Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You want an OSU-Michigan rematch already?

The college football season is winding down and the picture is becoming a little clearer, with a handful of teams being knocked out of contention, as to who will be in the BCS title game. The scenarios are pretty much set and we have an idea about which teams need what to happen to get into the game. It looks like USC has the inside track if they can run the table, although if some other teams finish with one loss, there will be some legitimate debate. But there is one scenario that a few, like Gerry Ahern on yahoo sports (I think Mitch Albom also wrote a column demanding this), are hoping to see: a rematch of Michigan-Ohio St.

The argument being that Michigan and OSU are head and shoulders above the rest; that every other team has a “damning” loss. USC lost to a non-contending Oregon St. team. Notre Dame was waxed by Michigan. Florida lost to a two loss Auburn team. Arkansas was blown out at home by USC (who lost to that Oregon St. team). And Rutgers hasn’t played a challenging enough schedule. Because of this, some feel that the title game should be a rematch of the Michigan-OSU season finale.

The only problem is: the game hasn’t been played yet! What happens if the game is a blowout? You still want a rematch? Also, after the game, either Michigan or OSU will join the one loss teams. And, if you are going to look at the schedules of the one loss teams under the scope, you have to then put the loser of Judgment Day under it as well.

Michigan: Big wins were registered over one loss ND and one loss Wisconsin. Decent wins over Penn St. and Iowa. Michigan has registered 6 wins over teams with losing records. Let’s face it; after OSU, Michigan and Wisconsin, the Big Ten doesn’t offer much of a challenge. Penn St. and Iowa, despite winning records were not threats this year. And the bottom half of the conference is pretty lousy. Certainly, wins over ND and Wisconsin are impressive. But if Michigan winds up losing to OSU and joins the one loss cadre, are those wins any more impressive than USC thumping Arkansas, Oregon, and (if it happens) Cal and ND?

Ohio St.: Big win was Texas, and that UT loss to K-State knocks some of the luster off. Same decent wins over PSU and Iowa. Other than that, no wins over teams with a winning record. So the same question applies: If USC runs the table and OSU loses, does that win over Texas match all of USC big wins?

OSU and Michigan have looked very impressive most of the year. They are obviously the cream of the crop. But, if you are going to discount the one loss teams and go through their schedules with a fine tooth comb, you have to do the same to the loser of the OSU-Michigan. It would be hypocritical to somehow say the loss doesn’t count. And when you pin a loss on either of those teams, all of a sudden their schedule isn’t as impressive. If OSU loses, they join ND (and Wisconsin) as having only lost to Michigan. Look at the schedule. ND’s (and USC and the SEC teams) compares favorably to OSU. And if Michigan loses, are their wins over ND and Wisconsin more impressive than the big wins of the other one loss teams (besides ND)?

Calling for a rematch before the game takes place is just silly. If the game is a tight one or an overtime affair; well, make the argument then. If it ends up being one sided, calling for a rematch before the game was a waste of time.

Let’s let the season play out before we decide who gets in the title game. There is still a lot of ball to be played.

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