The Utes are the 2008 Football Champs.

January 7, 2009 | 38 comments

I’m a Cougar. I will always be a Cougar. I loathe the Utes. I will always loathe the Utes. The number of college football teams in preference to which I would want to crown the Utes as national champion can be counted on the fingers of one amputated hand.

The Utes are the 2008 Football Champs.

The Mountain West was the toughest its ever been this year. The Utes won it convincingly. The Utes won their out of conference games convincingly. The Utes beat Alabama convincingly. They lost to no one. They are the champs.

I will now go outside and kick a homeless person. Life stinks.

Comment warning.


38 Responses to The Utes are the 2008 Football Champs.

  1. kevinf on January 7, 2009 at 2:44 pm


    I actually like the U, but in the grand scheme of things, how can you not hate all those BCS conference teams with their arrogant “We just pretend Utah and Boise State don’t exist so our rankings work out”?

    I love it that Utah Attorney General Shurtleff is looking into an anti-trust lawsuit against the BCS. And perhaps the shoe would have been on the other foot if BYU hadn’t dropped a game, and had the chance to play Utah as two undefeated teams, which looked likely back in early October.

    If you kick a homeless person, tell them “This is from the BCS”. You’ll feel better.

  2. JamesM on January 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Come come now…a rising tide lifts all boats. Besides, we wouldn’t want people to think Cougars as a bunch of petty losers. Congratulations, Utah!

  3. Adam Greenwood on January 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I’m acknowledging that the Utes are the Champs in a year where a lot of people, including the powers that be, are saying they aren’t. That’s all the non-petty loserdom you can and should expect.

  4. CS Eric on January 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    When I was attending the law school at BYU, every year we held an “Ugly T-Shirt” contest. Every year, I wore a Ute t-shirt. I was seriously disappointed that I never won–I never even came close.

    Still even with that history, as much as it pains me to admit that the University of Utah is even the best Division I team in the state of Utah, let alone the best in the country, you can’t argue with 13-0. The Utes put a smackdown on Alabama like Florida only hoped to do in their dreams. And after losing to Texas by 10, Oklahoma doesn’t deserve to be playing for the BCS title.

    I like the way Rick Reilly put it: Florida or Oklahoma may be the BCS champs, but Utah are the National Champs.

  5. Marc on January 7, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Err… I don’t disagree that the Utes have a solid claim to the National Championship (in fact, if I had a vote, they’d get mine), but your characterization of their victories this season is off. They did NOT win convincingly against Oregon State. In fact, I’d say it was about as non-convincingly as you could win again. They also did not beat TCO “convincingly”… while not as tight as the OSU game, the Utes still won by the skin of their teeth and have TCU’s field goal kicker to thank.

  6. bbell on January 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I think the Utes have a solid claim to a National Title. The BCS is terrible. Virginia Tech Vs Cincy? Pleaaeeaase!! I propose a top 12 playoff

  7. Dead Seriously on January 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Link to the Rick Reilly article:

    Very persuasive.

  8. Wm Morris on January 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Another great article on the Utes (and how messed up the BCS is) — this one by John Feinstein at the Washington Post.

  9. Clean Cut on January 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Great post! The end.

  10. TMD on January 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    join a real conference, then we’ll talk.

    [Ed. - Yes, its regrettable that Utah turned down all the off-season invitations to join "real conferences"]

  11. Rusty on January 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Poacher. We’ve been talking about this at Kulturblog for the past four days. But yes, you are right. And pay no mind to Kaimi’s weak arguments.

  12. Struwelpeter on January 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm


    Just think what good missionary work the Utes are doing for your church. They won with an apostle’s initials on their helmets. They won with RMs (I found it interesting to hear post-game cries of the unfair returned missionary advantage from Alabama media). They finished the real quest for perfection without making a stack of T-shirts obsolete. They likely disappointed a bunch of bigoted deep south evangelical football fans who were among those who killed the Romney presidency.

    Last Friday was just a beautiful, beautiful day.

  13. Wm Morris on January 7, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    So the Big East and the ACC are real conferences?

    Also: I’m sure Utah, BYU, TCU and Boise State would all be up for playing home and home series with Big 12, Big 10 and SEC teams. And yet…

    Of course, I’m a Cal/Pac 10 fan so I may be overreacting to how thoroughly the MWC beat up on the Pac 10 this year.

  14. bbell on January 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I am pretty sure that BYU, TCU and Utah would do very well against the Big Ten. BCS has got to go. Its a scam set up by the participating conferences to guarantee funds for themselves

  15. queuno on January 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    As an native of Big Ten country and living now in Texas, all I have to say to BYU football fans is, “oooh, how nice, wook at dat nice widdle football team you hab there…” (in my best baby talk).

    (And yes, I am a BYU grad.)

    [Ed. - Nope.]

    BYU football will never be more than an afterthought until Bronco stops giving fireside addresses and starts working on defensive gameplans…

    BYU may have been the (old) face of the WAC, but Utah is the face and image of the MWC. Utah has surpassed BYU, probably now and forever…

  16. L-d Sus on January 7, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    @ CS Eric, #4

    Contrary to the Utah game, Bama was not missing an All-American when they were beaten by Florida -who was missing an All-American. If I can still add, that is a net difference of two All-Americans. Considering these changes in personal, plus all the other intangibles, it is difficult to say that Utah is better than Florida based on their match-ups against Bama. Unfortunately, the BCS won’t allow a more definitive system for deciding which team is best.

    The BCS is a terrible money-dirty machine, even if this year it is working in my team’s favor.

    Oh yeah, Go Gators.

  17. Christopher on January 7, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I’m with Marc (#5). In addition to the OSU and TCU games, the Utes were lucky to beat a rather pathetic Michigan team, struggled against Air Force, and almost lost to New Mexico. New Mexico!

    All that said, they are undefeated and played extremely well the last three games–against SDSU, BYU, and Alabama. There is certainly a case to be made for the Utes to be crowned national champs. But I’m not convinced they could beat Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, or USC.

  18. danithew on January 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    I’m disappointed the semiautomatic post comments are closed. That was some fun stuff to read.

  19. Adam Greenwood on January 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Of course they *could* beat them.

  20. kik on January 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    that’s all part of the game. How well you can overcome missing players, bad calls and other eventualities.

    There are reasons and there are results.

  21. rbc on January 7, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    re: 13, everyone beat up on the PAC 10 this year. The PAC 10 is USC and some other mediocre/okay programs, kind of like the MWC and Utah. Don’t forget the drubbing the Cal Bears received from Maryland. Judging by Cal, the ACC is a real conference.

  22. Christopher on January 7, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks for reminding me why I generally don’t bother reading anything you write, Adam. Because you’re a proctologist.

  23. Hunter on January 8, 2009 at 3:52 am

    Re: 10, “Join a real conference and then we’ll talk.”

    Right, in addition to having to turn away all those invitations to join a BCS conference, Utah, BYU, Boise State and the like have the added problem of having to turn away offers to play BCS teams during the regular season. All those offers to come join the ranks . . .


    I hate the BCS not because it muddles the “who’s number 1″ waters, but because it entrenches the big, tradition-rich schools further. It’s a system built upon the principle of preventing the up-and-coming teams from getting the money and exposure to develop into one of big, tradition-rich schools. Yeah, I said it. Deal widdit.

  24. Aaron on January 8, 2009 at 9:24 am

    As my U of U wife would say: Nanny nanny.

  25. Scott on January 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Kudos to the Ute football team, but Utah’s defeat of #4 Alabama was the Utes first win over a Top Ten school ever. The previous highest ranked team they beat was the win over 11th ranked UCLA in 2007. By contrast, Florida has defeated many Top Ten teams in their football history. This season alone, Florida has defeated three Top Ten teams (ranked when they played), and if they defeat Oklahoma, that will bring the total to four, versus one for Utah. Florida had earned their way to the championship game. So has Oklahoma. The Sooners easily defeated TCU 35-10 this season, and did not need a last second field goal as the Utes did.

    It takes time to earn football respect, and Utah is certainly getting there. They have not been shut out of the system, as BYU was in 1996. The BCS is improving. Utah’s best two teams have played and won two BCS games. If they have another season like this one, I would not be surprised to see the Utes playing in the BCS Championship game.

    Don’t change the BCS, just keep tweaking it. In a play-off system, all the teams return home as losers except one. In the BCS/bowl system, half of all the teams return home as winners.

  26. Nate W. on January 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    n a play-off system, all the teams return home as losers except one. In the BCS/bowl system, half of all the teams return home as winners.

    Umm… isn’t only having one winner the point of a national championship?

  27. Adam Greenwood on January 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Better yet, schedule every bowl game against a non-existent opponent. *Every* team returns home a winner by forfeit!

  28. Left Field on January 8, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    #24: But what the heck should past performance have to do with anything? Isn’t this the championship for the *2008* season?

    Did we say to the 1969 Mets:
    “Sure you went 100-62 this year, posted the best record in the league, swept the Braves in the ALCS, and beat the Orioles (109 wins, 53 losses) in five games, but you have an all-time record of 394-737, and have never finished above tenth place (except for the two seasons you finished ninth). Sorry, no championship for you. We vote the Yankees (80 wins, 81 losses) champions this year. They’ve defeated many upper-division teams in their history. Come back after you’ve finished in the upper division for 2 or 3 decades, and then maybe we’ll consider letting you compete for the championship.”

  29. Ray on January 9, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Oklahoma stunk up the joint tonight. 54 points per game? Lousy defenses.

    Should have been Florida v. Utah.

  30. manaen on January 9, 2009 at 2:50 am

    post-game cries of the unfair returned missionary advantage from Alabama media
    This touches on something that’s puzzled me for decades: if RM’s are such a huge advantage to a team, why don’t you recruit them for your program?
    How can they be an *unfair* advantage if you can recruit them also? Cal had 5 LDS players on their team when they beat BYU in a recent Las Vegas bowl, including their Center and their QB. Todd Santos at SDSU, Darrell Bevell at Wisconsin, and Nate Longshore at Cal are examples of star LDS QB’s who excelled at gentile institutions so why not bring some into your program?
    Conversly, explain USC’s and other schools’ prennial success without this purported advantage that they don’t campaign to acquire.

  31. Alison Moore Smith on January 9, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I am a true, blue, lifelong Cougar fan. I got a degree there, my husband got three, my sister got two, my brother got one, my mother got one, and my dad taught there for almost 40 years. (He got his BS at the U, but did repent about three years ago when he was awarded the annual BYU honorary alumni award.)

    Still, we cheered long and loud for the U. We were thrilled that they won and that was pretty much what I heard from all the other BYU alumni I talked to. (Anecdotal, I know.)

    I love the rivalry, it’s great fun. But although I’ve cheered for Utah in pretty much every game they’ve played when it didn’t effect BYU’s standing, but I hear almost nothing positive from U fans. I’m sure there are lots of exceptions, but they don’t seem very vocal. There have been an awful lot of congratulatory letters to the editor from BYU fans lately. I don’t recall the same response when BYU won the national championship…or any other time, either.

    queno, as much as I love BYU football, I’d rather have some decent men who serve others, who go on missions, who follow the honor code than those who win every game. If that is the tradeoff, as you suggest, I’ll take what Bronco brought back.

  32. Daytona Beachboy on January 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    As a Native Utahn and a USC Trojan alumnus, I feel doubly wronged. Congrats on a great and memorable season Utes. Now I’ve got to spend the rest of the winter listening to these myopic SEC fans here in Florida. Uuccckkkk!

  33. Agellius on January 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Sorry, I’m a little late on this. Anyway:

    USC’s schedule:

    Ohio State
    Oregon State
    Arizona State
    Washington State
    Notre Dame

    Utah’s schedule:

    Utah State
    Air Force
    Weber State
    Oregon State
    Colorado State
    New Mexico
    San Diego State

    It’s . . . just . . . not the same. I know some of the Pac-10 schools stunk this year. But SDSU was 2-10, New Mexico 4-8, Utah State 3-9. Utah’s schedule was against teams who were weak even against other weak teams.

    I realize this doesn’t prove that Utah could not have beaten any of the teams that were ranked above them at the end of the regular season. But by the same token it’s got to be understandable why they were not ranked in the top two — which would have given them a shot at the championship — despite being undefeated.

    Would they have remained undefeated after playing USC’s schedule, or Florida’s, or Texas’s? I’m going to stick my neck out and say there’s a pretty good chance they might have ended up a 1-loss team as did USC, Texas, Alabama and Penn State, all of whom were deprived of the opportunity to play in the championship game.

    A playoff? Sure, who can argue that that would be the best way to pick the champion. I’m just saying that under our present system, not putting Utah in the top two was totally understandable, and they’re not the only ones who may have deserved it, yet still missed out on the chance to be no. 1. Their undefeated record, in and of itself, does not dispose of the matter.

  34. Adam Greenwood on January 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Circular reasoning, Agellius. A lot of the schools on USC’s schedule had weak records too. But, you say, at least they had weak records against good teams. How do we know it was against good teams? Why, because they played BCS schools.


  35. Agellius on January 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I confess it was circular. I was just hoping their superiority would be taken for granted. : )

  36. Adam Greenwood on January 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    When people tell me my reasoning is circular, I point out that therefore my conclusions are true by definition.

  37. Agellius on January 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Granting that flaw in my reasoning, I think my point still stands: That the undefeated record on its own doesn’t dispose of the issue. The only way it would, is if you assume that Utah’s schedule *is* every bit as tough as Florida’s, Oklahoma’s, etc., which I consider doubtful at least. It can’t help being a matter of opinion, though, since there are so few common opponents to look at when comparing teams from different conferences.

    That being said, I was very surprised and impressed by Utah against Alabama. I won’t say that they *shouldn’t* be national champs, just that it’s no more clear that they should be, than that USC or Florida should, IMHO.

  38. Ray on January 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    #36 – and that last paragraph is exactly why anything but a playoff is stupid.


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