SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
11/20/2006 12:36:00 PM
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Brian Brohm and Louisville are thinking BCS again thanks to Rutgers' loss.
With one overwhelming storyline dominating college football over the weekend, a lot of smaller but still significant developments got completely overshadowed. I hit on some of them in Five Things We Learned, but here are a few others:
∙ Louisville went from a likely trip to the Sun Bowl to sitting in the driver's seat for the Big East's automatic BCS berth. Had the Cardinals, West Virginia and Rutgers all finished with one loss and having gone 1-1 against each other, the Mountaineers likely would have won the tiebreaker based on highest ranking, and the Cinderella Scarlet Knights would have been the more attractive choice for either an at-large berth or for the Gator Bowl, which hosted Louisville last year and also has the option of taking a Big 12 team.
But Cincinnati's upset over Rutgers changes that. Now, if West Virginia hands Rutgers its second conference loss and Louisville wins out, there's a two-way tie between the Mountaineers and Cardinals, which Louisville would win head-to-head. I've got to think a one-loss, top-five West Virginia team would receive a BCS at-large berth. A 10-2 Rutgers team, on the other hand, would likely fall to El Paso.
∙ Remember when Oregon was a top-15 team and Arizona was a complete afterthought? On Saturday, the torrid Wildcats went into Autzen Stadium and routed the Ducks 37-10. It's been a huge November for Mike Stoops' team, which, if it beats rival Arizona State this weekend, will finish the season on a four-game winning streak and third or fourth place in the Pac-10 at 5-4.
∙ In one of the all-time backfires, Missouri gave coach Gary Pinkel a three-year extension on Friday. The next day, the Tigers lost 21-16 to Iowa State, which entered the game 0-7 in the Big 12. Suffice to say, the buzz from Missouri's 6-0 start is officially shot. The Tigers have lost four of their last five and need to beat rival Kansas this week to avoid being sent to the back of the Big 12's bowl pecking order.
∙ Garrett Wolfe returned from his recent hibernation to run for 203 yards and three touchdowns in Northern Illinois' 31-10 upset of Central Michigan, which had yet to lose a MAC game. It was a big win for the Huskies, which now have a chance to earn the MAC's third bowl berth. The other two will likely go to Central and Frank Solich's Ohio Bobcats, which wrapped up their first-ever division title last Thursday.
∙ Rice beat East Carolina and SMU knocked off Tulsa. Why is that significant? Because both teams are now bowl-eligible, and whichever wins their matchup Saturday will be assured a berth. It would be the Owls' first since 1961, the Mustangs' first since receiving the NCAA death penalty in 1987.
∙ Finally, Bo Schembechler's passing was not the only sad news in college football last Friday. Marcus Cassell, 23, a starting cornerback for UCLA in 2004 and '05 (you may remember him as the guy Reggie Bush hurdled on one of his touchdown runs in last year's SC-UCLA game), died from injuries sustained in a car accident. Our condolences to Cassell's family as well as his former coaches and teammates in Westwood.
"Why a Rematch is Not Right" I have no doubt that OSU and UM are the two best teams in college football but allowing a rematch would not be good. A rematch would mean that in order to win the national title OSU has to win 2 games against UM while UM would only have had to win one game against OSU if the roles were reversed, let me explain. As things are now if USC beats ND then they will play OSU, but if ND wins then they can't pass UM and thus OSU will have to beat UM again. However, if UM had barely beat OSU then there would probably be no chance for a rematch. Either USC would have beat ND and would then move into the #2 spot or ND would beat USC and would move into the #2 spot. ND cannot move ahead of UM to the #2 spot but they could move ahead of OSU for 2 reasons: first, their only loss would be to the #1 team and second OSU would have lost at home which would have knocked them down more than UM was. So in the end UM only had to beat OSU once to win the national title but OSU may have to beat UM twice to win it. By the way Stewart is very wrong about the USC-ND game. ND is going to win, arkansas will beat UF (after losing to LSU) and we will have a big mess in the BCS.
I think a re-match is a MUST. Michigan and Ohio state are by FAR the two best teams in the country and that was one of the most entertaining games I have watched in quite some time. Its so rare that a game of that magnitude actually lives up to the hype!! Why should Michigan be punished for being in the same conference as OSU?? they definitely shouldnt and hopefully when ND beats USC it will silence everyone and we'll have our rematch.
No rematch, please! This game has been decided. Where would the gain be to the BCS in a rematch. OSU wins and everyone says 'of course, they beat them in the regular season-they're the better team.' UM wins and the question begs to be asked of whether they are really the better team-they split the games. In addition, these teams who may very well be 1-2 played in the same conference against some of the same foes, so we don't know as well how they stack up outside. Let's find out, otherwise who knows? What we do know is that OSU beat UM--done. Nothing more needs to be decided between them, so lets see what another 1-loss team can do against them. Please, I implore you, don't erode the BCS any more than it already is by allowing a rematch for no other reason than it would be another good game-it already was!!
I hear everyone complain about the playoffs in college football. On any given weekend annoucers say that the season is the playoff. If you lose during the regular season your chances of winning a championship go down greatly. We have a very odd situation were there is 1 BCS Conf team that is undefeated, Ohio State. The only other undeafted team in the country is Boise State. So the team that should play Ohio State?????? Winner of Arkansas-Florida, should they both win this weekend? Arkansas lost to USC, so they move above USC, for the same reason Notre Dame won't move above Michigan. Florida? Possible. Winner of USC-Notre Dame? ND previously mentioned, no. USC, Possible. I do not believe that Michigan should get another shot at OSU, They lost their game, just like Texas did earlier in the season. If Michigan goes, why not Louisville? West Virginia? Notre Dame? Florida? USC? Arkansas? or ANY other 1-loss team in America. The only team that makes the most sense. BOISE STATE. Yes I said Boise State. Simple, they haven't lost!!! Yet!!!
"On Any Given Saturday Night..." While I firmly believe USC is the current media darling of college football, Pete Carroll has to be recognized as one of the best coaches ever. With a much weaker team this year, he continues to find a way to win and keep USC in contention for a National Championship. If he were coaching at LSU this year, the Tigers would be 11-0 today and would be a lock to face OSU in the big dance. I still wished I had been able to see the 2003 Nick Saban coached Tigers play USC. That would have been the game of the Millenium.
Rematch? No I don't think so. Ask yourself this question and then answer honestly:
If the OSU-UM game had been played error-free, would the score have been as close at it was?
The impression I got from watching the game was that while Michigan could play on the same field with OSU, it wasn't as close as the score indicated. Michigan benefited from several simple execution errors (e.g. bad snaps) and OSU benefited from just one (the out-of bounds personal foul on Troy Smith). Error-free, I believe OSU would have won by another 7-14 points.
If the differential is 10-17 points, where does the case for a rematch go? Down the toilet.
And if you still see it as close, ask yourself this: In a playoff system would you see a rematch? No. OSU would move on to its next opponent, and that is what should happen here.
I hate that everyone thinks USC is such a great team this year. Ya they are a one loss team but look at home many close call games there were during the regular season (3). And look who they lost too, Oregon State? I think the National Title game should be played between the best 2 teams in college football and that is clearly OSU & UM!!! If OSU is really the best team and has already beaten Michigan then they should be able to do it again. If not then Michigan would have covered their mistakes and showed OSU that they werent the best team. Dont get me wrong OSU is a great team but that dosent mean we should take anything away from UM for their one loss may I remind you that came from the #1 team, not some unranked team. The only other possibility I think should be Florida and thats it! I think Brady Quinn whos hot right now will hand USC their 2 loss anyone so theres no hope for USC this year anyways. Well those are just some of my thoughts for now.
By saying that LSU would be 11-0 with Pete Carroll at the helm, I suppose that implies that LSU has the better talent. While I will agree that Carroll is one of the best coaches in college along with Jim Tressel, I disagree with the insinuation that LSU has more talent than USC. I readily admit that transitive arguments (team a beat team b who beat team c...) usually don't add up, but USC blew Arkansas out of the water 50-14-- granted McFadden wasn't fully healthy and the QB was out, but what about the Hog's defense-- and the Hogs are only trampling their way through the SEC, having soundly beaten the same Auburn team that LSU struggled with. Besides, it's not like Carroll is exactly working with Duke's talent. The Trojan's roster reads like a Who's Who of high school football All-Americans, as the Trojans have had a top 3 recruiting class for the last 4 years.
What is a number 2 team, anyway? We are all forgetting something here: Michigan was supposed to lose to Ohio St! They played on the road against the best team in the nation, so a three point loss in a thriller is what was supposed to happen! Why is everyone trying to punish a Michigan team that did everything we expected them to do, and more? They did everything possible, except win the game. What more can you ask of the number two team in the nation? In tennis, if number one Federer beats number two Nadal in a close match with the crowd on his side, do we drop Nadal to number three and declare Andy Roddick the most qualified man to knock off Federer? No! We know that Nadal played a great match and is still the number 2 player in tennis. I don't care what USC does. They are not as qualified to play in the title game as Michigan. It is absolutely not their fault they have to play in the same conference as the best team in the nation. They did nothing wrong, and Michigan deserves to play in the national title game as the number two team in the nation. Oh, and we need a playoff.