We find ourselves this afternoon with a dichotomy the likes of which we haven't seen since 2 Fast 2 Furious was released on our wife's birthday. Today's problem: How are we going to cheer in the Sugar Bowl?
We have one of two options for tonight's game: Root for Utah to win and raise the banner for non-BCS schools across the country, or root for Utah to lose - and lose convincingly - to prove our point that Boise State deserved a BCS bid ahead of the Utes. One is a respectful decision to support a fellow underdog; the other is petty. And we can't pick between the two.
The merits of rooting for Utah are obvious. Even Tom Scott gets it.
Bronco Nation needs to pull for Utah, because mid-major respect is at stake. The Utes are carrying the banner for non-BCS schools everywhere tonight. The outsiders can't afford another meltdown like the one Hawaii laid down in New Orleans a year ago--the 41-10 loss to Georgia. That debacle hasn't offset BSU's Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma...yet. When they next adjust the BCS formula, mid-majors have to hope there's no reason sitting there for the BCS to put the screws to their lot.
Root for Utah and you're rooting for non-BCS teams everywhere, a group that Boise State just happens to belong to. Every time a big, bad BCS conference school gets knocked off by the little guy, it adds a little more evidence to the Everestian pile already sitting nearby marked "Fiesta Bowl 2007."
Plus, if Utah loses, it could force college football's bigwigs to cast serious doubts on the credibility of non-BCS schools for years to come. Hawaii did nothing to add to the momentum of BSU's historic win. In fact, Hawaii helped non-BCS teams (Boise State and the WAC, in particular) to take a step backward. If the same fate befalls Utah, what hope does the non-BCS have left? Conference USA? Uh-oh.
Tom Scott finishes his imploring with a succinct, "Just hope for the best." But you know, Tom Scott, we just can't bring ourselves to do that.
The other side of the cheering debate is much more our M.O. We want to see Utah lose, and to be perfectly honest, we want to see them lose badly. We felt the same way about Hawaii last year because, when it gets right down to it, we want to see the Broncos succeed and no one else.
Is this fair? Of course not. Are we saying that this should be the way all Bronco fans feel? Nope. We know that we are probably in the minority on this, but we simply cannot bring ourselves to be happy over Utah winning. We have wanted them to lose all year, and we are unable to flip a switch to cheer otherwise at this juncture. We're stubborn and unfeeling. But that's the way we are.
We don't want Utah to be the first non-BCS team with two BCS wins. We don't want the Utes to be the only undefeated team left in the country. If either of these things happen, the Broncos will lose a little bit of their legacy in the history books. When Boise State hits a BCS bowl next year or the year after, we don't want to have to be constantly reminded of how they'll become the second team to win multiple BCS games from a non-BCS conference. We want Utah to lose so that the glory can be all Boise State's. And yes, we know how egotistical that sounds.
We're not especially proud of our stance for tonight's Sugar Bowl. But we've come to accept it as the way we are. We rejoice over the failures of others while the rest of Bronco Nation does the right thing and supports its peers. What can we say? We are the same guys who chose 2 Fast 2 Furious back in the day, too. It's in our nature.
Watch: Sugar Bowl, 6:00pm, FOX