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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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Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Undefeated team has proven itself worthy

By Nick Pappas

I’ve spent hours looking at stats and figures. I’ve written endless numbers on a piece of scratch paper and rubbed my eraser as bald as Jim Boylen. I’ve gone out of my way to prove the Utes could hold their own in the national championship game against powerhouse teams from powerhouse conferences such as Oklahoma, Alabama or Florida.

The process was exasperating. I wrung sweat out of a towel, took a deep breath and realized something that immediately put me at complete ease.

None of it matters.

The numbers don’t matter. Utah’s ability to compete doesn’t matter. Utah’s No. 18 defense getting smoked like a fat cigar by Oklahoma’s No. 3 offense doesn’t matter. Brian Johnson slowly digging a hole to crawl into as he faces Florida’s drooling No. 7 defense doesn’t matter.

All that matters is this8212;Utah is undefeated. Unlike any of the Bowl Championship Series teams, except Alabama, the Utes have answered the call every week. Call it heart, mojo, dumb luck or pure genius. Whatever you call it, the right half of their record is a big fat zero. For this reason alone, they should be given a shot to play with the big boys.

All zeroes are not equal in value, however. Just being undefeated doesn’t mean you should play for all the marbles.

Boise State’s and Ball State’s zeroes came against one Top 25 team between them8212;Oregon. Utah played three. In comparative strength of schedule, Utah is No 56. Boise State and Ball State are No. 76 and No. 116, respectively. There are only 120 teams in the FBS. Alta High School could have played Ball State’s schedule and won a few games.

Utah went against elite teams and won. Now, critics will say the Utes played in the Mountain West, a conference that is a mere pebble compared to the boulders of the Big 12 and SEC.

Consider that Alabama, No. 1 in the polls and also undefeated, has played a less difficult schedule overall. Its strength of schedule is ranked No. 79 in the nation. USC, sitting above Utah with one loss, is No. 54.

If predictions hold true and Alabama loses to Florida, the national championship game will feature two teams that each have one loss8212;a travesty. It will also be full of controversy, as any number of one-loss teams in the Top 10 can claim some right to the game.

Although Utah might not be the best team of the bunch, it has more of a claim than any of the other teams simply because it has found a way to win every week under constant scrutiny. Only one other BCS-bound team can make that claim, for now.

A playoff would be best, but that has been the best solution since the day the BCS began. The men with the golden boots continue to step on the little guys. As long as the BCS exists, mid-majors will have to settle with being wiped on the curb.

Utah deserves better. The Utes are undefeated, and that is all that matters. Sometimes the most complicated questions have the easiest answers.

[email protected]

Nick Pappas

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