If you’re Alabama or one of the legion of Tide fans, you don’t have any room to look for excuses in getting handled by Utah last night. Using Andre Smith’s improper conduct with an agent doesn’t fly, nor does the offensive line weakness that resulted with players shifting positions due to injury throughout the game. There’s nothing to say about this game save the fact that Utah is just a better team, pounding through a schedule in which it played and beat five ranked opponents during the season.

Alabama not only got outplayed, the team looked like it wasn’t happy to be in New Orleans instead of Miami, never mind the fact that the Tide was in a BCS bowl way ahead of schedule under Nick Saban. Ute QB Brian Johnson had his way in the passing game to the tune of 336 yards and 3 TDs, spreading the passes around to several different receivers. Utah’s front seven harassed John Parker Wilson all day — the only lapse they had was when Javier Arenas returned a punt for a touchdown, and the refs let a block in the back go on that return. I’d never seen Saban that pissed; he not only got outcoached, but his team didn’t do the little things at all when it came to tackling, blocking, and such.

And now we have one undefeated team left in all of Division I-A football, yet they stand absolutely no chance at any part of the national championship, just like Boise State two years ago. A “plus-1” or Top 4 format wouldn’t even help this at all: teams like Utah would be left out because they play in the MWC. Now, we have to consider last year’s Sugar Bowl between Hawaii and Georgia an aberration: out of the four BCS bowls featuring non-BCS conference schools, the outsiders are 3-1 (Utah winning twice.) The more this happens, the more obvious the need for an 8-team playoff, at a minimum, becomes, so much so that any fair-minded and smart commentator can’t avoid pushing for it, no matter whether their network airs the games or not. Considering how some ESPN analysts and on-air people keep talking about a playoff, I can’t imagine them stopping once the Four-Letter gets the BCS contract in a couple of years.

Thank you, Utah, for pouring even more gasoline on the fire.

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