Comments about ‘Mike Sorensen: Despite disappointing year, Utes aren't that far from contending’

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Published: Sunday, Dec. 1 2013 6:40 p.m. MST

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Lincoln Park, IL


It's common knowledge that to win a national championship, you have to be ranked #1 in the final polls.

BYU was ranked #1 in both polls for almost a month prior to the bowls, so BYU's bowl game was in fact the national championship game.

Nebraska and Washington both tried to work the established precedent by beating a lower-ranked team in another bowl and hoping that the voters would overlook the fact that the #1-ranked team was still undefeated.

All five major national selecting organizations still selected BYU as the 1984 National Champions.

Like it or not, the 1984 Holiday Bowl was the National Championship game.

Draper, UT

MidPac, you miss the point as have virtually every other Coug fans. Conservation Bias, the tendency to see only your point of view, is something we are all guilty of, but cmon man!

Auburn won the NC when Cam Newton was there with a 14-0 record, but the following year they went 8-5 and nearly lost to Utah State. Not too shabby, but barely good enough for 4th in the SEC East.

You judge a team by past reputation, not their results that year. You ignore the results of those "big name" teams this year. I don't. You see what you want to see. Texas got blasted by Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, and BYU this year. They have yet to play Baylor and skated by much of a Big 12 that every pundit in the land acknowledges is weaker than most years. Those other teams are simply not as dominant THIS YEAR as you think their "big name" reputation suggests. The combined record of the teams you listed is 32-15.

BTW, you were 1-3 in those games...did you know?

Salt Lake City, UT

jpjazz predicted that the Utes would dominate the in state recruiting wars -- and then seemingly talked himself out of it. How can Utah compete in in-state recruiting?

BYU has a national brand, but their recruiting rankings have actually dropped since going independent. Utah competes here by putting kids into the NFL. BYU will talk about Ziggy Ansah, but recruits are smart and know that he wasn't recruited. Ziggy's success is natural talent. Keep in mind that a recruit in high school today grew up watching Utah win 9 of the last 12 rivalry games. Kids go with a winner.

USU is going to take away Utah recruits? I'm not following you on that. If a kid is told he is good enough to play against PAC12 talent, why would he instead choose to play in Cheyenne and Fort Collins in winter?

Recruiting against the PAC12 schools will always be tough. Here again Utah competes by putting kids into the NFL but also... play time. Kids want to play. Sit on the bench at UCLA or most likely start at Utah, be seen by scouts, and get a shot at the next level?


Tators "I'm glad Utah beat Colorado to keep from finishing in the very bottom of the conference basement."

Colorado is not the basement of the conference. They beat Cal 41-24.

Just thought you should know what you don't know.

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT


Utah has not played the most difficult schedule for 2013 because SOS is evaluated after games have been played. Utah played Colorado and the SOS in conference fell behind a few teams with that addition. I looked at several sites for the SOS metric and none of them has Utah at the top of the nation for difficulty. Congrove has the Utes fourth behind Stanford, Oklahoma and Cal. Arizona State should leapfrog the Utes this week since they play Stanford and are in fifth. BYU played the 22nd most difficult schedule. While you mock MTS, they ranked around thirty places higher than the Utes in the mid-fifties, and will once again be bowling. I admit I was disappointed that MTS wasn't able to muster nine or ten wins like they typically do. Even in a DOWN year they still got to 8 and went bowling.

Another site had Utah falling from 2nd to 17th with the game against Colorado. The Utes end of year strength will get passed up by a few teams that are bowling, but they should still be able to boast the went 5-7 against a top ten schedule.

Draper, UT

Kilarney, not sure of your age, but I think you were either not alive when the 1984 game happened or just don't know the history of college football.

BYU played in the Holiday Bowl and nobody declared it the "national championship game" as no such thing existed then. The media decided the champion, which was why there were so many disputed champions even now through the flawed BCS system.

BYU defeated the worst 6-6 Michigan team in decades. Washington defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, two teams generally thought to be much better than BYU. By your logic and every other Cougar's logic, the Utes at 13-0 in 2008 were the only undefeated team, and therefore the only team deserving of a National Championship, but no, BYU uses its logic exclusively on BYU.

BYU logic is a "peculiar" thing. Selectively applied, limited in its scope to the Cougars. The 1984 Holiday Bowl was a second tier bowl only and not one person at that time thought of it as "the national championship game." I guess you had to be alive then to remember what it was like.

Springville, UT

"Are byu fans pleased that byu never had the opportunity to play on the big stage?"

BYU's already played on a biggest stage for an NC so this question is senseless.

So in kind I'll follow it up with one of my own...

PAC12 stickers anyone?

Draper, UT

My bad, it was a 9-2 Oklahoma team that Washington beat in the 1984 Orange Bowl. Kilarney, you have a real head scratcher on your hands with "Nebraska and Washington tried to work the established precedent by beating a lower ranked team..." Oklahoma was ranked #2 they played Washington in the at the time. Is that your idea of a "lower ranked team?"

Bowl alignments were even more fixed than they are now and affiliated by conference almost exclusively. BYU had no choice but to play in the Holiday Bowl, a bowl they were contracted to play in as the WAC champ. The Big 8 champ was slated for the Orange Bowl. There was no way the two could meet to decide a true national champion.

To my knowledge, 6-5 Michigan was not ranked at all, so it is not as if BYU "played up" to win, and it took a furious 4th quarter rally to beat the Wolverines.

Perhaps you can expound on your "established precedent" theory?

East Salt Lake City, Utah


Only at BYU does a season ending LEG injury affect the passing game. By week two against Texas Hill ran for 250 yards and was a top 6 rusher but the worst passing QB in the nation.

FACT: 62% of the total wins were against losing teams

@killarney: "Utah could easily finish with no better than a 6-6 record versus BYU's 2014 schedule"

Keep day dreaming because reality isn't where you spend most of your time.

* Utah was 33-6 the last three years in the MWC (All loses to AP top 25 teams)
* Utah is 8-1 vs mid-majors since then (loss to a top AP 25 team)

Clark W. Griswold
Sandy, Utah

@ killarney

"U can have Virginia (which, incidentally, Utah has never beaten).

BYU will take Texas, Boise State, and Houston (which, incidentally, Utah has also never beaten)"

Two can play that game! BYU has never beaten Alabama and Utah has never lost to them.

Utah will gladly take teams like USC and Stanford (which incidentally, BYU has also never beaten). Utah leads the all time series with Stanford 3-2.

Utah has beaten Boise State before. They have beaten them twice! Boise State leads the all time series 5-2. You might want to check your facts before you lose all credibility.

bountiful, ut

"Contending" isn't in itself a 'good' thing... Lots of contenders continuously find a way to lose... There were no blow out losses for BYU this year... 10 or less points was the dagger each and every time. Arizona, WSU, USC and Oregon spoiled that from being a possibility for the Utes. Go ahead... 19-16, 20-13, 27-17, 23-13. 4 losses... Not ONE was over 10 points. I guess that means BYU is a contender too... That is where I'm nipping this line of thinking right in the bud before it makes people overly comfortable with mediocrity. A play here or there being different doesn't make a team 'great'... Because with all the narrow wins by both programs those same plays going the opponents way would have resulted in just one more loss... Oddly enough Utah's wins outside of Weber State were all 7 points or less... That isn't contention... That is squeaking... competition level is not a metric of justification for futility. Anyone who uses it as such is simply in crass denial.

let's roll

Wow...I'm going to do something completely unique to this thread: comment on the topic of the article rather than compare the U and the Y.

Challenges to Utah's success in the PAC-12
1. USC--There was a window of opportunity while their scholarships were limited but with them going back to full scholarships and Sark going there to coach, they'll again be dominant in Utah's division.
2. Top end recruiting--Utah continues to have their average creep up (a good thing) but the top end teams are still getting 10 4/5 star recruits for every one the Utes get.
3. Not being overlooked. I'm hopeful that Utah will approach .500 in the conference in the next couple of years. As they win more games, teams will stop looking past them. I don't think a single PAC-12 opponent thought they played one of their best games against Utah.

1. Head coaching stability--It's a differentiater that should help recruiting
2. Defense--Great scheme, great coaching. Keeps the Utes in most games. As the athletes improve (especially in the secondary)it will get even better. Need to develop an identity on offense.

Good luck to the Utes.

Salt Lake City, UT

Excellent commentary, Mr. Sorensen.

West Valley City, Utah

The Utes need a good stable quarterback in order to contend. BYU turned its offense around quickly with a good QB and the Utes can do the same. It is a game of inches.

Salt Lake City, UT

Who would possibly suggest that Utah's jump to the PAC 12 was a mistake? Only a complete idiot would advocate moving back to the MWC. Utah - and any other non-BCS school - would make the same move under the same circumstances again. Utah's football and basketball programs are moving forward. Recruiting has made major leaps forward. Upgrades to athletic facilities are first class. Utah is heading in the right direction. Anyone who suggests that Utah's jump to the PAC 12 was a mistake is a fool.

Mcallen, TX

@Elmer Fudd--Utah can't qualify for bowl games anymore.

Elmer Fudd
Sandy, Utah

@ killarney

"You're ignoring the fact that Utah lost to the Broncos in 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2010.

The Broncos were only 6-5 in 1998 and the 10-3 1999 Broncos lost to North Texas!"

Reread what I wrote because you totally misinterpreted it!

I said "Hardly anyone in college football could beat Boise State the last two times Utah played the Broncos"

The last two times Utah played Boise State was in 2006 and 2010. Hardly any team in college football could beat Boise State between 2006-2010 when Utah played them. In 2006 Boise State was 13-0 and Fiesta Bowl champions and ranked #5. In 2010 Boise State was 12-1 losing only to Nevada and ranked #7. Both those seasons Boise State pulled off big upsets during their season.

bountiful, ut

Sure, it may help playing PAC12 teams only 1-2 times versus 9 times. It isn't frequency played but frequency successful that still matters.

Playing on ESPN isn't necessarily a big stage... Just because 'we' are on ESPN every single week with very few exceptions doesn't mean that the games are necessarily any more watched than those on PAC-12... What Cougar fans can not take away from Utah is that they have to play the cream of the crop of their division or the conference every season. That definitely takes a toll... Perhaps Chris Hill could talk to his fellow conference associated AD's into scheduling BYU for 12 straight weeks... Then it could be apples to apples rather than apples to oranges. How soon that could happen is not 'very'... Too many future schedules are already breached. By the time it could be done the relevance of 'today' would be yesterday's dream. Whereas for today it is simply a nice pipe dream.

Elmer Fudd
Sandy, Utah

@ worf

You can count on Utah beating BYU every year!


Lincoln Park, IL


I remember history just fine, in fact, I was at the Holiday Bowl when BYU beat Michigan to win their 24th straight game.

Despite your biased hyperbole, every media expert and major college coach saw exactly the same things BYU haters like you pretend that only you are privy too, yet after carefully evaluating every contender for over a month, BYU was chosen consensus national champion by all five major selecting organizations.

The eyes of the entire college football nation were on the Holiday Bowl to see if #1-ranked BYU would stumble versus a Michigan team that earlier in the season had themselves been a national championship contender until a rash of injuries sent them on a losing skid. By the time the Holiday Bowl rolled around, most of Michigan's lost starters were back and healthy.

The Wolverine team that you so foolishly demean would have played in the Rose Bowl if they had beaten their arch rival Ohio State in their final regular season game.

If you want to blame someone for BYU not having a more "worthy" opponent, blame Nebraska and Washington who both turned down invitations to play BYU in the Holiday Bowl.

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