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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Obama is right: America needs a college football playoff system

By Bryan Chouinard

At halftime of the Monday Night Football matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins, ESPN’s Chris Berman got the chance to ask each presidential nominee, “If you could change one thing in sports as president, what would it be?”

While I was sure each would say something along the lines of “We need to clean up performance-enhancers in American sports,” (which John McCain did say) Barack Obama stressed the need for a playoff in college football.

My mind was made up then and there.

If you got a chance to listen to Obama’s response, he was speaking directly to Ute fans. He was talking to the Utahs and Boise States of the college football world because, thanks to the BCS, there is a ceiling on our potential as a football program and we have just about reached it.

Theoretically, if all goes well tomorrow against TCU, Utah should make an impressive jump in the polls. After all, Utah is undefeated, and according to the BCS, the Utes are No. 8 in the country. So after beating TCU, which is ranked No. 12, Utah should shoot past one-loss teams such as USC and Oklahoma.

But the fact of the matter is, the BCS just doesn’t value conferences such as the Mountain West or Western Athletic enough to give Utah a legitimate shot.

Instead, conferences like the Pac-10 and ACC get automatic bids to BCS bowl games. Historically these conferences have been home to powerhouses, but the MWC will get snubbed again this year even with three of its teams ranked in the Top 25.

Even if the Utes do manage to leapfrog the likes of Oklahoma, teams that play in conferences such as the Big 12 get chance after chance to redeem themselves, considering every Big 12 game in the past two weeks seems to have had national championship implications on the line.

This is both a blessing and a curse to such teams.

If a team like the University of Texas loses to a team like Texas Tech, it merely drops two spots, while if a non-BCS school loses to anybody, no matter how good or bad, it will be lucky to stay on the country’s radar.

Say the Utes do jump a team like Oklahoma, which has one loss. The Sooners still have a chance to be the outright champions of the Big 12.

These BCS conferences have championship games at the end of their seasons, right before bowl season, and these championship games act as final auditions for the BCS.

If at the end of the regular season, a team like Oklahoma runs away with the Big 12 championship right before bowl selection, who will leave the more lasting impression: the Utes, who will have beaten a solid TCU defense and a BYU team that has faded during the last half of the season8212;or the winners of the Big 12, possibly the deepest conference in the country?

I’m not saying Utah is a big fish in a small pond, because it’s not. There has been a lot of talk all season about how good the Mountain West is this year8212;including the beat-down the conference gave the Pac-108212;but when it comes down to it, the BCS is, well, the BCS.

The BCS strips college football of everything we all love so much about college sports. If there was a BCS-like system rather than March Madness, would any of us know who Stephen Curry is, or schools like Davidson? Of course not.

I’m not saying the Utes can’t shock the college football world8212;they did it in 2004 and it’s possible they will do it again in 2008. I’m simply saying it would be a hell of a lot easier without the BCS.

So, all political affiliations aside, no matter who you voted for yesterday, Obama knows what he’s talking about when it comes to college football, so he’s got that going for him.

As a Ute fan, you’ve got to respect that.

[email protected]

Bryan Chouinard

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