Rematch? Are you kidding?
I watched yesterday’s OSU-Michigan game with interest, and was very happy when Ted Ginn came up with the onside kick that effectively sealed the victory for the Buckeyes. My sister and I had our ritual conversation demanding the Tressel be fired during the opening drive of the game – and again afterwards, more relieved, when the game was officially over.
I’m not one of the rabid Buckeye fans who hates Michigan – the fact that the Blue Jackets have blue and gold in their color scheme doesn’t bother me, and I still cheer for Knox Cameron on the Crew – alma mater be damned. All this week I was excited by the prospect of this game being #1 vs. #2, with both teams coming in undefeated. Michigan is a great program, so to have two great teams in this rivalry both coming in so high was really special.
I draw the line, however, with all this talk about the national title game being a rematch. I can’t justify having that happen unless Michigan is the only team in the country with only one loss at the end of the season. That isn’t going to happen, if only because Boise State only has one game to play.
Why? Several reasons:
1) Because in my mind, the question of superiority between Ohio State and Michigan for this season has already been settled. Let the title game be between two teams that haven’t already played this season. Florida, Notre Dame, Arkansas – hell, Wisconsin or West Virginia would be better to play than a team we’ve already played. If Texas hadn’t lost to Kansas State, I’d feel the same way about an OSU-Texas title game. If Michigan had beaten Ohio State, I’d feel the same way about a Michigan-Notre Dame decider.
Given the fact that we don’t have a playoff system, I don’t want to see a matchup that’s already happened this season.
2) If there’s an undefeated team in Division 1A football, they deserve to go to the national title game. Yes, I know Boise State is in the WAC – which isn’t as strong a conference. And yes, their non-conference schedule isn’t as strong as other teams. However, lots of teams play weaker non-conference opponents (Florida played friggin’ Western Carolina, for pete’s sake) – so they’re hardly alone in some regards. More importantly, Boise State can only beat the opponents that they actually do play – and if they beat every team they come up against and it’s still not good enough to give them the right to play for everything, let’s call a spade a spade and relegate the WAC to 1AA status. Same thing with any other conference whose undefeated champion wouldn’t end up playing for the title. The Big East was spared in that regard when Rutgers choked against Cincinnati – because I have a hard time believing they would have gone to Tempe if they’d won out (much to my chagrin).
Besides, football history fans will remember all the bluster coming out of the NFL before the first two Super Bowls. “Our worst would toy with their best” and all that. Except, when the game was actually played, the AFL teams proved to be quite feisty – and the notion of the NFL’s inherent supriority was shown to be unjustified egotism. Let Boise State be shown to be weaker on the field of play, not in a computer or a journalist’s mind.
A caveat: if Boise State does lose next weekend (to Nevada, if memory serves), I can’t see them being picked over any other one loss team for a BCS berth. Same thing with Louisville, Rutgers, or West Virginia – if you’re not undefeated, you get no special “go to the head of the class” exemption.
3) I haven’t had a chance to think this one out fully, but if there is going to be a rematch I’d much rather see it be played in Ann Arbor. Make it a two-leg, home-and-home series. Otherwise, what happens if Michigan beats Ohio State in another close game? Each team has beaten the other once – so are they co-champions? Is Michigan’s victory somehow more significant? Is Ohio State’s? Why?
At the end of the day, I’ll be rooting really hard for some team – any team – to pip Michigan for #2 in the BCS standings. Realistically, I know Boise State isn’t going to get the invite. However, Florida, Arkansas, USC and Notre Dame all have a legitimate chance of passing Michigan depending on how the next two weekends play out. For Jamie’s sake I hope it’s Notre Dame that emerges on top – but as long as its not Michigan I’ll be satisfied.
I do hope Michigan wins the Rose Bowl though.