Michigan Week Thoughts

Some thoughts on The Game, the BCS and related issues...

The BCS

It seems as though the national media is working itself into a royal tantrum. They cannot stand the idea that their flavor of the month, USC, might get bumped from the title game in favor of Ohio State. They are furious that some computer could determine that USC has played a weak sister schedule and relegate them to the Rose Bowl.

Serious question -- if (a big if) OSU goes into the Big House and defeats a top 5 ranked Michigan team that the media believes is "playing some of the best football in the country right now"? How will they justify denying Ohio State a shot at the national title game when they have met and defeated:

#10 Michigan (probably where UM would fall to)

#15 Purdue (assuming Purdue wins this weekend)

#24 Iowa (assuming Iowa loses to Purdue)

#22 Bowling Green (in the AP Poll)

Meanwhile, USC, their ‘flavor of the month' – has only played one team currently ranked in the top 25. That team was Washington State. The Cougars probably will not lose simply because Washington is a M.A.S.H. unit.

Or how will the media justify their choices in light of the losses suffered by the two teams? Ohio State's lone loss in two full seasons will have been at night, on the road, in a swirling rainstorm, to a Wisconsin team that is 7-4 and might end up ranked before everything is said and done. Meanwhile, USC lost two games last year and another this year. Their loss this year came against Cal who is 6-6 and needs to beat Stanford on the road this weekend to even be bowl eligible.

Hypocrite

This word actually comes from the Greek word, ‘upokriths (hypocrites). It means, "stage or play actor, one who plays a part," and is simply a transliteration from Greek to English.

I find it more than a little interesting that both the original, ancient meaning and the modern meanings are appropriate to describe the current situation with the national media – especially some of those on the television and airwaves.

Every year, all season long, one can turn on the radio or television and hear/see media types talking smack about rewarding teams for tougher schedules and ‘punishing' teams that play the Sisters of the Poor. Now, when that chance arrives, they are upset because the team they think looks prettier (with a weaker schedule) is suffering from their lack of quality opponents.

Further, given the ever-sliding differential between ‘Sports reporting' and ‘Entertainment', I think it more than a little possible that behind the real feelings of outrage, many of these individuals are acting. They play a part. They pick a side to take before the cameras go live and then run with it. Right now their part is to be the outraged and shocked sports analyst. If OSU wins this week, then their part will change to ‘shocked and almost believing sports casters.' If USC or LSU stumble, their part will change to, ‘supportive of the national title game since the champions deserve a shot to defend their title."

Class… Can you say H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E?

Playing in the Big House

This is no small mountain for Ohio State to climb this weekend. Here are three quick hitting stats for consideration:

- Michigan has not lost a home game against a top 10 opponent since falling to Penn State October 15, 1994.

- Since 1995, Michigan is 5-0 at home against teams in the top 10.

- Lloyd Carr is 13-3 against teams in the AP top 10 for his career.

Tressel against his Rivals

On the flip side of the coin, Ohio State fans have good reason to hope that Jim Tressel can manage his team to the upset victory.

Tressel has seen his fair share of big games as a coach. While at Youngstown State, the Penguins had two main rivals – Akron and Kent State.

 

Year

Akron's record

YSU record

Where played

Winner

Final score

1986

7-4

2-9

@YSU

YSU

40-39

1987

4-7

8-4

@ Akron

YSU

10-6

1988

5-6

4-7

@YSU

Akron

33-7

1989

6-4-1

9-4

@YSU

YSU

20-17

1990

3-7-1

11-1

@Akron

YSU

28-23

1991*

5-6

12-3

@Akron

Akron

38-24

1992

7-3-1

11-3-1

@Akron

TIE

10-10

1993*

5-6

13-2

@Akron

YSU

19-0

1994*

1-10

14-0-1

@YSU

YSU

41-7

1995

2-9

3-8

@Akron

YSU

24-10

*Asterisks depict national title years for Tressel coached teams.

When Akron no longer wished to play Youngstown State because the I-AA Penguins were defeating the I-A Zips despite having fewer scholarships, the biggest game became the one against Division I-A Kent State.

Year

Kent State's record

YSU's record

Where played

Winner

Score

1994*

2-9

14-0-1

@YSU

YSU

28-14

1995

1-9

3-8

@Kent

Kent

17-14

1996

2-9

8-3

@Kent

Kent

28-12

1997*

3-8

13-2

@YSU

YSU

44-23

1998

0-11

6-5

@Kent

YSU

24-10

After moving from Youngstown State to Ohio State, Tressel graduated to the greatest rivalry in the history of College Football.

Year

Michigan's record

OSU's record

Where played

Winner

Score

2001

8-4

7-5

@UM

OSU

26-20

2002*

10-3

14-0

@OSU

OSU

14-9

In sum, Tressel coached teams were 7-2-1 against Akron in their rivalry game until the Zips canceled it. Then, once Kent State was their biggest rival, Tressel went 2-1. At Ohio State, Tressel is 2-0 against Michigan, winning the national title in 2002. That is a combined record of 11-3-1 in his rivalry game.

Not too shabby.

Michigan Needs Ohio Boys…

Where would Michigan football be without young men from Ohio?

Their only national title in over 55 years came on the back of a young man from Ohio, and Ohio boys have won their last two Heisman Trophies.

This year, Michigan has 13 players from the state of Ohio on their roster. Mark Bihl and Andy Christopfel are backup offensive linemen. Grant Bowman and Pat Massey are starting defensive linemen. Andy Mignery, a quarterback out of Hamilton, Ohio, is now their starting tight end. All three of their starting linebackers are from Ohio - Carl Diggs, Pierre Woods, and Lawrence Reid. Prescott Burgess, who claimed he picked the Wolverines over the Buckeyes partly because they promised him he could play safety while Ohio State coaches told him he would have to play linebacker, is now a backup linebacker for the Wolverines along with Shawn Crable. Willis Barringer (a backup safety), Jim Fisher (a backup tight end), and Troy Neinberg (a placekicker) round out the list.


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