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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

Oregon did college football fans a favor by knocking Utah out of playoff picture

Utah Utes

Oregon did the College Football Playoff committee the biggest favor of all by solving the Utah problem. And really, college football fans everywhere should be thankful for what the Ducks did.

Oregon dominated Utah with a 37-15 win in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night in Santa Clara to hand the Utes their second loss of the season and prevent them from reaching the playoff.

Entering the weekend, Utah was ranked No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings. They had a very good shot at being selected for the playoff had they beaten Oregon and Georgia (ranked No. 4) lost to LSU in the SEC Championship Game. The debate likely would have come down to Utah and the winner of the Big 12 Championship Game, and the Utes probably would have had a good case to make it. Instead, they got demolished by the Ducks and spared everyone the embarrassment of seeing them get shellacked by real national champion contender like Ohio State, LSU or Clemson.

Utah may have been in the conversation for the playoff, but they were nowhere near close to the level of Ohio State, LSU and Clemson. There is a gap larger than Zion National Park between the Utes and those schools.

Utah’s non-conference schedule was non-existent. They beat Northern Illinois, Idaho State, and a mediocre BYU team. Whoopee. They admittedly looked good mopping up most of the Pac-12, but that’s more of a reflection of the conference’s weakness this season than anything else. Cal was on its third and fourth-string quarterbacks when Utah beat them. They pounded other conference weaklings like Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona.

When they faced the only two teams in the conference (other than themselves) with better than a 7-5 record, they lost.

Utah never belonged in the playoff, never was a true national-level contender, and now they’re not even going to the Rose Bowl.

College football fans should be grateful this holiday season that they will have been spared from being subjected to the Pac-12’s courtesy nominee to the playoff. The conference needs to recognize just how far they’ve fallen and irrelevant they’ve become under commissioner Larry Scott and finally move to get rid of him.

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