Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Michigan-OSU Rematch? A Schizophrenic Jeeves Debates Himself (Part two of a three part series)

(See part one of the series here. A BCS Mess)

Does Michigan still deserve to play in the National Championship?

That's the question on everyone's mind. Trust me, all the talking heads are going to be, well talking about it. Judging from some college football analysts' mailbags, I think fans were more concerned about the idea of a rematch than the original game itself. I've decided to take a look at this, but I'm going at it from both angles. In this post, you'll get to hear from Jeeves, the NCAA football fan and Jeeves, the Michigan football fan.

School of thought 1: Michigan had their chance, and they blew it.

The danger of having Michigan in the title game, is the risk of devaluing the regular season. People have long regarded the regular season as the "playoffs" of college football, which is part of the appeal of the game itself. Whereas in pro football, one loss doesn't neccesarily mean much in the scheme of things, one loss in college can dictate whether you're playing in the Rose Bowl or the Outback Bowl. By having Michigan in the championship game, it would essentially be saying that the Big Ten finale didn't mean anything. Even though they lost, they would still be on equal footing to Ohio State with regards to winning the National Championship. What would happen if Michigan actually won the rematch? The first game between the teams would mean absolutely nothing. Yes, Ohio State would have a Big Ten championship, but Michigan would have the grand prize.

Such a scenario reminds me of how Nebraska backed into the title game against Miami. They were absolutely masacred by Colorado and still had a shot to compete for the 'ship. Now, I do realize that the Michigan game was very close, but that's not the parallel I'm looking to draw. The connection is the fact that Michigan wasn't good enough to win their own conference, so how do they deserve to win the National Title?

Michigan had their shot at the Buckeyes; they played valiantly and damn near pulled it out (they were maybe one Crable roughing the passer penatly away from a win), but they missed their opportunity. It's time to let another top team in the nation have a go at the Buckeyes.

School of thought 2: Michigan may have lost, but they're still the second best team in the nation.

So what if Michigan lost? They weren't blown out; it was unbelievably close. Hell, no one has challenged Ohio State this much since last year's Texas game. In my books Michigan is still the second best team in the nation, and the purpose of the BCS is to match up the two best teams so they can battle it out for the title.

Yes, Florida is a good team. If they win out against FSU and Arkansas, they can boast a strong argument for a spot in the title game, but they're not as solid as Michigan is. Florida may have an offensive mastermind as a coach, but their offense does not reflect their coach. It is still developing. Some will say that Michigan's offense isn't all that great either, so I will just refer those folks to today's scoreboard. Florida's defense isn't a match for Michigan's either; they are just overall a small notch below the Wolverines. USC? They've struggled to beat the dregs of the Pac-10, actually losing to one of them. Notre Dame? Yep, demolished by Michigan. Arkansas? That opening game really is an eyesore.

Michigan's loss was against the #1 team in the land. Ohio State has unanimously been number one for quite some time now. A three point loss to them just proves that Michigan can give OSU a run for their money in the 'ship.

Say, Michigan and Ohio State played their rivalry game Labor Day weekend a la FSU and Miami. Everything else equal, Michigan would almost unanimously be ranked #2 in the nation. They would have had plenty of time to climb up the rankings as every other team lost to lesser opponents. It's unjust to penalize Michigan for saving it's toughest match up for the end of the year. Afterall, a loss is a loss, so what if it came a few months later?

In pro football, it's quite possible that the teams set to play in the Super Bowl have played eachother in the regular season. Does that mean that the team that lost during the season should be ousted from the championship game? No. Some critics say that a rematch would lessen the importance of the first game and diminsh its importance. To an extent it would, but any regular season game is dwarfed by the championship. Plus this past game would play heavily upon the championship. Whole game plans would be set based on the results of the first game.


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