Why are the Utes America’s team?

Amid an unprecedented explosion of publicity on the U football team, ESPN has recently taken to calling the Utes “America’s team.” The Utes are on the brink of breaking down the walls of the once impenetrable Bowl Championship Series, and with an undefeated record, the moniker seems deserving.

After some consideration, I started to wonder exactly what it is that makes the Utes America’s team. Is it the undefeated record? Lots of teams this year are still undefeated, so that can’t be the reason. Is it the flashy red uniforms? Oklahoma and USC both have flashy red uniforms, so that probably isn’t the reason either. It had to be something deeper, something that emulates how we, as Americans, view ourselves.

The explosive offense has to have something to do with the title. Americans love to score and with the No. 2-ranked scoring offense in the nation, the Utes have done plenty of scoring.

It is often said that defense wins championships, but offense is what people love to see. Who would you rather watch, the Baltimore Ravens or the Indianapolis Colts? Who wants to see third-and-long over and over when you could be witnessing a slew of touchdowns? The whole reason basketball is a popular sport in America is that every team could easily score more than 100 points every time they play.

Like the old Nike commercials said, “chicks love the long ball,” and nowhere is that reflected better than in the Utes high-tech passing offense directed by Heisman hopeful Alex Smith.

Smith is another reason the Utes can be called America’s team. Not only are we amazed that he came to the U with half of his college credits completed, but he graduated after only two years with a GPA well above 3.9. How many of you have or had a 3.9 in college?

Smith’s coach is a factor too. Urban Meyer embodies the American spirit. He believes in hard work and preparation, and he is currently the hottest coaching commodity in the country. America was founded on the principles of hard work and preparation, so that one is obvious, but everybody loves a young up-and-coming coach sticking it to the granddaddies that have been around forever.

These are all pretty good reasons the Utes are being called America’s team, but the best reason is that the Utes are the ultimate underdog. The U is in a conference that gets no respect, and more importantly, no funding from the BCS every year. Sure, the MWC is given a little bit of money from the BCS each year as a charity (I think they write it off on their taxes), but it’s nothing compared to the millions every BCS school gets yearly.

The Utes are on the verge of breaking into a club that, by design, intends to keep others out. I can just imagine the scene when the BCS was created-a bunch of rich guys sitting around, drinking and laughing about how it will be next to impossible for a non-BCS team to get into their bowls.

They don’t want the U to get in, but they had to make a provision that a non-BCS school would be accepted if they could finish in the top six of their own crazy ranking system. I’m sure they thought it would never happen, but it’s going to, and Americans love it.

The Utes are America’s team because they are doing the impossible. We were once a nation of underdogs fighting the indomitable British empire, but we won our freedom despite having the odds stacked against us. Now the Utes are doing the same thing.

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