Utah's state legislature is calling for a playoff system to determine college football's national champion after an undefeated University of Utah was shut out of the national title game for the second time in four years.
With University of Utah football players on hand, the state
senate adopted a resolution Monday it wants sent to President
Barack Obama urging the NCAA to abandon the Bowl Championship
Series in favor of a playoff system.
Utah went 13-0 and was the only unbeaten team in the country,
but finished No. 2 behind Florida in The Associated Press Top 25.
In the final USA Today Coaches' poll, the Utes were fourth.
Under the BCS, champions from the six major conferences - the
ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC - are guaranteed a
spot in a BCS game. Notre Dame and schools from the other five
conferences can only earn a spot in a BCS game if they finish the
regular season rated high enough under a formula that relies on two
human polls and six computer rankings.
The Mountain West Conference, which also had TCU (No. 7) and BYU
(No. 25) in the poll, is pushing to get an automatic bid to the
BCS. The Associated Press asked the BCS to stop using its poll in
December 2004, after undefeated Auburn and Utah were left out of
the BCS title game.
Utah's lawmakers contend the BCS formula is flawed and gives
schools from the major conferences an unfair advantage that would
make it impossible for a school like BYU to win the national title,
as the Cougars did in 1984.
"You look at what happened this year, the University of Utah
did everything physically possible to win that championship," said
Senate Majority Whip Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City. "Unless they are
arbitrarily put in to that championship game, they will never have
However, despite calls from fans and President Obama himself, a
playoff is unlikely anytime soon. The BCS recently signed a
four-year, $125 million deal with ESPN to televise the BCS national
championship game, and the Orange, Fiesta and Sugar bowls, starting
January 2011 and running through the 2014 bowls.
The current deal with Fox runs out after next season. The Rose
Bowl has its own separate TV deal with ABC that runs through
"You know, when this comes down to it, it's all about money.
The fact is the BCS alliance controls large dollars, and to not be
able to be in that group is not right," Jenkins said. "There's
time to hold a playoff. You just got to do it."
Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner and BCS coordinator John
Swofford has said the majority of university presidents and
athletic directors oppose an expansive NFL-style playoff for major
college football and that the BCS is in compliance with federal
Utah politicians are undeterred, though. Attorney General Mark
Shurtleff is investigating whether the BCS is violating federal
antitrust laws and Gov. Jon Huntsman has suggested having Florida
and Utah play an extra game at a neutral site, which is highly
Shurtleff and other leaders have taken some flak for using state
resources on college football, but they say it's worth it.
"When you talk about the millions of dollars that potentially
come to our universities through these programs, I hardly think
it's frivolous," said Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack,
The Utah House is expected to approve Senate Joint Resolution 11
later this week.