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Another BCS mess

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, left, holds the trophy with QB Brian Johnson after the Utes won the 2009 Sugar Bowl in January.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, left, holds the trophy with QB Brian Johnson after the Utes won the 2009 Sugar Bowl in January.
Deseret News archives

If the writers and broadcasters who select the Associated Press college football champion had any sort of mischievous or defiant streak in them, they would get together and decide that the winner of this year's Fiesta Bowl is the national champion.

That's the Fiesta Bowl, as in the TCU-Boise State "outsider bowl" — otherwise known as the here's-your-token-bit-of-meaningless-recognition-so-quit-griping bowl. This year, the Bowl Championship Series could say it chose two schools from non-BCS conferences to play in its exclusive system. But by pitting them against each other, the BCS has effectively let them into the clubhouse through a back door and made sure they won't be seen with the other guests.

What a joke. Last time Boise State was let in the BCS, it defeated a highly ranked Oklahoma team in one of the most memorable finishes of all time. Last year, the University of Utah trounced Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. That was the second time Utah had won a BCS bowl game. TCU finished this season ranked third in the nation. Clearly, the BCS didn't want to take the chance of suffering another loss that would humiliate its computer-driven championship system. Instead, it set up a "title game" between Texas and Alabama. Texas did not beat a single team this season that was ranked 20th or higher.

That is what happens when games are decided by something other than games.

Last year, the Utes could console themselves with the thought that newly elected President Barack Obama had voiced his support for a true football playoff system. Obama has done little about the situation since then, but that's understandable. College football may be big money, and it may mean a lot to students and fans nationwide, but it is just a game, and the president has many other truly important things to worry about.

But there are other reasons to hope that change may be afoot. A new political action committee called Playoff PAC has started in Washington. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is still studying whether to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS, and the Senate recently held hearings on the matter.

But bureaucratic channels are tedious. The AP voters could cut through all that with one simple vote. It wouldn't be absurd at all. As long as voters and computers hold more power than true competition, who is to say the winner of the Fiesta Bowl, which will emerge undefeated, isn't as much a champion as either Texas or Alabama?

Plenty of people, perhaps. But as long as it's all decided by words, one person's opinion ought to be as good as another's.