Answering your questions
Got a letter from John Ball of Farmington Hills the other day asking me to expand on my reason for ranking USC over Michigan in my latest AP poll. No problem, John. Here goes:
First, let me say USC, Michigan and Florida are inches apart and really, I wouldn't argue with whoever played Ohio State in the title game. I know Florida has been the least impressive of the three, but they remind me of the Ohio State team that won the championship a few years ago. Great defense, a solid enough QB (or in this case two) to win most games, some pretty good skill talent and a schedule with zero breaks. That said, in the eyeball test they come in third.
So between Michigan and USC, I give the nod to USC because I think the Trojans have done more against a better schedule. They beat Big 12 North champ Nebraska, SEC West champ Arkansas and Notre Dame in the non-conference; Michigan beat Notre Dame, Little Debbie and Hostess. USC beat a Cal team I personally think is better than Wisconsin inside its conference, and neither the Big Ten nor Pac 10 has much else to speak of this year.
I know Michigan's loss - by three on the road at Ohio State - is a "better" loss than USC's to Oregon State, but as great as the Michigan-OSU game was, I don't think it was a three-point game. Like I said, you can slice it any way you want. When I hand out my final vote Sunday, barring a USC upset to UCLA, I'll be voting the Trojans No. 2, Michigan No. 3, and dreaming of a playoff so these discussions can be settled on the field.