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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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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
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Utes should have had their chance at title

By Nick Pappas

I hunkered down on a wood bench at Gepetto’s Pizza on Thursday, devoured a plate of chicken parmesan and dunked an orange slice in my glass of Blue Moon. The live musician plucked the strings on his guitar and mumbled classic Beatles tunes.

In the background, a plasma screen TV was tuned to the National Championship game. A Florida fan informed me Tim Tebow flew down from the sky before the game, turned water into Gatorade and cured lepers with the touch of his throwing hand. I could care less. There were two wood pillars between me and the television, and I could barely see the sloppy, turnover plagued debacle.

As far as I was concerned, the national championship was won six days earlier, when Utah finished an undefeated season by rolling the Alabama Crimson Tide 31&-17 in the heart of SEC country.

After the Utes’ victory, The Associated Press writers from the finest newspapers climbed their way on Utah’s fast-moving bandwagon. John Feinstein of the Washington Post implored voters to “vote for Utah, because the Utes beat every team they were allowed to play and because everything about the BCS is rancid and corrupt.”

Rick Reilly wrote a front page article on ESPN, asking, “Florida? Oklahoma? Who cares? Utah is the national champion. The end. Roll credits.”

I appreciate the sentiments, I really do, but their words have the soft cottony feel of a three dollar bill. Their praise of Utah is no better than the scorn by the 48 members of the press who voted Florida No. 1 and highlights the biggest problem with the BCS system.

The only Utah game most of them watched was the Sugar Bowl.

Not one of them8212;either on our side or not8212;can claim first-hand knowledge of the Utes’ 13-0 swagger. Their opinions are based on hearsay, history and hunches. SEC homers fire the bullet that no one with common sense would place a bet on Utah versus Florida.

I would.

I’d put my meager life savings on it, because unlike any of them, I have witnessed every minute of this magical season. I have seen Brian Johnson and this blue-collar defense defy the odds every single game.

Utah doesn’t have the personnel Florida does. Utah doesn’t have the history or the clout.

There’s one more thing Utah doesn’t have8212;a loss.

Tebow added sparkle to his résumé, giving a heartfelt speech after failing against Ole Miss. No player at Utah gave such a speech, because no Ute player ever had to apologize. Utah did not lose because, as far as I’m concerned, Utah cannot lose.

The Utes can take pride in finishing No. 2 in the final AP poll, but none of it matters anyway. The fate of these young, hungry athletes is decided by an uninformed media and play callers obligated to vote Gators.

Kyle Whittingham’s “1” next to Utah in the Coaches Poll is worth more to me than any “1” given out by a gang of cowards. It means more than a crystal trophy made by a bankrupt company. Whittingham, with one keystroke, told the world he doesn’t have to follow a pied piper playing the same boring note.

When the Florida-Oklahoma game came to a close, I swallowed my last swig of Blue Moon and savored the spice. It might not be the best beer in the world, but it’s my personal favorite, and that’s no different than the way the national champion is chosen today.

The musician finished his set with Lennon’s “Imagine” and sang a telling verse.

“No need for greed or hunger/a brotherhood of man.”

Imagine the day the NCAA comes to its senses and gets rid of the greedy BCS. Imagine a national champion decided on the field and not by the whims of a few. It will happen, and we’ll remember the 2008 Utes as one of the teams that started the revolution.

You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

[email protected]

Nick Pappas

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