Michigan deserves rematchWritten by Justin R. Kalmes | | firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS — As the final seconds ticked off the game clock and 105,708 mostly scarlet-and-gray-clad fans filed into the streets after witnessing college football’s best game this season, one thing remained even as the sod at Ohio Stadium did not: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Michigan.
Yes, the Buckeyes clearly showed the entire nation Nov. 18 they are its best college football team. No argument there.
But what will send a shooting pain to the collective gut of the OSU faithful will be a rematch with “that team up north” Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., for the national championship.
Sorry, Brutus, those pesky Wolverines earned another shot at college football’s top prize after solidifying their status as one of the country’s two best teams following a 42-39 shootout loss to the top-rated Bucks in a hostile environment.
I know, I know. Michigan had its shot at king of the mountain and fell short. Purists will argue a different one-loss team, be it USC, Florida, Notre Dame or Arkansas, deserves the next crack at the mighty Buckeyes and their unblemished record. The Wolverines can’t stroll into the desert with their tails between their legs, without the Big Ten championship they supposedly needed to qualify for the Bowl Championship Series title game, can they?
More like, why can’t they?
Three minutes searching on Google will make a compelling case for Lloyd Carr and his men. Don’t dig too deep because the answer lies no further than Dec. 6, 2003.
An undefeated Oklahoma team steamrolled its way into Kansas City, Mo.’s, Arrowhead Stadium looking to brush aside Kansas State for the Big 12 championship and a spot in the BCS title game. Only the Wildcats thought otherwise, soundly defeating the Sooners 35-7 to earn the conference title.
Voters and the BCS’ magic computer didn’t mind though, and sent Oklahoma on to a 21-14 loss to a one-loss Louisiana State team in the Nokia Sugar Bowl.
No big thing then, right? Not exactly. The “other” one-loss team, Southern California, soundly beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl that year to split the national championship with the Tigers.
So the BCS proved itself to be a flawed system by letting Oklahoma, the second-place team in its conference, into the title game. One year ain’t so bad, is it?
Sure, if that controversy only presented itself once during the BCS’ eight-year history. Those same voters and computer proved their almightiness two years before the LSU, OU and USC debacle when they put Nebraska, a team that didn’t even qualify for its conference’s championship game, a team that didn’t just lose its final regular season game, but took a 62-36 drubbing from Colorado, in the Rose Bowl to play Miami for the national title.
How anyone could put Michigan behind a one-loss USC team that was bested by a terrible Oregon State squad or Florida, which lost to a two-loss Auburn team and struggled in victories over Vanderbilt and South Carolina, is beyond comprehension. And should Notre Dame beat the Trojans, voters best not dare sending an Irish squad that was manhandled by the Wolverines in South Bend to face OSU just to buck the system and a eliminate the possibility of a UM-OSU rematch.
The good news, even as the Wolverines remained second in the most recent BCS rankings following their loss, is that two of the four teams (USC, Florida, Arkansas and Notre Dame) with decent claims to the BCS title picture are guaranteed another loss, thus solidifying a deserving rematch in the desert.
Don’t believe me, Buck nuts? Even Wolverine slayer Jim Tressel couldn’t shoot down the idea of another game with Michigan.
“Michigan is a very deserving football team,” Tressel said at his postgame news conference when asked if he thought the Wolverines deserved another shot at the Buckeyes. “There can’t be many teams in the nation better than Michigan.”
We’ll find out Dec. 3 when the final BCS rankings are released. But for now, it’s No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Michigan. Kind of catchy, isn’t it?