All Hail the Utes
When the curtain comes down on the 2008 season, only a single team will remain undefeated – Utah. And that Utah team just dismantled Alabama for the Tide’s second consecutive loss, an Alabama team that was ranked number 1 for much of the season.
Utah outgained Alabama 349 yards to 208 on route to a 31-17 victory that – to use the old cliché – didn’t even look that close. Utah players were in ‘Bama’s backfield all night, and the Tide looked slow compared to the Utes.
This was against an Alabama scoring defense ranked 6th nationally surrendering only 13 points per game, even after the 31-20 loss to Florida. In that effort Alabama gave up a similar 358 yards to the Gators, but gained 323 and led for most of the game. Utah’s performance against Alabama was far more impressive than Florida’s, and Alabama never led the Utes.
Utah can add the win over Alabama to their regular season win over Oregon State – the same Oregon State that beat USC. And while their Mountain West schedule was not the nation’s toughest it wasn’t the worst either, and Utah ranks 33rd nationally in strength of schedule per the NCAA, 9 spots tougher than Southern Cal’s rank at 42.
In other words how can thoughtful people consider USC the “best” team when Utah ran the table and beat the team that beat USC, with a tougher schedule than USC?
Likewise my own Gators find themselves in the “national championship” game largely on the strength of their win over Alabama. Utah looked markedly more impressive against that same Alabama team than the Gators did.
I'll be looking forward to the logic stretching that goes on to convince us that Utah doesn't deserve top accolades. The "system" must be protected, no matter how obviously flawed it has become.
The powers that be have an interest in protecting next Thursday’s game as the “national title game”, but I don’t. Barring something amazing in the Florida – Oklahoma contest, my final BlogPoll vote for number one will be Utah.
Update: Coach of the Year my arse.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
All Hail the Utes