I Voted for Utah


I wrestled with my AP ballot from the moment Utah drilled Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl on the night of Jan. 2 until the end of Florida’s 24-14 BCS title-game win over Oklahoma Thursday night.

What tipped me to Utah was when I entered Carver-Hawkeye Arena late Thursday afternoon, and a Per Mar security person said “Mike, you’ve got to vote for Utah.”

“OK, I will,” I said, and proceeded to watch bad basketball and then file a column on it. I had ample time to listen and then watch to the second half of the Gators-Sooners game.

It’s a good thing that Per Mar guy didn’t tell me to throw eggs on the court or drop a thousand thumbtacks on the steps leading to the arena floor, huh?

All right, before this goes any further – I made up my own mind. And I admit a Florida blowout of Oklahoma would have made it harder to hit the “send” button when I e-mailed my Utah-No. 1 pick to New York late Thursday night.

If Florida were to play Utah next week, would I bet on the Utes? No.

So what? I wouldn’t bet on Florida were it to play USC next week, but I ranked the Gators second and the Trojans third. We’re voting on a season of work, and I like what UF did slightly more than what USC accomplished.

Utah’s season was perfect. I don’t think you can do better than perfect, especially when the perfect run ended with an utterly fabulous performance against an Alabama team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation for five weeks.

Did the Utes play Florida’s schedule. They did not.

Did they get upset at home by anyone the way Florida fell to Ole Miss? They did not.

Would they be able find any SEC teams who would schedule home-and-away series with them? They would not.

The only reason Utah isn’t the national champion, as far as we’ll ever know from now until nothing remains in Salt Lake City but, uh, salt, is that it never got the chance to play for the title.

This isn’t a Mid-American Conference or Sun Belt Conference team that ran the table and finished with a win in a Motor City or GMAC Bowl, both of which are seeking government bailouts.

No, this is a team from the Mountain West Conference, which won six of eight games against the Pac-10 this season. It’s a legit league, one that deserves a place at the BCS trough. Not that the six greedy-pig BCS conferences will ever start sharing with others. 

By the way, Iowans, I had the Hawkeyes 16th. That may actually have sold them a little short. Had they won one more game, I think you could have made a loud argument to have them at 10th or 11th in the final rankings.

Ifs and buts. Like what if Utah had played Florida …

My top 25 ballot:

1.       Utah

2.       Florida

3.       USC

4.       Texas

5.       Oklahoma

6.       Alabama

7.       TCU

8.       Penn State

9.       Ohio State

10.   Boise State

11.   Oregon

12.   Mississippi

13.   Texas Tech

14.   Georgia

15.   Oklahoma State    

16.   Iowa

17.   Virginia Tech

18.   Cincinnati

19.   Oregon State

20.   Missouri

21.   Pittsburgh

22.   Northwestern

23.   California

24.   Michigan State

25.   Rice



6 responses to “I Voted for Utah

  1. YOU ROCK! Thank you for doing the right thing and voting the only undefeated team #1 in the country.

  2. At least most of the voters actually paid attention to the game and truly evaluated the body of work over a season. Utah deserves to be # 2. They earned that–they did not earn the top spot. When was the last time that two programs so closely tied by coaches was 1 and 2?

  3. Couldn’t agree with you more Mike. Coming from the Mtn. West originally I have long known about the quality football being played out there. It doesn’t hurt that they added TCU a couple of years ago either. The conference has gained a lot of momentum starting with Utah dismantling Pitt. in the BCS bowl leading to Urban Meyer’s promotion to Florida. Granted I’m from Wyoming and the Cowboys are the doormat of the Mtn. West at the moment, which hopefully Mizzou’s former offensive coordinator will begin to turnaround immediately, but I agree that the Mtn. West deserves a guarnteed BCS bowl and all the trimmings that come with it.

  4. Well–I agree with your Utah vote. Oregon should be Number 10 and Boise State should not be in the Top 10. I know–you will say, But Boise beat Oregon…So What?? Oregon had no quarterback in that game and Masoli came on mid season. Oregon would have KILLED Boise State at the end of the season. Polls are the problem here. I also think the Ohio State vote is suspect. Ohio State was unimpressive in its loss to Texas and its conference had ONE bowl win. But–they have 2 teams in the top 10?? Hmm.

  5. Mike, you’re probably right about Utah. 13-0 says a lot. But you seem to be putting the Utes in first after their dismanttling of Pitt, on the one hand, but saying that you voted FLA over USC even though you believe USC would beat them head-to-head on the other. A season of work? What about the Oregon Ducks coming back steadily through the season after losing their top three quarterbacks BEFORE the season, and then developing Masoli as a top-flight QB as the season progressed? (Bet you never heard of Masoli.) Hats off to the Utes for their season, but there are lots and lots of teams (including USC, of course) that would have stuffed FLA or OK on defense.

    I agree with all of the posts about getting rid of the BCS and not worrying about having one national championship, instead of half a dozen teams recognized as great.

  6. No vote for Vanderbilt, who plays in the SEC and beat Rice? Ouch….

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