Tis The Season for Giving, How About a Y Loss?

Perhaps I should drag myself to Smith’s, shell out $30 bucks and purchase a Christmas tree, because I have an early holiday gift wish.

My holiday hopes spawn from an announcement made by BYU athletic director Val Hale December 4. With the backing of Mountain West Conference university presidents, Hale said BYU might file an antitrust lawsuit against the Bowl Championship Series for the snubbing into a big-money bowl game. A threatened lawsuit is ridiculous. It has just reached the point of absurdity.

All I ask is that BYU lose this Saturday in Hawaii to end the barrage of whining. If the Y beats the 8-3 Rainbows, the BCS bad-mouthing will carry on over the summer and into next season.

Now, I am not an avid BYU fan, but I can feel for the U’s neighboring rival. I feel for the players. What more can coach Gary Crowton tell his players to do than win all their games? Especially with the manner they’ve been winning them, with fourth quarter nail-biters like the wins against Wyoming, Utah and Mississippi State.

The BCS formula is not perfect. A computer shouldn’t be the determining factor in who plays for the national championship. A computer cannot factor in the intangibles?like the fact the Y was unscathed under a first year coach.

Yet, the judging criteria of the BCS has not changed from the time BYU was 0-0. From the first game, the BCS judged on margin of victory, strength of schedule and poll ranking as well as the win-loss record.

Why do the Cougars need the extra assurance of a BCS bowl berth? They went undefeated, won six road games (seven if they beat Hawaii), more than any other Top-12 BCS team, and averaged 46.9 points a game.

Why should they care? Because it’s all about the money. A BCS-sponsored bowl rakes in $13 million, compared to the $1.25 million pay-off in the Liberty Bowl.

It would add ample funding for the Utah program, as a team’s post=season winnings is split equally between conference teams after bowl game expenses are covered.

Six of the eight BCS games are guaranteed to the top finishers in the six major conferences (the MWC is not one of them), with two at-large bids. In the current formula, the rich get richer and the less-prominent conferences get poorer. Life just isn’t fair.

But let’s face it, the solution is simple. There were obvious ways to avoid such an obstacle. How about scheduling Nebraska, Tennessee, Oregon, Auburn or Virginia Tech?

Sure, this year BYU was stiffed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Had the Cougars played and beat then No. 16 Mississippi State, it might had translated into a better BCS ranking. Instead, BYU edged a 3-8 football team. The Cougars have strengthened their program for future years. In 2003, the Y has games against USC, Notre Dame, Stanford and Georgia Tech.

But the Cougars’ problem isn’t just in their scheduling. It is in the performance of the rest of the MWC. All conference compadres need to hit the grass with nationally recognized programs. The pseudo-major conference had a chance for national respect this year, but came up short each time.

Utah lost to Oregon 24-10. Air Force was slaughtered 45-3 by defending-champion Oklahoma in Colorado Springs. Colorado State dropped close games with Liberty Bowl-bound Louisville and Fresno State, and lost to BCS-bound Colorado by 27. UNLV was tripped up by Arkansas, Northwestern and Arizona by an average of 10 points a game. San Diego State was on the losing end of games against Arkansas, Northwestern and Arizona.

The MWC wants respect, but will continue to get snubbed unless it can dominate?or at least split even?with the big dogs.

A snubbing such as this shouldn’t create a ruckus, however unfair. The BCS criteria were laid out long before the season began. They will not change at the end of the season, and a lawsuit in hopes of higher money isn’t in the holiday spirit.

My hope for a BYU loss may be an unattainable holiday wish, but it would make the holidays much more pleasant.

Rory welcomes feedback at: [email protected].