Utah Utes Deserved a Chance for the National Championship Game
The Bowl Championship Series has been announced once again. As usual, there is a massive amount of controversy.
This year, however, neither of the teams playing are undefeated. Additionally, there are a few teams that are undefeated who are not playing for the National Championship.
Both Boise State and Utah have identical 12-0 records. Utah will play in the Sugar Bowl, while Boise State has been left out of the BCS and will play in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Why hasn’t either team been given a shot at the title game?
Boise State doesn’t have as strong of an argument, but Utah can certainly make the point.
Utah has played a schedule that rivals any of the Big Conferences schedules, yet they have no chance to make the title game.
Utah played a Big Ten Conference opponent on the road. Yes, Michigan went 3-9 this season, but any road game to a Big Conference deserves credit. Michigan also was not expected to be this bad when Utah scheduled them.
Utah also faced and beat the No. 3 Pac-10 team. The Utes faced Oregon State at home and beat them.
As for the rest of Utah’s schedule, they played five teams that are bowl-bound in Air Force, Oregon State, Colorado State, TCU, and BYU. According to the latest AP Poll, TCU is No. 11, BYU is No. 17, and Oregon State is No. 24.
How does Utah’s schedule compare to Florida and Oklahoma?
Florida went 12-1. They played several teams heading to bowl games, but most were in-conference opponents. Since Florida plays in a big conference, they will have more teams in their conference heading to bowl games.
In their out-of-conference schedule, Florida played Hawaii, Miami (FL), and Florida State who are all bowl-bound. Florida also played I-AA Citadel, so they should be knocked down a little for this win.
As for Oklahoma, they also went 12-1 and played several in-conference teams headed to bowls, including Texas and Texas Tech.
Oklahoma’s non-conference schedule included Cincinnati and TCU, who are bowl-bound. They also went on the road to Washington, who is the worst team in the Pac-10 and played I-AA Chattanooga.
Basically, Utah took a chance with their non-conference schedule and was the only team of the three to go undefeated. If someone from a Big Conference went undefeated, they would automatically be placed in the National Championship Game.
Let’s take a look at Cincinnati, and if they went 13-0. Their non-conference opponents were Eastern Kentucky, at Oklahoma, Miami (OH), Akron, and at Hawaii. Only Miami and Akron are not going to bowl games.
As for the rest of the BCS contenders, how does Utah’s schedule compare? They out-do several of the other BCS bowl opponents.
USC played Virginia on the road, and Ohio State and Notre Dame at home.
The rest of the teams only had one arguably tough non-conference game.
Penn State played at Syracuse. Ohio State played at USC. Virginia Tech played at Nebraska. Texas played Arkansas at home. Alabama played at Clemson.
Basically, everyone playing in the BCS has decent schedules, but Utah went above and beyond what everyone else did. They knew they needed to because of their weaker conference schedule.
If Utah beats Alabama, should they be Co-National Champions? I definitely think so. They will have beaten Alabama, Michigan, Oregon State, Colorado State, TCU, and BYU. Utah will be the only unbeaten team in the country besides potentially Boise State.
There was a day when smaller conferences were allowed to play for the National Championship. In 1984, BYU beat Michigan in the Holiday Bowl, going 12-0 on the season.
If you’re not in a BCS Conference, you don’t have a chance to go to the National Championship Game. What more did Utah have to do?
We need a playoff system. Take each of the Big Six conference winners, plus two at-larges or more if the NCAA and the teams agree.
It's not fair to have half of the Division I-A teams allowed to compete for the title. The lower teams should just drop down to DI-AA and at least play for a title.
As we look to the future of the BCS, we have to remember a few things. Only 65 teams are actually competing for the National Championship.
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