Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Obvious, Overdue

Utah should be the national champion in NCAA Division 1 football this year. No, I am not a fan of the Utes particularly, in fact I have not even seen them play a single game, but they hold a qualification unique in major college football; they are the only undefeated team among the major colleges. The 31-17 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama was Utah’s second BCS bowl win as an undefeated team in the last four years.

Yet the BCS committee has already decided that the winner of Thursday’s game between Oklahoma and Florida will be the National Champion. Never mind that both teams have lost a game and Utah has not, never mind that Utah beat 4th-ranked Alabama handily on both sides of the ball. Utah is not from the “right” conference, so even perfect is not good enough.

Some of the readers may suspect that I am not completely serious in selling Utah as the National Champion, and to a degree I agree that Utah does not strike me as a champion in the way that other teams might, but the NCAA has failed to allow the obvious resolution – let the contenders play for the title. Every other NCAA sport has playoffs to determine the champion, in fact every other level of football, from pee wee to the professional leagues has playoffs to decide the matter. Even the NCAA has playoffs for football – except for Division 1. There is simply no honest argument against having a playoff, and everyone knows it. And for all the noise from the schools which have tried to make the championship a Good-ol-Boys club reserved for the largest state schools, the facts are plain to anyone who has played the game.

1. Scoreboard trumps all other arguments
2. If you think your 1-loss team is the champ when someone else is undefeated, see rule 1.

So there you are. No one but Utah made it through the schedule without losing along the way. Utah beat Michigan at Ann Arbor to start the season, finished by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and in between scored 40 or more points six times (30 or more ten times), and held four opponents to 10 points or less. But most of all, Utah won all of their games.


Should someone else be national champion? When there’s a playoff, we can have that discussion. For now, the NCAA has denied that obvious solution for more than a century, so no matter who gets the trophy from the con men from the NCAA, your national champion is Utah.

How’s that feel, Sooners? How’s that taste, Gators? You like that, Longhorns? It’s not a championship if you didn’t earn it. Listen to your fans and wake up your AD and scream for them to set up a playoff. It’s half past overdue.

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