Does The M-West And 2008 Utah Have A Beef?
Utah WR Freddie Brown
Utah WR Freddie Brown
Posted May 18, 2009

Does 2008 Utah still have a beef when it comes to the national title debate? Should the Mountain West get an automatic invite to the BCS? In our new feature, the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion, we discuss the debate that's being talked about in Washington.

CFN Daily Roundtables

May 19

Does 2008 Utah have a beef? Should the Mountain West be in the BCS?

- May 18 No BCS, No Weis?

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Pete Fiutak, CFN     

Q: Does 2008 Utah have a beef? How about the Mountain West and its complaint that it belongs in the BCS?

A: Utah no, and the Mountain West, no ... with an explanation.

Hindsight is 20/20, but lost in the months since the end of the season was how dominant Oklahoma was after the Texas loss, and also lost, at least a little bit, is just how good the 2008 Florida team was. I don't want to rehash the Ole Miss-really-was-good debate when it comes to the Gators, and I don't want to get into just how much they deserved to be playing for the national title, but considering they were fully focused after the Tim Tebow speechy thing, I'd take them over Utah by double digits. Easily. Oklahoma wasn't flaky like the teams that lost to West Virginia in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl and to Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, and with that machine of an offense, it would've beaten Utah. I'd have taken USC, Texas, and Penn State, too, but that's my opinion.

The Ute performance against a bad New Mexico team and the problems getting by TCU, the team that got blown out by the Sooners, are still fresh, and yes, Utah, Alabama wasn't the same team it was before the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship game. Yes, losing Andre Smith really was that big a deal, and that was a Tide team that had little interest in playing against the pumped up Utes. However, that's not the point. My opinions aside, Utah can still be ticked off that it didn't at least get a shot for the title. We can all believe that the Utes would've been blown away by the biggest of the big boys, but no one picked them to beat Alabama, either. All teams want is a chance to compete, and Utah didn't get that.

The point is that there (duh) needs to be a playoff. There should've been an eight team format with the six BCS champions (Virginia Tech, Penn State, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, USC and Florida), the top champion from a non-BCS league (Utah), and a catch-all wild-card (Texas). Of course, Boise State would've had a huge complaint, but to come up with a reasonable playoff format, there will be someone upset. Just like there is now.

Someone had to be left out of the mix. Florida? The team that won the nation's best conference, beat the No. 1 team in the nation (Alabama) and was dominant on both sides of the ball all season long outside of a bad late stretch against Ole Miss? Go back and look at what the Gators did, and it really was a no-brainer. Oklahoma? The team that was hanging 60 points per game with regularity? USC? The team with one of the most dominant defenses in college football history? Texas? The team that lost on a last-second play to Texas Tech? Boise State? The team that was 12-0, like Utah? Utah had a right to be mad, but only two teams get in under the current system. There's no need to make a federal case about it.

As far as the Mountain West and its complaint that it should get an automatic bid into the BCS, I vote no only because, without a playoff system, there shouldn't be any automatic bids going to conference winners. It's ridiculously unfair that Cincinnati, who was ranked 12th in the final BCS rankings, and Virginia Tech, who was ranked 19th, got the big money spotlight while Texas Tech and Boise State didn't. If you're going to have a BCS system to determine who the best teams are (as flawed as this might be) then go by the rankings and just take the top ten teams and ditch the automatic invites just because of conference ties.

If you make the top ten in the final BCS rankings, you should be in. That's it. The BCS bowls should've looked like this ...
- BCS Championship - No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Florida
- Sugar Bowl - No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 9 Boise State
- Rose Bowl - No. 5 USC vs. No. 8 Penn State
- Fiesta Bowl - No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Utah
- Orange Bowl - No. 7 Texas Tech vs. No. 10 Ohio State

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: Does 2008 Utah have a beef? How about the Mountain West and its complaint that it belongs in the BCS?

A: If this refers to last year’s No. 6 ranking heading into the postseason, no way. Yeah, the Utes were memorable in their Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, and deserved a No. 2 ranking in the final human polls, but who were they going to displace in the national title game? A 12-1 Oklahoma team that was rewriting the NCAA record books for offensive output? Or the 12-1 Florida team that would go on to win the championship? I love the Utah story, but you’ve got to wonder if it would have had the depth and talent to remain unbeaten as a member of the Big 12 or SEC. It wouldn’t have, which is the final word in this discussion.

Now, if you’re talking about the Mountain West gaining automatic entry into the five BCS bowl games, you and Craig Thompson might have a legitimate gripe. We’ve reached a point where the conference has caught up to the bottom end of the Big 6, specifically the Big East. The Big East has held up well since Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College departed, but where exactly are the power programs, especially since West Virginia is about to drift back a bit in a post-Pat White world? Although both leagues have their bottom-dwellers, you can certainly argue that the Mountain West is stronger up top with Utah, BYU, and TCU. Plus, the league is going to attract even better talent if that automatic bid ever does become a selling point for the nine coaches. As it stands right now, the league has as much right to one of those bids as the Big East, but if I’m Thompson, I’m putting the full-court press on Boise State and ending the debate.   

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: Does 2008 Utah have a beef? How about the Mountain West and its complaint that it belongs in the BCS?

A: Sure they do.
Why? Simple: 1984.
BYU, playing a schedule far easier than what the rival Utes had to endure in 2008, was crowned national champion. The Cougars were able to play--and beat--an okay Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl and avoid playing Washington, Oklahoma, or another similarly credentialed superpower in a bowl game. If Utah couldn't receive at least a split national title (with Florida) from voters and systems in light of its body of work, it's clear and--from a historical perspective--plainly undeniable that the Utes got the shaft last year.

Jon Miller, Publisher,

Q: Does 2008 Utah have a beef? How about the Mountain West and its complaint that it belongs in the BCS?

A: No.  Oh, you want to know why?  They don't play a week in week out schedule of opponents that are of the caliber that exists in the Pac 10, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, SEC or Big East.  Wait a second, at least the first five.  If I were a MWC fan in 2008, I could say that our league was just as good as the Big East in several years of the BCS, and I think you could hold your own in that argument.  But 'that's their one' as the kids like to say.  Call it a perfect storm, flash in the pan, or whatever cliché you wish.  Once they get a decade's worth of tradition with three or four teams knocking off the big boys more often than not, plus they need to be consistently dominant in their own conference, then let's revisit this discussion.  PS:  I am aware of their success against Pac 10 teams in last year's regular season, and I remember BYU's 59-0 beat down against UCLA.  Northern Iowa held their own better against the Cougars than the Bruins did.  But let's do it a few more times before we get senators to take their eye off the recession and grandstand for votes with BCS posturing, mkay?  Utah, I know you have won two BCS bowl games, but there is a huge letdown factor when teams find out you are their draw.  That might sound like an excuse, but I believe it.  Not to mention one of your BCS wins came against the worst ever BCS team, which was 8-3 Pitt of the Big East in 2005.  TCU?  Let's keep it going...give yourselves a reason to argue over the long haul.