Thursday, November 04, 2010

UTES May Usurp Stanford's Rightful Place in the Rose Bowl

We have not heard a great deal from the Founding Hedgehog Lowell Brown of late, but I have a feeling that this post may coax him out of hiding.

For months now, ever since the onset of the college football season, I have looked forward with keen anticipation to the possibility that Stanford, my alma mater, might represent the PAC 12 in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1972. Those of hoary old age may recall that the Jim Plunkett-led Stanford team beat Ohio State in the 1971 Rose Bowl (which I attended in person), while Don Bunce led Stanford to victory over Michigan the following year. Stanford has not been back to the Rose Bowl since.

However, this year, the resurgent Stanford football fortunes under Coach Jim Harbaugh gave one hope. That hope was not extinguished by the Cardinal loss to the University of Oregon Ducks, since, barring an unforseen mishap, No. 1 ranked Oregon is bound for the BCS Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona. In any normal year, with Oregon lost to the BCS Championship Game, the number two team in the PAC 12, i.e., Stanford, would take its place.

Alas, this is no ordinary year. According to today's Los Angeles Times, under a rotational arrangement that is part of the BCS system, if the PAC 12 winner plays in the BCS Championship Bowl, the Rose Bowl must pass over the number 2 team in the confererence, and instead offer the slot vacated by Oregon to a non-conference team. The prime candidates to supplant Stanford at this writing are TCU, Boise State and, ahem, Utah, the alma mater of Lowell Brown.

My disappointment is even more poignant because it appears that the Big 10 representative in the Rose Bowl will be none other than the Ohio State Buckeyes. Not only would that be a replay of the great 1971 game (which I attended in person), but in 1976 I happened to have wed a lady with a masters degree from Ohio State, who attended that school at the height of the Woody Hayes era. She remembers Hayes leading manic anti-Michigan cheers at a pep rally before the annual Ohio State-Michigan game. Think of the spice that another Ohio State-Stanford matchup would have added to our marriage.

Lowell, as appalling as is the thought of either TCU or Boise State usurping Stanford's place in the 2011 Rose Bowl, when I think that instead the usurper may be Utah, I can only mutter, "Et tu brUTE?" Done in by my Hedgehog brother! Say it ain't so.

Cmon, Utah, you are going to be a PAC 12 (13? 14?) team next year anyway. Why not wait to play in the Rose Bowl until you deserve it by winning the conference championship, instead of raining on my Rose Bowl parade?

SUNDAY, 11/7/2010 UPDATE: TCU 47 - UTAH 7. Ouch! Sorry, Lowell. Well, that takes care of Utah usurping Stanford's place in the Rose Bowl. Now, please, Georgia and Alabama, please defeat Auburn. That should put TCU in the national championship game. Unfortunately, Stanford still would not be in the Rose Bowl - absent two losses, Boise State would slip in. And with upcoming WAC opponents of the caliber of Idaho (4-4), Fresno State (6-2), Nevada (8-1) and Utah State (3-6), it is probably too much to hope for two upsets of Boise State. In all probability, even if Stanford goes 11 and 1, it will be passed over by the BCS featured bowl games and will have to settle for, sniff, sigh, the Alamo Bowl.


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