ed. - bumped from the fanposts. i'm not entirely in agreement with pete on this one (were i an ap voter i would man up and vote utah #1, both because i think they deserve to call themselves the best after finishing the season unscathed AND because if we really want any change in the bcs there needs to be some split championship flavored reminders that the #1 vs #2 match isn't always going to produce a true mnc), but he makes some good points that are worth reading.
Alright, so coming into the Sugar Bowl, we had a lot of very classy, respectful, and intelligent Utah fans floating around RBR. I think they contributed a lot to the dialog and I have nothing but respect for their team and fanbase. That said, the "Utah for National Champs" rhetoric has strained reality to its breaking point.
Yes, Utah has a good football team. They went undefeated. They beat a former #1 in their bowl game. All of these things are true, but they are far from the whole story. The crowing, kvetching, and email campaigns make a good story, but they're just getting old. I mean, c'mon. You don't pick the BCS title game after the bowls, so a teams performance in a bowl game is totally irrelevant. They could have beaten Alabama by 100 points and you still couldn't convince me that they deserved to be in the title game.
Still, I can't begruge the Utes their celebrations. They had a great season. Great season or not, though, this post at Block U is more than a hair delusional. The first three paragraphs start off on the reasonable side, sticking mainly to objective fact, but then we get to this:
Call these Utes the 21st Century Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes. Two programs that leaped from obscurity to football dominance in a pretty short time. They rolled through the latter part of the 20th Century, unconventional in their success and disproving every myth along the way. That is exactly what Utah is doing right now. Southern Speed might have conquered pre-game discussion, but it was Utah's speedy defense and offense that was on full display during the game. They confused the Tide, flying around the field surprisingly easily and in the end, Alabama had no answer. All the hype leading up to the Sugar Bowl fizzled and it was Utah that left everyone wondering exactly what they had been missing this entire season.
Come again? "Football dominance?" Did I miss something? Yes, the 2004 and 2008 seasons were excellent ones, but "football dominance"? Really? I don't call 7-5 (2005), 8-5 (2006), or 9-4 (2007) "football dominance" in the MWC. Hell, it's not even dominance in SEC. You're talking about two excellent seasons book-ending three years of decent play in a mediocre conference.
Then there's the game analysis. It's pretty solid, if you limit your watching to the first 10 minutes and ignore the loss of two All-American offensive linemen. What you really saw in the Sugar Bowl was a great team that came out fired-up and ready against a team that just came out.
Many have written that the personnel and motivational issues don't diminish the Utes' victory or accomplishment. This is a nice sentiment, but it just can't be true. You're basically arguing that the logo on the helmet is what determines the quality of the team. We know that's not true. If Utah was as dominating a team as some of their fans are now claiming, the Sugar Bowl would've ended in a blowout. As it stands, the Utes dominated the first quarter, slipped into back-and-forth ball, and were outscored in the last three quarters. This is not what "had no answer" looks like.
That's not a demand for an asterisk or explanatory note in the record books. It's not asking for a do-over. It's not an excuse. At the end of the day, though, you can't use a team's regular-season success to catapult yourself to the top of the heap when the team you beat was a shell of their former selves.
You simply cannot learn as much from watching a team play Sugar Bowl Mode Alabama as you could from watching conference teams against them in the regular season. I'm sorry about that, I really am. I wish that our team had come ready to play, had wanted to have been there, and was at full strength. I don't know that the final outcome would have been any different, as it is obvious that Utah is a good football team, but you can't argue that it wouldn't have been more difficult.
I want to get behind Utah, I really do. I think most (all?) of the fans around these parts have been gracious and hospitable, but the rhetoric coming out of Utah is getting a little out of control.
What they were missing was the birth of a football power and Friday night
Folks, it takes more than three good seasons in 10 years to make a "football power."