Let's put the team that beat ND worse in the title game...
Is the most telling agrument in who deserves a crack at Ohio St. simply which team beat Notre Dame worse?
Gerry Ahern over at yahoo sports thinks so.
"But as the Bowl Championship Series computers whirred and spit out the Trojans as the new No. 2 team in the land Sunday night, it dawned on me – we now have an apples-to-apples comparison of USC and No. 3 Michigan – the teams’ performances against the Fighting Irish, their lone common opponent."
Uggh...so this is what it comes down to? Can there be a less reasonable approach to this? You are comparing a game played in early September to a game played in late November.
"The evidence seems pretty empirical, especially when you factor in that the Wolverines’ lone loss came by three points at top-ranked Ohio State (12-0), while the Trojans lost at unranked Oregon State (8-4) by two."
Very true. Michigan's loss was way more "impressive" than USC's (funny, we always thought a loss was a loss). But hey, why not also factor in the WINS?
"Strength of schedule? USC faced 10 teams that will play in bowls, Michigan seven."
Ok, so wouldn't that imply that USC played a more formidable schedule? And if we look more closely, it is no longer just an implication:
Michigan beat 5 teams with winning records. In what is widely recognized as a down year in the Big Ten, Michigan's non-conference wins were ND, Central Michigan, Vandy and Ball St. The wins over teams with winning records were ND, Wisconsin, Central Michigan, Penn St. and Purdue. Only ND and Wisconsin are currently ranked.
USC beat 6 teams with winning records. Their non-conference schedule included wins over Arkansas (who is in the SEC title game), Nebraska (who is in the Big 12 title game) and ND. Four of the teams that USC beat are currently ranked. The IF factor: If Arkansas and/or Nebraska win their conference title...then game over. A PAC-10 championship and a win(s) over other conference champions HAS to trump finishing second in the Big Ten. If it doesn't then why have conferences?
Apparantly, Gerry doesn't care:
"As you do the math, it seems clear that the Maize and Blue should be making their way to the desert for a date with the Buckeyes, not the Cardinal and Gold."
Where did Gerry learn to do math? It must have been in Ann Arbor. He has completely disregarded that USC's schedule is MUCH more impressive than Michigan's, and seems to think that because Michigan beat ND by a few more points...that that is the determining factor. Is he kidding?
Sorry, Gerry. BOTH teams lost. Giving Michigan the edge because they lost to a better team doesn't trump the fact that the Trojans played a harder schedule and racked up WINS over better teams. Both teams lost a game. If you are going to let the determining factor be the loss and not the wins...then undefeated Boise State should get the bid!