U want a big-time party (and instead may get a

Anticlimax: n.-Something trivial or commonplace that concludes a series of significant events.

Amid the tremendous uproar of the Utes’ unprecedented rise to the coveted status of BCS bowl eligibility, Ute fans, myself included, forgot to consider exactly what we were being invited to.

There was a time when we had visions of a big-time matchup against mighty Oklahoma, we even saw roses when Cal was losing to Oregon, and we thought we’d get Texas as a worst-case scenario.

Basically, we figured we were going to an epic party in a mansion that we’d remember forever. Now, it looks like were being invited to a sober square dance in the basement of a Baptist church with really fancy invitations.

As of this weekend, every expert prediction I’ve read puts Utah in the Fiesta Bowl against Pitt. The Panthers are 7-3 this season with losses to 5-6 Nebraska, second-year Division I UConn, and 6-5 Syracuse. They also needed overtime to beat Division I-AA Furman at home. Not exactly the top- quality opponent the Utes have been craving to legitimize their season.

The bowl we would be going to if the BCS didn’t exist, the Liberty, would likely pit us against a 9-1, No. 7 Louisville team, whose only blemish was a 41-38 loss to No. 9 Miami. The high-flying Cardinals have been one of the nation’s best offenses all year, and a game against the Utes would likely feature plenty of big plays, and plenty of points. Now that sounds like a party.

College football is a business, however, so there are obvious financial considerations. The only reason why we would even consider passing up the Liberty Bowl is because the party favors for the Fiesta Bowl aren’t exactly chips and salsa. In fact, they are between $11 and $14 million. The Liberty Bowl gives participant’s conferences a mere $1.35 million at the door, chump change compared to the Fiesta.

The game will be a lot less exciting, but the school and the conference will be richer because of it. Fans, the consumers of college football, however, will be victimized, and treated to an anticlimactic end to the most exciting season in at least a decade.

A fitting end would be a game in which the Utes could prove themselves against a top-five opponent from a major conference. This would make Trev Alberts look bad, and would make the Utes look great.

Instead, we’re going to be lumped into the same category as the 1984 BYU squad: the unproven undefeated.

The obvious flaw that this travesty is exposing in the BCS system is the automatic bids it gives to the six major conferences. That’s the only reason Pitt could be invited to the Fiesta Bowl, because the Big East Conference has a contractual agreement with the BCS that gives its champion an automatic bid to one of the big bowls.

The Big East is looking more and more like a mid-major and less like a major conference every year. This year, Miami and Virginia Tech, the two best football schools in the Big East, jumped ship. Next year, Boston College is gone. The only football power the Big East is adding to replace the three it lost is none other than Louisville, a full year too late.

The Big East will still get an automatic bid to the BCS, however, meaning teams like Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers and UConn will have the opportunity to play on New Year’s Day even if they are as dismal as they were this year.

Sounds like the Big East will be serving up anticlimax for years to come.

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MWC Individual HonorsOffensive Player of the YearAlex Smith, Jr., QB, UtahCo-Defensive Players of the YearKirk Morrison, Sr., LB, San Diego StateMorgan Scalley, Sr., DB, UtahFreshman of the YearAustin Collie, WR, BYUCoach of the YearUrban Meyer

Utes on the All-Mountain West ConferenceFirst TeamQB Alex Smith Sr.WR Steve Savoy So.OL Chris Kemoeatu Sr.DL Steve Fifita Jr.DL Sione Pouha Sr.DB Morgan Scalley Sr.