NOTE: I began writing this about a month ago and never finished it. Here it is in it’s entirety.
Growing up, without a professional football team to root for, I gravitated towards college football. And being that I am from Utah, there were really only two teams in the discussion: BYU and Utah. While the University of Utah was closer, I grew up a fan of the Brigham Young University Cougars, probably for two reasons: they were my father’s alma mater and I lived in a Mormon household. For those of you who don’t know, BYU is the flagship university for the LDS Church.
Anyway, I shared this passion for Cougar football with my dad, and every once in a while we would make the trek down to Provo and try to see a football game. One such game we failed to get into was the Miami-BYU game in 1990. Nationally televised games seem to be hard to just walk up and get tickets, and my Pops was not willing to pay $45 a piece for the tickets. He offered to let me go by myself, but what 10-year old is going to go to a football game while his father sits out in the car and listens on the radio? So that is what we did. Instead of driving home, where we probably would have missed most the game, we went and got some lunch and listened to the game in the car, at least for a while, before driving home. If we missed it on TV, we would be able to watch it again on KBYU later anyways.
Even after moving across the country, I still follow BYU football. This stems from not really having a team to root for out here (UConn is not quite good enough yet) and the pure nostalgia of it all. If the annual BYU-Utah game is on national television, I try to watch, and also try to watch the BYU bowl game if I am not doing anything else. And when they succeed against national powers, I always smile a little. As a fan of college football, I am not a fan of the Bowl Championship Series. It is always rewarding to watch a so-called non-BCS school knock off a BCS school, like when Boise State beat Oklahoma a few years ago.
The reason I am writing this today is because of this excellent article by Sports Illustrated columnist Stewart Mandel about the 1984 National Championship won by BYU. It wsa kind of controversial for various reasons, all of which are outlined in the article. BYU was technically the last school from a “non-BCS” conference to win the championship, which in of itself is quite surprising.
Now that BYU has defeated Oklahoma to kick off this football season, however, there is a lot of talk about the possibility of them running the table and competing for a National Championship. While I feel it is a little early for that, a strong run by BYU, Utah, TCU, or Boise State, among others, may bring a football playoff to pass at the upper division of college football. That would be the best thing to happen for sometime. Imagine, BYU, the school that may have started major college football on the path to the BCS 25 years ago may be the team that causes it to end as well. That would be fitting.