The Chronicle’s View: Get Born

When the first set of BCS standings were released yesterday announcing Utah’s football team in the seventh spot, nobody had any reason to be surprised. It took a little convincing at first, but after last year’s blowout victory against Southern Miss at the Liberty Bowl, Rice-Eccles Stadium has seen record numbers in attendance. Coach Urban Meyer has attained deity-status to the Ute faithful, and the fan section (respectively known as The Muss) is in full effect every time. That was just the beginning of this season.

Since August, Meyer and Co. have had U Students, as well as Salt Lake City, painting the town in red and white with every victory secured. This weekend’s bashing of an ACC conference team (North Carolina, by 30) is just another chapter in what followers have known all along: we can compete with “the best out there.”

Unfortunately, some people seem to think otherwise-that it’s nearly impossible for a non-BCS regular (a team from the six major conferences…if that’s what’s “regular”) to be deserving of a spot at a BCS bowl game. Go figure.

If, in fact, Utah did get its spot (which would more than likely be in Tempe, Ariz., at the Fiesta Bowl), they would be the first team ever from a non-major conference to earn a one-way ticket to one of the four BCS games.

Granted, it’s not the standard in college football, but to use our team’s irregular success as reason to dispute the Utes’ validity as a solid team is just the type of fundamentalist rhetoric holding all sports back from progressing into the future. Athletic ability, like the world, is changing. The sports these athletes play need to adapt to players’ changes in order to justify their legitimacy.

Claims that the Utes’ BCS standing isn’t deserved, especially coming from people like ESPN College Gameday’s Trev Alberts (whose alma mater is the 4-2 Big 12 team Nebraska that has yet to break into the Top 25 this season…after losing to last year’s Liberty Bowl victims, Southern Miss) fits the paradigm for giving teams like Utah static from the “good ole’ boys.”

Which, if you’re in favor of major-conference teams, certainly makes sense. Last year’s Liberty Bowl earned the Mountain West Conference around a cool $1 million. Making it into a BCS bowl gives the MWC approximately $15 million, which, in addition to making last year’s payout look like breadcrumbs, provides an incredible opportunity to take a crack at those “good ole’ boys” in years to come.

Bringing a school to the national sports stage also helps attract new students, sports recruits, as well as financial support from alumni, to Salt Lake City, to increased solidarity within the U community. Needless to say, there are benefits abound to be had from the Utes’ success.

Nobody should be counting this golden egg before it hatches, though. The entire U football staff and players can attest to that too. Meyer’s one-game-at-a-time strategy is more than just coaching advice: it’s life advice.

By living one game at a time, the U can all find themselves at the “big game” before they have the time to count their victories. More than that, the U can change the regional-specific definition of “the best out there.”

“Out there,” as in, anywhere in America where people are willing to overcome the status quo, giving the entire game, on or off the field, a change for the better.