The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Never too soon to look ahead

Posted by disappointmentzone on 5 October 2006

In Stewart Mandel’s mailbag this week he published a numer of questions concerning the OSU-Michigan game. Here are two interesting facts:

If Michigan ascends to #2 in the polls and OSU wins the game, then OSU would have a chance to become the first team in history to beat three #2 seeds in one season (the BCS opponent being the third #2 seed).

If Michigan is #2 and OSU #1 when they meet it will be the first time in the modern poll era in which the #1 and #2 teams would play each other in the final game of the season before the bowl game, so this would be “the first case where a 1-vs.-2 game truly ‘preempted’ the title game,” as Mr. Mandel puts it.
With this in mind, I think it’s worth considering what should happen with respect to the championship game if a) OSU and Michigan are both undefeated entering the big showdown, b) if the teams are ranked #1 and #2 in the BCS, and c) no other team finishes the season undefeated other than the winner of that game. That is, if every team other than the winner of the OSU-Michigan game finishes the season with at least one loss and Michigan and OSU are #1 and #2 when they play (the final week of the the Big Ten). In such a scenario there is a strong case to be made that the loser of the OSU-Michigan game deserves to play in the championship game. Unless one of the teams is completely blown out, you would be hard pressed to convince me that another one-loss team had a better resume than either OSU or Michigan and was therefore more deserving of playing in the championship. If a team’s only loss comes at the hands of either the best or second best team in the nation–and if no other team can make such a claim–and if until that loss said team is ranked in the top two, then how another team should be able to leapfrog said team in the polls is beyond me. Right now only Texas is in a reasonable position to complicate the BCS order, having lost to the #1 ranked team and still having a reasonable chance to go undefeated.

My point is that another milestone might be reached this season: the first time two teams played in the last game of the regular season and then went on to play each other in the championship game.

The only thing better than beating Michigan once in a season is beating Michigan twice in a season. And the only thing better than that is beating Michigan for a national championship. If there is any self-serving reason for OSU fans to root for Michigan to win every game until that fateful last weekend, this is certainly it.

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One Response to “Never too soon to look ahead”

  1. […] What’s more, this weekend brought this fact into stark relief for anyone in the country who was still unsure. The only reason Florida is still in the hunt for the BCS title game is because they have tall player on their team who can jump very high and block kicks, and they needed him to do this twice yesterday to beat a fairly pedestrian South Carolina team at home. Struggling at home to beat South Carolina on national television doesn’t bode well for Florida when both OSU and Michigan killed their respective opponents. The fact is that Ohio State and Michigan are about 7-10 points better than every other team in the nation and it’s just an unfortunate circumstance that they have to play each other in the last game of the season. One team will lose and late season loses always damage teams more than early season losses. As I have argued before, unless the OSU-Michigan game ends in a blowout (25+ point victory) the AP voters would be hard pressed to make a convincing argument for moving either USC, FLA, or ND ahead of the loser of the OSU-Michigan game, let alone another team. […]

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