Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Complaints

As you might assume from reading my previous posts, I approve the selection of Florida to meet Ohio State in the BCS title game. I won’t review all the complaints about the BCS or the very reasonable arguments on behalf of Michigan. My logic: in the absence of a post-season playoff, the conference races constitute the playoffs and filter out the contenders. Michigan had its chance in conference and lost to Ohio State. Florida won the SEC and among the other major conference champions (USC, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, and Louisville), the Gators have the best resume. Even that is debatable, of course, as Louisville had just one loss and Oklahoma was robbed at Oregon. But we are where we are. If not quite the infamous old Polish Constitution, not far away.

For those who think that this game will be a blowout given Florida’s uneven performance during much of the season – perhaps. Ohio State is indeed very good. But Buckeye fans remember that many experts gave little chance to the underdog in the 2003 title game (2002 season), in the face of the multi-talented juggernaut from “the U.” My early pick is Florida.

Perhaps lost in all the shouting is the accomplishment of Wake Forest, which will play Louisville in the Orange Bowl. The Demon Deacons had not won an ACC championship in 35 years. Even perennial doormat Duke (under Steve Spurrier) had managed a title during that time. Wake Forest has one of the smallest undergraduate enrollments among the Division I-A football schools (4,000) – which fact, unless you are Notre Dame (8,000), means a significant limit on the alumni and fan base that underwrite the big-time programs. Everything fell into place this year for Coach Jim Grobe, despite a number of key injuries. The ACC had a down year. The ball bounced the right way at the right time. The close games – and most of them were close, including a one-point win at home against Duke – fell into place. One suspects that this will be a blip on the radar rather than a trend, as the big time programs (Florida State, Miami) reload and as Butch Davis takes hold at North Carolina. But the story holds out hope for the little guys of the world.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Mr. Garrity,

You’re early pick is a large miscalculation. First, just because Ohio State had close, almost miraculous wins in 2002 to reach the title game and then beat the ’Canes for the national title does not in any way translate into a likely victory for Florida. Second, even if that were a factor, you must consider Miami’s attitude as a team in the 2002 season and compare it to the Buckeyes in 2006. Think "swagger" (unenviable, immoderate cockiness) as compared to "professionalism" (preparedness, evenheadedness, respectfulness). Third, Ohio State faced the type of schedule that forced them to not overlook opponents. They faced tough (or what were supposed to be tough) challenges early and won. Afterward, they faced a stretch of 6 weeks with opponents that easily could have been overlooked. They took each seriously, even if during the Illinois game the Vest was buttoned pretty tightly.

What are your reasons for favoring Florida? They’re stregnth is their defense, to be sure. But, they tend to allow big plays...and big plays seem to be one of the many strengths of the Buckeyes. They’re running game is inconsistent at best and weak at worst (as a sidenote, I had the pleasure of facing Florida tailback Deshawn Wynn in high school. My team won and I had more rushing yards than him. Now that I’ve gotten the self-congratulations out of the way...)...and the Buckeyes run defense is their defensive weakness. Florida’s passing offense is strong, but inefficient (turnovers and completion percentage are problems for Leak and Tebow)...and the Buckeyes defense thrives on creating turnovers. Finally, Florida’s offense has struggled at times to put points on the board...and the Buckeyes are the second best team in all of Division I-A’s 117(?) at keeping points off the board.

Ohio State’s balance and opportunistic defense proves to be too much for the Gators, and the Buckeyes prevail 35-14. They also cover a spread of 14 points that the men in Vegas will dream up. That’s it.

The choice of Florida was just. The schedules of Michigan and Florida were comparable in terms of strength, with FL’s probably just slightly tougher. FL looked ugly and was lucky in more games than MI, but all that should count is winning and losing. That said, Ohio State will probably win the game.

In January, Ohio State and Michigan will both crush their opponents - and we will still have to hear ad nauseum about the wonders of the SEC and USC until the end of time as if these Big 10 bowl victories never happened.

Why not institute a playoff system and be done with all of the second guessing? Single elimination, the last team standing is the national champion. Seems to be a system that works pretty well in Div I-AA (and every other sport for that matter). One could argue that the Indianapolis Colts have been one of the best teams in football over the past few years, yet they haven’t won a super bowl. By these standards, they would have been playing in championships the past few seasons because people (or computers) voted them to the title game. Lets have all the teams play in a playoff and see who the true champion is. While there are exceptions, the cream (almost) always rises to the top.

Even a playoff system would be incapable of settling for good who the best team was. As MM points out last year the Colts were superior to the Steelers, and yet they didn’t win when it "counted"... The beauty and curse of college football is that the national champion is usually the team that stands as the lone undefeated...unlike the NFL every game counts. The BCS may be imperfect but it isn’t that imperfect...sure big budget teams are given preference...but big budget teams also tend to play in tougher conferences...with more difficult schedules. The BCS won’t make everyone happy...but what of a playoff system that ended up pitting Arkansas or Oklahoma vs. Wake Forest or Louisville for the National Title? Couldn’t one argue that the entire idea of a playoff in some way diminishes regular season performance? In fact this season the importance of the OSU vs. Michigan game would have been greatly diminished...and USC would still be in the chase despite loosing to UCLA...but if UCLA was say a 16 seed and this week was the playoffs then...USC would be out and we could end up watching UCLA run the tables....I respect the argument for the Playoffs and I would love to watch more college football...but I don’t think it would settle anything any more than it is already settled by the current system. More games and more matchups just translate into more upsets...with the team that is hotest at the end winning the so called "championship"...lets not make football into March madness or baseball...In college football all games count and every game is a playoff game. Also I think the SEC is the best all around conference...on the other hand I think Wisconsin is a sleeper and will beat Arkansas...Ohio State will beat Florida by exactly 1/2 a point less than the spread given by the bookies in Ohio and also a half point more than the spread in Florida...bookies from both states will colude to even out the books and make a fortune.

Nice try, Partrick, but this year’s Florida team and the 2002 Buckeyes have little in common. The 2002 Buckeyes were undefeated and beat 9 or 10 ranked teams that year, including the PAC-10 champions (who they crushed). They had an offense similar to Florida’s in overall production but with at least two big-time playmakers (one at WR and one at RB) where Florida has none. OSU had the top defense in the country and faced a Miami team whose defense was ranked somewhere down in the 70s or 80s.

Not so this year. Florida is not undefeated. They played no tough games out of conference. Despite all the recent exaggerating about Florida’s schedule, they played only 4 ranked teams and the BCS computers I have seen rank Florida’s strength of schedule as high as 27 and as low as 48th. Furthermore, they will not be playing a team with a shoddy D. OSU has the top scoring defense in the country. OSU is in the top 3 in interceptions. Chris Leak is about as turnover-prone in big games as any quarterback of the last 20 years. OSU also has the most explosive offense in the country and would easily be averaging 45 points per game if not for "Tresselball." (They are still 6th or 7th in ppg, with Smith and the starting O usually only playing about 2 - 2 1/2 quarters.)

Better on offense. Better on defense. Much better on special teams. Not a pretty sight. You should stop comparing Florida to the 2002 Buckeyes and start comparing them to a team they resemble more, like 1995 Florida (remember how that turned out?) or the many 1-loss teams that have been throttled in the BCS the past 6-8 years.

An al-team tournament would be impossible, silly, unexciting, no-fun, and destroy tradition. That said, a plus 1 tournament would be great. Even if whiners would persist afterward, it would be much better. I second WM.

The Florida choice might be ok, but I doubt it is just. There are so many angles by which to consider them when compared to Michigan. Schedule strength, quality of wins, margin of victory or quality of performance, quality of loss, team strengths and team weaknesses, etc. I would give the edge to Michigan, and a long edge at that. The supposed line on a game b/w Florida and Michigan was Michigan by 7.

Also, if I have to hear the imbecilic Mark May talk about the Big Ten being down one more time, I may have to hunt him down. Three top ten teams and the rest ended with records from slaughtering each other. I look forward to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State dominating in their Bowl games, while the SEC struggles. What’s the difference between a 6-6 Iowa team and a 6-6 Alabama team?...the media’s adoration of the SEC. When Iowa competes with 9-3 Texas in the Alamo Bowl and Alabama struggles with 6-6 Oklahoma State in the in the Independence Bowl, we’ll hear what he May has to say. It’ll be a good build-up to Ohio State rolling over Florida.

From the Columbus Dispatch this morning:

Coach Tressel decided that Florida and Michigan are both great teams and he therefore abstained in the coaches’ ballot. Said Lloyd Carr, "That was pretty slick."

The writer noted that Tressel may have a future career in politics.

Apparently vitirol and typos go hand in hand. Please excuse me.

Go Gators, Badgers, Trojans, Scarlet Knights, Sooners, and Longhorns!

I love Jim Tressel; he’s so smooth. I hope he’s a Republican.

I’m also way more interested in Boise State than Wake Forest.

Jim Tressel is a Republican, as was Woody Hayes.

"in the absence of a post-season playoff, the conferences races constitute the playoffs and filter out the contenders"
How many conference championships has Notre Dame won?

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