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The Only Thing Better Than Beating Michigan
The Only Thing Better Than Beating Michigan
Would be beating Michigan twice. And it could very well happen this year. The two teams stand alone at the top of the polls, as well as the top of the BCS rankings. A close game on November 18th would likely result in the two teams still holding the two spots in the human polls, potentially setting up a rematch between the heated rivals in the BCS title game in Glendale, AZ.
There's only one thing that would be better than beating Michigan on November 18th. And that would be beating them twice in the same season, and for the national championship in the rematch.
Not all Buckeye fans will agree with me on this. The Big Ten doesn't do Championship games, and they don't do in-season rematches in bowl games. Many Ohio State fans feel that a potential rematch would taint the sanctity of The Game on November 18th, which will be the first time in history that Ohio State and Michigan will meet as the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country.
And I can see that. Part of what makes The Game such a cherished event to those of us that bleed scarlet and gray is the finality and tension. 365 days of build up. 365 days of bragging rights for the winners. All of which makes the game itself almost agonizing in the anxiety it creates. But in a beautiful way.
This all said, I'd personally love to see it happen this year, and there's a decent shot that it will. Ultimately, it will likely come down to who is ranked #2 in the human polls, essentially setting up a situation where the sportswriters and coaches will be handpicking the Buckeyes title game foe if they defeat the Wolverines in The Game. If Michigan gives Ohio State a game, something no other team has been able to do this season, will the pollsters really drop them below a potentially unbeaten West Virginia or Louisville team? And lets not forget - the winner of this Thursdays West V-Louisville game will still have to beat Rutgers AND Pitt to run the table. Both the Mountaineers and Cardinals have each of those schools on their late season schedule.
The SEC still has four horses in the race, with the one loss Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators, and Tennessee Volunteers presently occupying the 6-8 spots in the two human polls. And Arkansas still improbably unbeaten in SEC play, and at #12 in the country. The most likely scenario sees Arkansas falter against a tough schedule down the stretch, and Florida advancing to play Auburn in the SEC title game thanks to their win over Tennessee earlier in the season, and easier schedule than the Volunteers the rest of the way. A one loss Auburn or Florida, as the winner of the SEC Championship, is likely the most viable title game candidate next to a one loss Michigan team.
One other team still in the mix is the #4 ranked Texas Longhorns. However, in the event that the Wolverines give Ohio State any kind of game at all, could the pollsters possibly drop a one loss Michigan team below a one losee Texas team that got run out of their own building by the Buckeyes? I don't think so. The same theory would apply if Notre Dame were to beat USC in their season ending game, running the table and finishing 11-1. The voters would not be able to justify dropping Michigan below the Irish, seeing as how the Wolverines went into South Bend and depantsed them by a 47-21 count.
There's still alot of different scenarios that can play out. But the most likely one sees Ohio State beating Michigan in The Game, and Michigan being a very viable candidate to play the Buckeyes in a title game rematch.
Oct 30, 2006 7:00 PM
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