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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Why can't Utah get any BCS love?

    USC, stop sleeping with ESPN's Mark May (and the pollsters)
    In 2004 an undefeated Utah got shut out of the National Championship game and went on to beat Pittsburgh in the Mountain West Conference's (MWC) first BCS bowl game. In the era before BCS, Utah may have shared the national championship by virtue of going undefeated. Instead, they got a $4.5 million pat on the back, and Urban Meyer ran to the swamps of Florida.

    This year, the Utes are in an even better position, yet still seem to be the poor kid looking in to the party through the window because the doors are all locked. The MWC has taken care of business this year, going 9-5 against BCS foes, with Utah going 2-0. It's also produced 3 high caliber teams (Utah, TCU, BYU) that may all end the season with 10 or more wins and ranked in the top 20 in the nation.

    Here's the stats of the MWC against BCS conferences this year:

    2008 MWC record vs. BCS = 9-5 (5-1home, 0-1neutral, 4-3away)
    MWC vs other conferences:
    MWC vs Pac10 = Wash, UCLA, Stan, Ariz, Ariz St, Cal, Ore St = 6-1
    MWC vs Big10 = Michigan, ND = 1-1
    MWC vs Big East = NONE
    MWC vs ACC = NONE
    MWC vs Big12 = CU, A&M, OU, ISU = 1-3
    MWC vs SEC = Tenn = 1-0

    The BCS computers have Utah ranked #4 with 0.8500 points, lagging only behind Texas Tech (0.9800), Alabama (0.9600), and Texas (0.9300). However, the human pollsters have Utah ranked 7th and 8th, behind Florida, Oklahoma, and USC.

    Yet all three of these teams have a loss, and USC's loss came to an Oregon State team that Utah beat the very next week. In a head to head matchup of results it seems clear that Utah should at least be ahead of USC. I mean, look above, the MWC went 6-1 against the Pac-10 this year, so not only did Utah do better against common opponents, but it navigated a stronger conference field than USC did.

    So, I posed this question to Stewart Mandel, with Sports Illustrated:

    Stewart, what, if anything, needs to happen for Utah to have a shot at the title game? If they go 12-0, they'll have ran the table in a conference that went 9-5 against BCS foes, and beaten the team (Ore. St.) that beat USC. The computers rank them #4 in the BCS standings now, but the pollsters hold them back. If OU beat Texas Tech, then loses in the Big 12 title game, and Alabama stumbles somewhere along the way, and Utah destroys BYU, can Utah get pollster love and make the top 2??

    I don't know if he'll answer my question, but this is my plea: Oregon State, please win out. Utah, kill my alma mater. Tech, lose to Oklahoma. Oklahoma, lose to Missouri. Alabama, just lose, please. Florida, stop sleeping with pollsters. USC, stop sleeping with ESPN's Mark May (and the pollsters).

    If these things happen, then maybe, just maybe, Utah can get a little love.


    Curtis Gibby said...

    Does Utah have to KILL our alma mater? Can't they just handily defeat BYU?

    Triet said...

    Well, I've thought about it a lot, and unfortunately, I think they've got to at least have BYU play hard for a half and then run away with it in the second half for a convincing victory.

    More likely, it will require Utah to KILL BYU because the know-it-all pundits that vote for this thing (who live on the east coast, and have never watched a Mountain West game this year) will need an eye-popping score that they see on the ESPN tagline at the bottom of their TV screens in order to bump Utah up high enough.