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Sep 7th 2009

#20 Brigham Young Beats #3 Ranked Oklahoma

Both teams were missing star players. BYU’s star running back, Harvey Unga, did not play at all because of a hamstring injury. OU’s Sam Bradford did not play in the second half due to a shoulder injury.

To me, the real story of this game was BYU’s defense stopping OU a half-dozen times from inside the 10 yard line, after officials gave the Sooners another set of four downs by calling a bogus pass interference penalty.

It was a great game. I haven’t had this much fun watching Oklahoma play since about January 1, 2007.

Now, where does this win rank in BYU history? It is debatable. I’d place it in the Top three of all time. Because of the hot BCS debate, a sore left open last year with Utah’s win in the Sugar Bowl and all the Congressional stuff that had the BCS guys reeling, I think this win should be given more weight.

By BYU defeating Oklahoma, the No. 3 ranked team fresh off a national championship appearance, it sent a statement to the BCS and solidified the MWC argument that college football is all messed up.

If you saw Navy almost beat Ohio State and Northern Iowa almost take out a ranked Iowa State team, you understand what I’m saying.

BYU’s win gave the non-BCS schools one more stone to throw. It also lifted the MWC to a difference status than every other non-BCS school begging to get in. If this league can register more wins over BCS schools, like Utah at Oregon and TCU at Clemson and Virginia, the MWC will continue a path to show how pitiful it is that the Big East has an automatic bid. [Source: Deseret News’ BYU Cougars Blog]

Or the PAC-10, for all its losses to the MWC in the last few years. The Big 10 and Big 12 have had their share of embarrassing losses and near misses, too. Of course, even the SEC’s Alabama lost to the MWC’s Utah in the BCS Sugar Bowl last year.

Is it time for President Obama to follow through on his campaign promise to fix the BCS?

UPDATE:

Former BYU offensive lineman Trevor Matich, who was on the Cougars’ 1984 national championship team and is now a college football analyst for ESPN, told the Deseret News Sunday, “Some will say that Oklahoma lost their star quarterback and tight end, but BYU lost their star running back and defensive signal caller. They will say that Oklahoma had two turnovers, but BYU had four. They will say that Oklahoma had 12 penalties, but BYU had 10. It was an ugly brawl. Those clean-cut, married, returned missionaries from Provo slugged it out man to man with the Oklahoma Sooners, and beat them.”

from Jeff Call, BYU Football: Back in national spotlight after win, Deseret News, September 6, 2009.

Brigham Young would win the Big Ten. So would Boise State. And maybe Utah. And if college football’s power brokers needed a reminder about how myopic and unfair the current system is — from the polls to the entire BCS process — the opening weekend provided it.

With wins by BYU over No. 3 Oklahoma and Boise State over No. 16 Oregon to start the season, BYU (Mountain West), Boise State (WAC) and Utah (Mountain West) are now 5-1 against nonconference top 25 teams since 2006, and the one loss was by Boise State to TCU (Mountain West) in a bowl game last season. Throw TCU in this group, and that’s a powerful top four from conferences without BCS guarantees.

That’s 5-1 with two wins over Oregon, two over Oklahoma and one over Alabama. Yes, the Sooners went down Saturday without Sam Bradford, but only because the BYU defense knocked him out of the game with a clean second-quarter hit. You crunch the Heisman Trophy winner, you reap the benefits, no excuses necessary.

In that same period of time, the Big Ten is 6-19 against nonconference top 25 teams. Think the bottom of the Big Ten is unfairly dragging that record down? OK.

Since 2006, BYU, Boise State and Utah’s winning percentage against nonconference top 25 teams: .833 (5-1).

Since 2006, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan’s winning percentage against nonconference top 25 teams: .364 (4-7).

If you have any reason to believe the Big Ten winner will be better than the WAC or Mountain West winner this season, you’re lying to yourself.

Would Utah and Boise State string together unbeaten seasons, like both have recently, while playing in the Big Ten? Probably not. But add BYU, Boise State, Utah and TCU to the Big Ten, and Ohio State wouldn’t have gone 29-3 in conference play over the past four years either.

Because of games Sunday and today, the AP poll won’t be released until Tuesday, but when it is, No. 20 BYU will be no lower than third on my ballot and No. 14 Boise State no lower than seventh. I’m doubting the coaches poll, actually part of the BCS, will match that voting pattern. Based on the first week of play, while ignoring expectations, reputations and conference affiliations, the Cougars and Broncos deserve that, at the very least. From there, it gets more difficult.

As the season progresses, even as they win, the bodies of work for BYU and Boise State will become less impressive as other teams play tougher conference schedules, though BYU does have games remaining against three currently ranked teams — No. 18 Florida State, No. 17 TCU and No. 19 Utah. That’s a tougher schedule than anyone in the Big Ten faces. Still, by the end of the season, you’d have a reasonable debate that undefeated BYU and Boise State teams would not deserve BCS championship slots ahead of one-loss teams from the Big 12, SEC or Pac-10.

But if wins like those this weekend aren’t going to give undefeated non-BCS teams shots at the title game, they’ll never get a chance in this system. And if BYU and Boise State would win the Big Ten, they’d win the Big East and ACC, too.

The ACC was 4-6 on the opening weekend, with the wins coming against three FCS (formerly I-AA) schools and one from the Sun Belt.

The Big Ten was 10-1, but just 6-1 against non-FCS schools. Four of those wins came against the MAC, and the two that didn’t were in overtime (Minnesota over Syracuse) and by four points [Ohio State over Navy].

The Mountain West and WAC? They had some big wins. As we should know by know, they weren’t flukes.

Doug Lesmerises, Non-BCS teams make a compelling case for inclusion, Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 06, 2009.

Finally, in moving BYU to #5 in its week 2 CFB rankings, the WSJ notes:

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to rationalize why the ACC is a Bowl Championship Series conference and the Mountain West is not. The ACC’s bowl record the past three years is 10-16, the Mountain West’s 10-4. The ACC is 2-9 all-time in BCS bowls, the Mountain West 2-0.

from Darren Everson, A Thin Line Between Wins and Losses, The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2009.

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