Thanks to Utes, 2009 is Off to a Great Start

A day that had a rather severe start for yours truly is having a wonderful finish.

You get up at 3 a.m. (Iowa time) to get to the Tampa airport for the first of three flights that get you back to Cedar Rapids, two of them on American Eagle planes that would make sardines claustrophobic.

That was after eight days on the road, and eight nights of not getting one decent night of sleep. Maybe that came from staying in a hotel that was too close to an airport. Or too close to a freeway. Or too close to a Waffle House.

But the first blast of Midwest winter air felt great as I stepped outside The Eastern Iowa Airport. Tomorrow, it will probably feel like winter. Which is less than great.

So I got home, settled in, turned on the tail end of the Cotton Bowl, and fell asleep. I completely missed the Liberty Bowl, which was intentional. I slowly came to with the Sugar Bowl on in the background. I’d see Utah was ahead, and assume I was dreaming. Especially when it was 21-0.

Then I woke up, and naturally Alabama clawed back to 21-17. Yecch.

But the Utes got even tougher, and held on to vanquish the Crimson Tide.

I love this for two reasons. One, Alabama Coach Nick Saban is a joyless mercenary. Every game his teams lose is good for sports and the planet.

Two, I had Utah No. 5 in my latest AP Top 25 ballot. No one in the AP panel had the Utes any higher. I had them above USC and Penn State, and caught grief from fans of both because of it

But look at me (and Utah) now, my babies! That’s a Top Three team at the worst, the end. At 13-0 with wins over bowl-winners Oregon State and TCU, and now this disposal of the vaunted Crimson Tide in New Orleans, which is in SEC country.

Utah took its BCS bowl invitation and rubbed the power conferences’ faces in it. Just like Boise State did two years ago.

I’m under no obligation to put the winner of the Florida-Oklahoma BCS title game No. 1 on the final AP ballot next Thursday night. I probably will, anyhow, unless it’s a lousy game.

But let’s see what Texas does against Ohio State first. I may vote Texas No. 1. Or USC. Or, dare I say it, Utah.

Utah 31, Alabama 17. Such dire predictions for 2009 have been issued in many circles, but the year is fabulous so far.

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9 responses to “Thanks to Utes, 2009 is Off to a Great Start

  1. You were right about the Utes and I will stand in the corner now, facing the wall. However, if you are truly prescient, you will call the next coach of the Browns.

  2. Why aren’t they #1? They played a marginal schedule but beat UM in Ann Arbor, no one knew they were that bad then and it was a great win.

    They also beat BYU, someone else who was ranked and ‘Bama to finish a perfect season.

    No matter what happens, if you run the table and win your bowl game like that you have a seat at the “#1″ table.

    Man up and vote for Utah. Too bad our regular season wouldn’t have been a bit better so we could have played someone like that and gotten a real test in a bowl game. USC didn’t deserve to play in a 1/1 game.

  3. I’m just jealous that you got to stay next to a Waffle House – thats good eatin!

  4. Do the right thing. Nothing would send a shot across the bow of the BCS faster or more bluntly than a split title involving Utah. 13-0, including 4-0 versus ranked opponents, is a championship year.

  5. Wait, what, EP? The win was against Michigan was good one just because Michigan hadn’t proven that they were terrible yet? What kind of messed up logic is that? Michigan was an awful team; barely beating them is not a point in Utah’s favor regardless of what the media’s impression of Michigan was at the time. BYU was overrated for most of this year as well. Sure they were ranked at one point, but who cares about that if they aren’t going to finish the year ranked?

    Anyway, that’s not to say that the Utes don’t have a decent case for the #1 ranking. An undefeated season with wins over Oregon State, TCU, and now Alabama is a pretty solid resume. I’d probably give the edge to the winner of the NCG, but Utah is more than worthy of a top 3 finish.

  6. You really should rank Utah #1. They didn’t lose (obviously), and have a lot of quality wins. And they completely dominated the Tide in SEC country with speed and execution.

  7. St. Pete Greyhound Association

    It’s the Hlog’s world, the rest of us are just living in it. The sooner y’all realize that, the better off you’ll be.

    Utah’s win brough me great joy as well (not to mention $200)

  8. can you do me a favor and give my alma mater, Vanderbilt, a vote?!?!

  9. Let’s see … 7-6 Vanderbilt in my Top 25 ballot? … Might look suspicious unless I were, shall we say, properly motivated.

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