Fri Jun 18 10:55am EDT
Without a doubt, it was Utah's plight following a 13-0 season in 2008 that sparked Sen. Orrin Hatch's ongoing crusade against the BCS, now spanning two Congressional hearings and roughly a dozen hostile volleys between the two sides. But the Utes' official ascension into the ranks of the "Haves" Thursday, when they were affirmed as the 12th member of the Pac-10 beginning in 2011, apparently hasn't dulled the senator's taste for BCS blood:
"Look," the senator said, "Utah moving to the Pac-10 doesn't mean that the BCS is suddenly good for college football. It doesn’t mean that the legal concerns that many have expressed about the BCS have disappeared or that a system that favors some schools while systemically putting others at a disadvantage is suddenly well and good. Most Utahns – Ute fans included – understand the BCS is fundamentally anticompetitive and do not want Congress turning a blind eye to blatant violations of our nation's antitrust laws, whether they be in college football or elsewhere. Those concerns won't just go away because of today’s news.
"Most reasonable people agree with me that a fair playoff system would benefit all schools, regardless of what conference they’re in," Hatch continued. "Fixing the BCS to make it more fair and inclusive would benefit all of Utah’s schools, including the University of Utah."
A brief survey of the ranks of "reasonable people" include not only your humble blogger, but also Ute coach Kyle Whittingham, who dissed the authority of the BCS after it kept his undefeated team from a shot at the "national championship" in 2008 and reaffirmed his support of a playoff on Thursday. They also include the president (though he's been curiously silent on the issue over the last year or so) and possibly the Justice Department, which began reviewing the BCS as a potential antitrust violation in January.
See also: Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff, another Mark Shurtleff, another BCS hater born of the 2008 snub, whose office said Thursday that his effort to mount an antitrust lawsuit against the Series in multiple states – think of it as the sporting version of the anti-tobacco lawsuits in the nineties – is still full speed ahead: "This doesn't change anything as far as the investigation and lawsuit against the BCS. We're still gathering information and putting together what we think is a really strong case, and trying to gather interested parties to participate."
In other words: We are serious. And BYU and Utah State fans still vote, too.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.