I realize that Utah is the favorite of the BCS-bashers now (with SI’s Rick Reilly – who used to be really, really good at this – chiming in now that we should just crown their asses), but here’s my point, after looking at things a little more deeply:
Oklahoma has a much, much, stronger case to be the national champion than Utah does. And IF Florida beats Oklahoma tomorrow night, that, to me, is akin to knocking out the champ. That’s how you get the belt.
Consider this: Yes, Utah has beaten four teams that finished ranked in the AP Top 25*: Oregon State (#24), TCU (#11), BYU (#17) and Alabama (#4). Florida has only beaten two: Georgia (#16) and Alabama (#4). The Gators also lost to #20 Mississippi, by a point. IF Florida beats Oklahoma, they’ll have three victories over ranked teams, including the #2 team (the Sooners were #2 in AP, but #1 in the BCS), and will be basically a blocked extra point away from being 14-0 with a much, much better body of work than the Utes.
But Oklahoma has beaten five ranked teams and would make it a sixth by beating Florida. (The Sooners beat #12 Cincinnati, #11 TCU, #8 Texas Tech, #13 Oklahoma State and #25 Missouri, while losing to #3 Texas.) What’s more, they crushed almost everybody. OU rang up more points than any team in modern college football history. They’ve scored more than a point a minute for the last five games and in the game before that they scored 58.
Reilly’s just pandering and practicing columnism. He’s being contrary just to be contrary.
No, Rick, you can’t crown Utah’s ass already. They’re not who you think they are. A very good team, yes.
“Find me anybody else that went undefeated,” you say. I should surely hope they’d go undefeated with that schedule. Not all undefeated teams are created equally. Oklahoma is a far, far better candidate despite their 10-point loss (to Texas, which is also one of the darling “We Should Be There” teams people are latching onto) on the basis of their body of work, which is far more impressive than Utah’s, despite the Utes’ unblemished record. (Weber State? Seriously? And you beat New Mexico by three? Wow, I didn’t know Bud Wilkinson was coaching the Utes now.)
If Oklahoma beats Florida, they’ll have earned the title, no question. That would be one hellaciously impressive season. If Florida beats Oklahoma, what a run that is to end the season for the Gators.
Sorry, Rick. The national championship game is tomorrow night, even though it’s trendy to extoll the virtues of the Utes.
*Showing my age here: Remember when the rankings only went to 20? Seriously, who are we kidding here? Are 21-25 worth more now than 30 years ago?