Even from the inside, Utah coach Urban Meyer doesn't care much for the current structure of the Bowl Championship Series.

"It's a flawed system," said Meyer. "I think at some point in the near, near future, there's going to be a lot of changes to it."

Though it's a near certainty the Utes (11-0) will become the first outsider to bust the financially lucrative BCS when invitations are extended on Sunday (3 p.m., KTVX, Ch. 4), Meyer isn't satisfied with the system.

It's just not right, he noted, that two of the more impressive teams this year — Texas and Louisville — will most likely not be deemed worthy of BCS inclusion.

"It's a mess," Meyer said.

The BCS, which was established in 1998 to pit top teams in top bowl games, is facing plenty of controversy. Six of the eight spots are automatically awarded to champions in the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 10 and Southeast conferences. The other two berths are awarded on an at-large basis.

The latter is how the Utes will qualify — an amendment to the BCS allows a team from a conference like the Mountain West to earn a berth only if it can finish sixth of higher in the standings, a formula involving votes in both major polls as well as selected computer rankings.

Utah, thus, has reduced the at-large pool to one. As one of just five undefeated teams in the nation, the Utes, it could be argued, deserve to be included. The same, however, is not easily said of the Big East. The defections of Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech have left the league severely weakened. So much so, that Pittsburgh (7-3) is expected to earn the league's BCS berth. The Panthers, who could end up facing Utah in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, were unranked a week ago.

"To say the Big East is better than the Mountain West, I don't know if anybody would agree with that," Meyer said. "To think they have an automatic bid and the Mountain West doesn't . . . It's a flawed system."

MEYER MOVEMENT: Meyer declined to comment on recent speculation that in addition to openings at Florida and Washington, he is also considered a leading candidate for the head coaching job at Illinois. A rumor that Tyrone Willingham may leave Notre Dame for Washington is also making the rounds. The Irish, supposedly, would then seek Meyer's services.

"No. I have no real comment," Meyer said of all the talk. "All I keep saying is I plan on being the coach here at Utah."

Last week, athletic director Chris Hill confirmed that preliminary discussions with Meyer, designed to keep him with the Utes, have already taken place.

BACK TO WORK: Idle since breaking for Thanksgiving last week, the Utes are scheduled to practice Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Besides keeping the team sharp, the workouts are also used to develop youth in the program — a component Meyer said the program has lacked since making a coaching change two years ago.

E-mail: dirk@desnews.com