing.
The Utah Utes have proved time and time again that they can compete on a higher level than the rest of the Mountain West. Like the Big 10 once did with Penn State, the Pac 10 should invite Utah to join them as the eleventh school in the conference.
I love the Pac 10 and would be very interested to see what the Utes could do in an elite conference as such. We could even get rid of Washington State to keep it an even ten…Only kidding. But seriously.
The Utes would make a great addition to one of the greatest conferences in the BCS. Lets take a quick look at the past couple seasons for the Utes:
- 2008: Went 13-0 (8-0), Beat #4 Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl
- 2007: Went 9-4 (5-3), Beat Navy 35-32 in the Poinsettia Bowl
- 2006: Went 8-5 (5-3), Beat Tulsa 25-13 in the Armed Forces Bowl
- 2005: Went 7-5 (4-4), Beat Ga. Tech 38-10 in the Emerald Bowl
- 2004: Went 12-0 (7-0), Beat Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl
The most notable of these stats are the 2004 and 2008 seasons where the Utes went undefeated and recorded bowl wins against a solid Alabama squad and Big East standout Pittsburgh.
The Big 10 saw the potential of Penn State nineteen years ago and it now looks as if they are the team to beat in that conference.
It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, but the Utah Utes are destined for bigger and better things.
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