The 2009 season is finally here. Buckle up, folks, because things are going to get interesting over the next few months.
How'll the Utes look against the Aggies? Will they cover the spread? Will they score more than 40-points? Hold USU under 21?
We'll find out in a few hours.
But I want to actually talk about something I had planned to post yesterday. It's Utah's record over the last decade against BCS opponents. I think it's important, because it shows just how solid they've been since 2000.
For starters, Utah has won five-straight over BCS opponents dating back to the 2007 season (UCLA, Louisville, Michigan, Oregon State and Alabama). No other non-BCS team holds a longer current winning streak. The Utes have a chance to push that to seven if they can beat Oregon and Louisville this season.
The most impressive stat, however, is the fact the Utes have won 16 games against the BCS since 2000 - the best in the nation. Here's the top-ten non-BCS programs based on wins over the BCS since 2000:
What this shows is that there aren't many non-BCS teams with winning records against the BCS (we'll get to that later).
What is surprising might be the lack of a team that has dominated this decade in terms of wins - Boise State. The Broncos come in 12th, tied with Air Force, Wyoming, UNLV, Colorado State, Miami (OH) and New Mexico in wins (5) against the BCS. Does that number surprise you?
To put that in perspective, Wyoming & UNLV - doormats of the MWC - have just as many wins over the BCS as the Broncos. This number might go along way toward putting their guady winning percentage into context. Though it shouldn't take away from what they've done, since I'm guessing nearly any of those top-ten teams listed above would trade their wins over BCS foes for what Boise State has established in the WAC.
Next, I want to look at the top-ten based on winning percentage. This might be more impressive than just total wins, since Fresno State - at 14 - still has a losing record against the BCS.
This list is a bit more telling.
Only Utah and TCU have winning records against the BCS since 2000. The rest are below .500 and in many cases, aren't even close to breaking even. It just goes to show how difficult it is to go out there and win against the BCS - even if you have competitive teams.
You don't have to look further than BYU and Boise State - two teams that have been extremely good the last few years - yet have rather pathetic winning percentages against the BCS.
There are some differences between the two lists, too.
First - Utah is the most consistent of the non-BCS teams against BCS opponents. The Utes rank #1 in wins and #2 in winning percentage and the only team ahead of them - TCU - actually played less BCS opponents.
Second - Navy, East Carolina and So. Miss aren't in the top-ten when looking at just winning percentage. They have a good amount of wins, but they have also played a great deal more games against the BCS.
Third - UNLV and Wyoming actually round out the top-ten, which is a surprise, since they aren't there in terms of total wins. But .294 is a horrible percentage, regardless of who the opponents are.
Overall, the Utes have put together a solid string of victories over BCS teams and that has kept them relevant, even during the 'down' years from 2005-2007. What this means for 2009 won't be known until after Oregon, but it might indicate good things.
First thing first, though - beat USU!