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My Case for Michigan

Sunday, December 03, 2006

College Football is a unique sport in that the champion is not determined by a play-off system or by direct competition, but by a voting system instead. In recent years, there has been a half- hearted attempt to adjust this with what is known as the BCS (Bowl Championship Series). I am not a big fan of the BCS. I would have preferred to have kept the original conference tie-ins with the traditional bowls (e.g. Big Ten vs. Pac-10 in Rose Bowl) or to have went directly to a play-off system (although my idea for a playoff system is slightly different from the one that most people propose - something for an upcoming post).

This year, we find ourselves in an interesting position in regards to who will get to play in the Championship Game. The universally recognized number 1 ranked team is unbeaten Ohio State. The only other unbeaten team is Boise State - a school that plays in the very inferior WAC conference and who is generally discounted because they have not had to play very many good teams (in a relatively speaking sort of way).

Anyway, the current debate on this topic is whether Michigan or Florida should play Ohio State in Arizona for this year's College Football National Championship. My vote (if I had one) would be that Michigan has earned the right to have a second shot at Ohio State (sorry Gator and Buckeye fans).

Now, before you get too excited or concerned, I have to make three important notes and then give my reasoning.

3 Important Notes

1. I am not a Michigan fan. I am not a Michigan-hater like my OSU friends, but I am not a UM fan. I am an Arizona State University fan when it comes to college football and have a general Pac-10 bias from my years of growing up out west. My second favorite college football team is probably the University of Illinois, due to the fact that some of my earliest days were spent in Champaign, Illinois and much of my family still live in Illini territory - also, the first college football game I ever attended was a U of I football game.

2. I do not like the current system. I have what I believe to be a much better way, but don't have time to post that tonight.

3. I would not really be opposed to Boise State playing in this game, since they would still have to beat OSU to actually become the National Champions - unlike when BYU was wrongly awarded the National Championship in 1984 just because they were the last undefeated team standing - even though their bowl victory was only a 24-17 win over a 6-5 Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl.

My Case for Michigan

1. Michigan's loss is more forgivable.

Michigan has only lost one game this entire season. So has Florida. However, the loss that Michigan experienced is a more forgivable loss than the loss that Florida experienced. I view Michigan's loss as more forgivable for the following reasons.

a. Michigan's loss was to the better team (OSU is ranked number 1, Auburn is ranked number 11)
b. Michigan's loss was by fewer points (Michigan lost to Ohio State by the score of 42-39, while Florida lost to Auburn by the score of 27-17)
c. It is generally acknowledge that home field advantage is worth approximately 3 points, which means that Michigan's loss to Ohio State would have been a tie on a neutral field, while Florida's loss to Auburn would have still been a 7 point loss.

2. Michigan's wins are more impressive
Michigan beat every opponent but Ohio State by seven points or more, with the only seven point win a road win of 17- 10 over Penn State

Florida has five games that they won by 7 or less points. They only beat Tennessee and South Carolina by one point each (and SC was a home game), beat a pretty weak (4-8) Vanderbilt team by only 6 points and only beat Georgia and Florida State by seven points each (and again,
Georgia was a home game).

3. Michigan did better against the only common opponent.

The two teams only played one common opponent (the aforementioned Vanderbilt). When Florida played Vanderbilt, Florida beat Vanderbilt 25-19. When Michigan played Vanderbilt, Michigan beat Vanderbilt 27-7.

4. The strength of schedule is not that big of a difference.

The main argument that seems to be offered for Florida is that they had the nation's toughest schedule. While it is true that Florida is considered to have the toughest schedule, Michigan had the third toughest schedule according to the same criteria.

Also, I am not as impressed as some regarding Florida's strength of schedule when I consider the fact that two of their twelve wins were against University of Central Florida (4-8 as part of the mighty Conference USA) and Western Carolina (which won only two games playing against the likes of Wofford and The Citadel - and whose losses included a 42-7 loss against Furman and a 21-0 loss against Liberty).

Not that anybody in the sports world actually reads this, but I believe that these facts provide a compelling case that Michigan should get a chance at a re-match with Ohio State on a neutral field for the National Championship rather than Florida receiving that chance.

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

Well Said !!!

Andy Rupert said...

I agree but they didn't count my vote this time.