Friday, January 09, 2009

I Vote Utah

Frank Helps You Think It All Out casts one vote for Utah in the year’s final BlogPoll for CBS Sports.

To begin with, I understand all votes for Florida. I had Florida number one pre-season- and so it is painful to cast a vote that would undermine a small feat of prognostication. Trust me when I say this: I really, really like to be right. To give up that "right from the start"....

In the end, I kinda wondered just how bad was Utah’s slate of games. They did what people say a mid-major conference needs to do to be considered. They won at Michigan. They hosted Oregon State and beat them. The defeated BYU and TCU. They went to Air Force- a team that flirted with the Top 25- and won the game. And of course, they whipped Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

So that is four wins over Top 25 outfits, another win over an Air Force team that was around that level all season- and a trip to Michigan. That is better than a Big East slate- and no one would fuss at awarding a BCS Championship to Pittsburgh or Cincinnati had they run the table.

Plus, as any Tulane fan can relate from 1998: it is real hard to run the table. It isn't a question of getting the bounces- it is that you have to go and get the game even when all the bounces go against you anyway. Every team faces the game where someone gets hurt, two tipped balls of yours get intercepted rather than for incompletions, the referees miss the key call in a one score game. You gotta go and get it anyway, without fail, without exception.

Better BCS team schedules definitely have merit as a tie-breaker among undefeateds... notsomuch when one team has one or more losses than another. If Utah's schedule can pass a BCS League sniff test (i.e. at a minimum, this in conference plus out of conference slate is good as or better than some teams from the Big East)- and I think it does- well, they win.

I love the SEC as a League- and salute Florida's brillant season. But, that strong SEC sort of gives Utah’s Alabama win, a long way away from Utah, on Tulane’s home field even more heft. The SEC had their chance to kill the undefeated Utes- and the Crimson Tide was handled by multiple scores from the get go.

I vote Utah.

1Utah 7
2Florida 1
3Texas --
4Oklahoma --
5Southern Cal 1
6Alabama 4
7TCU 5
8Georgia 5
9Texas Tech 4
10Penn State 1
11Boise State 4
12Ohio State 2
13Oregon 1
14Mississippi 4
15Oklahoma State 4
16Virginia Tech 7
17Oregon State 2
18Cincinnati 3
19Missouri 1
20Georgia Tech 6
21Florida State 5
22Iowa 4
23Brigham Young 6
24Rice --
25Tulsa --

Dropped Out: Michigan State (#16), Northwestern (#21), Ball State (#22).

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