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A Michigan-Ohio State rematch? It's possible

Just wanted to chime in on an interesting debate I heard on the Sports Inferno radio show yesterday on my way down to Comerica Park: If Michigan and Ohio State are the only unbeatens heading into their Nov. 18 game, do they deserve to meet again for the national championship?

The short answer is, not necessarily. I'm of the opinion right now that Ohio State and Michigan are the two best teams in the nation, in that order. That's how I have them in my rankings, and I can't see that changing, barring an upset, before Week 12.

But I don't think the gap between those two and everyone else is so wide that it precludes another team from jumping into the title mix. The SEC has three pretty good one-loss teams in Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. If any of those teams wins out (including the SEC championship game), it'd be hard to keep them of out of the BCS picture. Compare the resumes side-by-side. Tennessee has a win over Cal, Florida a win over Tennessee, and Auburn beat both Florida and LSU. If the Wolverines lose at Ohio State, their only top-15 win will be at Notre Dame. If OSU loses at home, they'll have a victory at Texas to fall back on. You split hairs when you pick who's best between Texas, Notre Dame and Cal, but the overall strength of the SEC plus a big non-conference win by either Tennessee or Florida (the Gators still go to Florida State at the end of the year) would be enough to win me over.

I'd give the Michigan-Ohio State loser the nod over a one-loss USC team, but you could make the same schedule argument for the Trojans that you can for the SEC teams. USC has two good non-conference wins � at Arkansas and home against Nebraska � and still plays Notre Dame plus Cal and Oregon in the Pac-10. That's a tougher schedule than either Michigan or Ohio State, whose computer number will inch down now that they play a run of bad Big Ten teams.

Texas won't have enough quality wins to play for the title, and neither will West Virginia or Louisville, but I don't believe either of those teams can be ignored if they go undefeated. West Virginia has a phenomenal offense, but not much of a passing game and an untested defense. Louisville keeps winning despite injuries to its top quarterback and running back. They play Nov. 2 in Kentucky, and all eyes will be tuned in to see just how good they are.

If I had to make a best-guess right now what the championship game will be, I'd say Ohio State plays Florida for the title, with the Buckeyes beating Michigan in Columbus and the Gators beating Auburn in their SEC championship game rematch. Louisville knocks off West Virginia, then loses to Rutgers or Pitt, and USC stumbles somewhere along the way. There'll be a lot of unhappy people in Ann Arbor (and elsewhere) that will join me in once again calling for a playoff system to determine a true national champion.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the Wolverines lose at Ohio State, their only top-15 win will be at Notre Dame"


11:34 AM 

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