Utah Victory Impacts Nation

Last Updated: January 3rd, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

Utah pulled of one of the biggest upsets so far in the college football season last night when the beat the no. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide 31-17. The Utes impressive victory came on the side of the ball that received the least attention this season by the way of the defense. The defense had an amazing 8 sacks and forced 3 turnovers in an unexpected dominating performance. Many may not understand the significance of this win, but it will affect the rest of college football around America. The Utes capped off the only undefeated season in the NCAA Division I this season with a perfect record of 13-0 and their huge win over Alabama will be felt for many months to come. The win for the Utes was the victory the small schools around the nation needed to change the way polls rank teams from here on out.

Utah comes from a non-BCS conference and received the invite to the Allstate Sugar Bowl by an at-large bid. The Utes were squared off with what was the best team in college football for much of the latter part of the season. Alabama closed out the second half of the regular season holding onto the #1 ranking. It wasn’t until the week after the regular season in the SEC Championship when the Crimson Tide received their first loss of the season against the Florida Gators. The loss in the SEC Championship game knocked the Crimson Tide out of their chance for a National Title and into the Sugar Bowl against Utah. Utah entered the game as a 10 point underdog with 89% of the nation picking Alabama to win. The Utes would pull of the impossible and dominate the team that went through the potent SEC undefeated this season. The win for Utah marks huge implications around college football for the “little-guys.”

Utah can now make the claim legitimately that they deserved to play for a National Championship. Utah only received the #9 ranking in the nation despite their undefeated record against a fairly weak schedule. However, now this will make voters think twice before keeping an undefeated team out of a National Championship game when both teams in the Title game have at least one loss. Utah has made a loud noise for the smaller schools around college football. The next time a Boise State, a BYU, or another less popular football team ends a season undefeated they will have a firm argument to play for a National Championship. After all, Boise State and Utah both have won the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in the last 3 years. Everyone remembers the statue of liberty handoff that led Boise State running back into the end zone in over time to give the Broncos the victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. The small schools are starting to make a name for themselves as consistent threats in the Bowl Games and it will not be long before voters start to acknowledge their late season success.

College Football enthusiasts and fans have longed desired for a playoff system in the NCAA. Many people believe that type of system would really benefit teams from the SEC and perhaps the Big 12 with their records in postseason play over the years. The SEC especially feels they would benefit the most from a playoff scenario considering every year that has at least two teams in BCS Bowl games. However, Utah exposed what we could call a myth of the SEC status amongst the College Football totem poll. A playoff system might benefit the smaller conferences and non-BCS schools as much as it would the national powerhouses across the land. Utah’s win opens the eyes for many people in college football especially in the days leading to the National Championship game with Florida and Oklahoma. Florida has been perceived as the favorite to win and with Utah’s dominate performance over Alabama one must wonder if that will affect the way the betting public acts on the game. Alabama nearly beat Florida and the Gators reputation as the best in the nation may have diminished with the Utes victory last night.

Utah victory will perhaps have people thinking twice about the strength of schedule a team has during the regular season. Is it Utah’s fault or any other team for that matter that they have an undefeated season and the rest of the conference plays poorly that season? A team should be rewarded for an undefeated season, but nobody could have expected Utah to beat Alabama. This gives all the more reason to institute a playoff system considering the BCS has been exposes to yet another weakness. With the system we have today, there can actually be co-national champions for those that are not familiar with the college football postseason. In recent years, teams have won the national championship game while another team may end the year ranked #1 giving both teams a share of the National Title. While Utah will likely not jump all the way to #1 this season, the Texas Longhorns do have that chance. The Longhorns beat the Oklahoma Sooners this season in their lone loss. However, Oklahoma is in the National Title proving once again while the BCS System has failed miserably. If the Sooners beat Florida in the National Championship, Texas will have the possibility by voters to receive the # 1 ranking in the polls. While the scenario is unlikely to happen, another college football season will end without truly knowing who is the very best across the nation. Utah can definitely make their argument along with a cast of other one loss teams.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 @ 12:22 am (EST)
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