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Front Page » December 29, 2005 » Sports » Sports View
Published 3,229 days ago

Sports View


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate general manager

It's that time again.

Time to argue over who the real national football champion is. This year, unless they loose against Texas in the Rose Bowl, Southern California seems to be the clear winner.

It's the spots in the rankings below that that get murky.

Now I could go on talking about the power of this team in their conference, verses the power of another team in their conference and come up with my own top 10, or how I think it should look after Jan. 4.

But I am not going to do that. I am not even going to mention a team in this rant.

Almost everyone, except the people who run bowls, want to see a real playoff system initiated. They all want a real champion; one that actually has to play the game to win the prize.

Some say that is done now, because of the way the teams are ranked by so many statistics power levels, records and expert opinions.

And don't forget the computer ranking infrastructure, certainly nothing could be more correct than a computer.

Now the system has actually kind of moved toward a playoff system since they went to the spread out bowl games with the biggest bowls being the ones that rotated the number one ranked team from year to year.

But new bowls continue to pop up all the time, many of which I can't even name. Actually, the Emerald Bowl where the Utes will play tonight is a completely new one to me. I'd never heard of it before they got the bid to play there.

I don't care that all these people want to play in the post season; it's great for the sport and for the athletes.

I remember when you could count the number of bowl games on two hands, and maybe even that. The big ones were the Cotton Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. Along side them were things like the Peach Bowl, Tangerine Bowl and Liberty Bowl.

The first interest I had in any of this was in 1964 when the Utes played West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. I was 11 years old and it was exciting to see them win the game in a live broadcast on a black and white television.

Now everyone watches about twenty bowl games on big screen televisions and at most of the time the stadiums are filled with fans as well.

But are all these bowl games good for the sport? In recent years the Holiday Bowl and Fiesta Bowl have come into their own ( I remember when they started up with WAC teams being their mainstay). Good bowls and the Utes victory in the Fiesta Bowl last year was a fine win.

I have complained in this column before about there being too many all state players in Utah because they have all state teams in every one of the five divisions. They should have one all state team picked from all the divisions in every sport instead of naming dozens and dozens of athletes spread over the state as all state. I think the term has lost some of its meaning and charisma.

The same is true of the bowl games. To many bowls, for to many mediocre teams. Sure it's good for the fans to watch a couple of 6-4 teams duke it out on a field far from their home campus, but who else really cares?

Personally, I think if they are not going to come up with a legitimate playoff system like the NCAA has for basketball, then let's just go back to the old days, where New Years Day was filled with all the games that really meant anything, and the only football we needed to worry about after that was the Super Bowl.

I hate to be a cynic, but let's face it. The whole thing isn't about sport or fans or fun.

It's only about money.


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