Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Vote for Utah (Seriously.) II

Last month, I begged the voters of the Harris and USA Today polls to vote Utah into the National Championship game. That would’ve been a big blow to the BCS and a beacon of hope to the college football masses who pine for a playoff. My pleas were ignored as Utah received a grand total of one first-place vote (I do take full credit for that one vote, however). Clearly, the voters of those respective polls are not anti-establishment. Utah will not win the BCS Championship and we will not see a deathblow to the BCS system—at least not from the polls that participate in the BCS. There is another poll—totally unaffiliated with the BCS—that can still inflict a massive wound to the BCS’s legacy. Like Leonidas’s spear hurling towards Xerxes in 300, the AP Poll could be the killshot for the BCS. A split-national championship is exactly what the BCS was created to avoid. The BCS is reeling with opponents popping up each year including the President of the United States. A PR disaster like a mid-major earning a split of the championship would be devastating for the current system. Leonidas, of course, missed his target but the wheels had been put into motion for a glorious albeit bloody victory. Similarly, the wheels are already in motion for the inevitable dismantling of the BCS. The only question is: how long is it going to take? The AP voters could do us a favor and speed up the process by connecting on its killshot by voting Utah the 2009 AP National Champion.

In my previous post, I laid out a number of rationalizations for including Utah in the BCS Championship game. The current system is set up to reward records first and resume second. No matter how good a team is playing at the end of the season, two losses means you’re out with the exception of last year’s LSU team. Utah was the only undefeated team in the regular season. It beat three ranked teams including Oregon St., BYU, and TCU. However unlikely, nobody could say with certainty that Utah was not the best team in college football. I understand the resistance to voting for Utah. It comes from a non-BCS conference. It didn’t have to face the grueling week-to-week schedule of the SEC or Big XII. I get it. I don’t actually believe Utah is one of the two best teams in the country. I do, however, believe that the BCS is an insult to college football fans and voters should use their power to enact positive change in a reasonable way.

Despite the myriad of acceptable reasons to vote Utah into the National Championship game, the USA Today and Harris voters were not compelled to vote for Utah. Fortunately, there are even more reasons for the AP Poll to do so this time around and do so honorably. Most “experts” (including myself if I can be called that) felt that Alabama was going to pummel Utah. Utah’s two-touchdown beatdown should change everything. In my best Dennis Green voice, “They aren’t who we thought they were.” Florida earned a trip to the National Championship by beating Alabama. That victory convinced everyone that Florida was one of the two best teams in the country. Why shouldn’t Utah’s victory over Alabama do the same?

After capping off an undefeated season by beating the team that held the #1 ranking for the last five weeks of the regular season, Utah has credibility. The system didn’t give Utah a chance to win the National Championship. Utah could be the best team in the country and nobody would know it. Florida or Oklahoma is going to get its trophy regardless. A vote for Utah would not deny anyone anything. It would reward a team for being the only undefeated team in the country while simultaneously striking a blow to the BCS. Take a stand. Vote for Utah (Seriously).

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