Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

No Rematch

As the Buckeye and Wolverine fans recover from their post-game euphoria or depression, the drum-beat has begun for a rematch in the BCS national championship game. Actually the campaign began weeks before the game ("Let’s say it’s a close, exciting game and Michigan, the road team, loses . . .") The fact that Michigan remains #2 in the latest BCS rankings adds to the speculation.

I am opposed to a rematch, assuming there is another team available with strong credentials. USC clearly qualifies as such if the Trojans win out. I think they will, despite a scratchy game against Cal (the Bears had two TDs called back on replay reversals). I haven’t been impressed with Notre Dame all season. In fact UCLA might be the tougher opponent for USC given the unpredictability of rivalry games. The stat geeks seem to think that USC will move ahead of Michigan in the BCS rankings if that’s that case. The more difficult case is for the winner of Florida-Arkansas in the SEC Championship game, if that team finishes with one loss. Florida has won with smoke and mirrors all season and Arkansas was crushed by USC in its opener. I would still vote for that team. If Notre Dame wins out . . . that’s the toughest case to make, as Michigan beat the Irish like a drum in South Bend.

Yes, Michigan is arguably the second best team in the country – maybe even co-number one, if you use the typical (gamblers’) standard that home field is worth three points. A personal foul penalty on a helmet-to-helmet hit against Troy Smith late in the fourth quarter perhaps saved the game for Ohio State. But. The BCS is based on the premise that water rises to its own level, that games naturally occur late in the season that eliminate contenders. Louisville beat West Virginia, then Rutgers beat Louisville, then Rutgers lost its claim by losing to Cincinnati. Texas was in good position – for a rematch with Ohio State by the way – but lost to Kansas State. Florida will play Arkansas. USC will play Notre Dame.

For better or worse the second half of the regular season is the playoff. Michigan had its chance. It was in the Horseshoe, yes. The death of Bo Schembechler must be taken into account, yes. But life isn’t fair. I think a good standard for a national championship contender under the current system is that it must win its own conference (Notre Dame being the outlier – maybe use its record against other Top 10 teams.)

Do I like the BCS? No. But it is what it is. If you want a rematch and don’t get it, then revolt. Boycott the national championship game and all who sponsor it, and demand a real playoff.

A comment on the game itself – Ohio State won because Jim Tressel came out aggressively on offense and stayed that way throughout the entire game. The great fault of coaches in all sports is to tighten up in big games, especially when they have the lead and most especially when they’ve suffered a setback (in OSU’s case, three turnovers). This is true on offense, defense and special teams. One can’t be Jerry Granville/Mouse Davis crazy but close games between two good teams are typically decided by the team that is on the balls of its feet, not on its heels.

Discussions - 15 Comments

I would love to see Notre Dame make it to the championship just to watch the Bucks beat the bejesus out of them. Notre Dame is an overrated team with an easy schedual (way to beat Army!) that is basically guaranteed a bowl game every year. I’m kind of indifferent to the rematch question, except the problem would then be the fact that if Michigan won we’d be in a situation where OSU and Michigan beat eachother once, but Michigan is declared the national champions.

As much as I’m bored by the Big 10 in principle, I’m inclined to give Michigan a second chance. I agree that USC hasn’t played well and was darn lucky against Cal. Notre Dame just isn’t that good. If ND decimates USC, I could be persuaded to change my mind. But that ain’t likely.

I agree that it’s unreasonable to give Michigan a second chance. Saturday was their chance. It was a close game, yes, but a loss is a loss and it seems perfectly unreasonable for the next game that OSU and Michigan plays to again be against one another. And as Andrew says, how is it reasonable, if Michigan were to win a rematch, to declare them national champion when each team would have one loss each coming at the hands of the other? The top one-loss, non-Michigan school should get a crack at OSU. Period.

Florida is not a strong team. They have won multiple games by 1 point, and their loss to Auburn is looking worse as Auburn struggles on a weekly basis. Arkansas, the likely winner of the SEC, was beaten by USC this year by 36 points!

If USC wins out they should get a shot. If not, Michigan deserves a rematch ahead of both SEC teams. Florida knows this and is already crying about anti-SEC conspiracies.

If an OSU/Michigan rematch happens and Michigan wins, would that restore faith in the BCS or lead to further dissatisfaction?

At the moment, it seems fair to call Michigan #2. I think they’d have a better shot than anyone else at beating OSU in the potential rematch. If USC loses, Michigan will probably get that shot. It’s not a great outcome, but the college system’s always somewhat dysfunctional.

(Also: I don’t think Saturday’s game was as close as the final score made it appear. OSU had a lucky penalty, but they also had two unlucky bad snaps, not to mention the deflected pass/interception. They looked very dominant for most of the game.)

If USC wins out they will surpass Michigan...if that happens they deserve it. On the other hand it is hard to say that Michigan is not number 2. I agree with Robert C. Michigan has the best shot at beating Ohio State. Even if USC wins out and Arkansas wins there will be some grumbling in the SEC about the way that Arkansas matured and played a very hard no one will be happy with the BCS in all things... The BCS people can be thankfull that the Big Ten doesn’t play a Big Ten Championship game...If Ohio State rematched Michigan and Michigan won...then it would really be messed up and calls for a third game to decide the National Title would probably have more merit than calls for a rematch for the National Title do now.

There’ll be no rematch. No outcome from such a rematch would be satisfying:

  1. If Ohio State were to win by a wide margin, everyone would say it simply proves what the first game proved. Therefore, a different team should have been allowed a shot at the championship.
  2. If OSU won by the same slim margin, people would say the same thing as in bullet #1, but with a bit less conviction. But not much less.
  3. If Michigan won by a slim margin, it would simply mean the two teams are closely matched, but it wouldn’t settle the issue. Many would decry the rematch as proving nothing, and say a different team should have been allowed a shot at the title.
  4. Only if Michigan came out and spanked OSU would the issue be settled. And it’s very unlikely that would happen.

I just want an exciting game for OSU, like the 2002 championship. Michigan is the only team good enough to give OSU a good game. On the other hand, when the Buckeyes beat USC like a drum, maybe we could all stop hearing about the wonders of USC - or when they curb stomp Florida, maybe we could all FINALLY stop hearing about the "premier" SEC conference. The Big Ten is as tough as any other conference in the nation. I would be apalled by a Notre Dame matchup - they did not even remotely give OSU a game last year.

Ok, I’ve been dead-set against the "rematch" nonsense all along, but then I saw this:

Yes, Michigan is arguably the second best team in the country – maybe even co-number one...

Well, all I can say is, bring ’em on. These schlubs from Michigan ain’t gonna shut up until we’ve beaten the crap out of ’em twice this season. Good grief, what a bunch of whiners. Yep, bring ’em BCS, bring ’em on!

I originally let the "co-number one" comment slide, but let’s be honest. Ohio State had the lead for all but the first 6 minutes of the game. They gave up three turnovers (two unforced) that cost the Buckeyes at least one score and gave the Wolverines two scores. Michigan scored two of their touchdowns after bogus pass interference calls kept their drives alive. They still couldn’t pull it out. And if you think the Buckeyes would not have scored again on that last drive you are kidding yourself. Take the cast off the center’s arm and it’s OSU by 17. Take out the last-minute, no contact "interference" call and it’s +24.

I wish the Wolverines the best of luck in their bowl game. They will represent the Big Ten well. But they are "co-" nothing, except co-runners up with Wisconsin.

"A personal foul penalty on a helmet-to-helmet hit against Tony Smith late in the fourth quarter perhaps saved the game for Ohio State."

By the way, I’ve scoured both team rosters and I can’t seem to locate this "Tony Smith" guy. Are you sure you actually wathced the game, or is this little flub typical of sports commentary in the halls of higher learning? Like, Tony, Troy, what’s the difference? Heisman, Sheisman, who cares?

Agreed, let’s bury the "rematch" nonsense. If Michigan had won, I’d doubt we’d be talking about a rematch for the National Championship by the runner-up Big Ten team with an 11-1 record. Alas, until we have a 24-or-so game season and a real elimination tournament, such silliness will persist.

Let the Michiganders slink back to the frozen north and lick their wounds until next year. ;-)

Whoever it is, I hope they stomp OSU so you all will shut up. Yeah, you’re really great- how many did you score against Illinois in the second half? Oh, zero? Hmm.

Nobody forces you to read an Ohio website. Even if they did, there are 49 other posts on the front page you can read instead of trolling comments about the Buckeyes.

Yes, because the quality of a football team is determined by each game score on an individual basis. Giving up an average of less than 10 points a game for the what? M*ch*gan scored 39...Put up 42 against what has been hailed as one of the top 5 defenses in the country...who cares? OSU scored 0 in the second half against a poor Illinois team. Beaten two #2 teams this year and were one of the few to run from beginning to end as #1...who cares? Michigan was overrated and Texas lost to Kansas St. Dominated every opponent they’ve faced this year, with only two giving the Buckeyes a game...who cares? Those two games are determinative, rather than the full body of work.

I know football, and that’s why my ______ (insert: my one loss team or Boise State Middle School) would dominate OSU in the National Championship game and therefore deserve a shot.

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