Saturday, November 18, 2006

Title Game

Some people who think they know me well would be surprised that I am an avid sports fan. I love sports for their athleticism, and I love good sportsmanship. I appreciate a wide variety of sports and I follow a number of sports, each for different reasons. I follow baseball because of the complexity of the sport - a 162 game season makes it all the more interesting. I follow golf because I know how difficult it is to make the shots that the professionals hit all the time - I'm just happy on any hole which I shoot in par. I follow college football partly because, with 119 Division 1-A teams, there's a lot to look at.

For those who follow college football, the story of tonight is that Ohio State beat Michigan to finish their season unbeaten. Being unbeaten is not the amazing thing - it is possible the Boise State and Rutgers will also finish unbeaten. The amazing thing is that this is the second time this year that Ohio State has beaten the number 2 team in the country. Michigan was ranked second to Ohio State going into the game, and Texas was ranked second to Ohio State when Ohio State went in and trounced them back in September. Now Ohio State will have to face the second ranked team in the nation for the title game on January 8th. I doubt that any team has ever beaten the second ranked team three times in a season, but right now there is no reason to think that Ohio State will not beat whoever they end up playing.

That brings me to my point in posting. Michigan may be that team. Mike Lopresti, a sports columnist for USA Today, says that a rematch would diminish the value of tonights game and that it would be unfair to Ohio State. I have to agree. I don't think any team could rightly be asked to defeat Michigan twice this year - except maybe the Indianapolis Colts (unbeaten in the NFL so far). On the other hand, it may be that no other team has a better claim to the number 2 spot than Michigan - their only defeat was on the road at Ohio State by 3 points.

I have concluded that if the title game does end up being a rematch and Michigan wins then we should have co-national champions - unless Michigan wins by more than 10 points. Whoever wins the title game will be voted #1 by the USA Today/Coaches poll (they are contractually obligated to vote that team #1) but if Ohio State loses a close game to Michigan the Associated Press poll should vote Ohio State #1 to create a split title since they will have split their games.

Just my 2 cents.

UPDATE 11/19: After considering my proposal, I have decided that it would not be fair to send Michigan to the title game. Under the conditions I have proposed they would have no chance for an undisputed title. If all they can get is a split-title or no title, the game is not a fare shake for them. I call that another reason to avoid a rematch. Michigan is too good to deserve such a poor fate. Send them to the Rose Bowl and let the voters choose whether to give them a share of the title if they win and Ohio State loses.

4 comments:

Peonicus said...

And yet...AND YET, you don't follow soccer. If you want an interesting sport with all the politics Washington could ever dream of, you have to look at European soccer. American soccer has a different (i.e. less interesting) format. Domestic league titles are won not on a title game, but on the whole record of a 40 game season. It's pretty intense. A few years ago when Manchester United won a treble (i.e. three championships (Champions League Cup, the FA Cup, and the Premiership title)), it went down to the last game of the season to know who would win the Premiership title. It' gets even more interesting when you consider the different formats in which to play a tournament, where in some tourney's you give more weight to goals scored away from home. You'll just have to look is all I'm saying

David said...

I didn't say that I don't follow soccer. It wasn't the point of my post, nor is it as popular as the sports I mentioned. There are a whole list of sports that I follow which I did not list in this post.

I might have to look into the politics of European soccer championships. I will admit that I do not have as deep an understanding of soccer as I have of many other sports.

I would like to know what you think the best way is to follow soccer without a TV and with the amount of news coverage it receives in the states.

Peonicus said...

www.soccernet.com
Now, you'll have a bit of a learning curve to go through, you may decide to follow one league or several, England is probably the most popular, but Spain and Italy run a close second and third. Germany has dropped out of the most popular leagues, but they're still fun to follow. After you choose a league, it you want to be a nut, you can choose a team, it always makes the league more interesting. You can also follow US soccer, but I admit, there is not enough published on the subject. It's kind of irritating that way. One thing that is fun is reading articles written by English writers, it will make you think of CS Lewis.

David said...

Thank you for the info. I'll give it a try. You may yet make me into a soccer nut.