Friday, December 15, 2006

More Michigan propaganda from ESPN

NOTE: As I wrote this piece, my co-blogger Mergz posted a similar piece which appears below. Great minds do think alike I guess.

Hey, I'm really ready to move on to match-up between Florida and OSU for the "National Title" that we know, thanks to Mergz, doesn't really exist but the media doesn't want to let the "Michigan deserves a rematch" talk die down.

The latest piece of pro-Michigan propaganda comes to us from ESPN.com's Bruce Hooley. There's a lot to pick apart here so let's not waste any time.

First, the header at the top of the page. Not the headline but the one that appears at the top of the browser window: Banner Big Ten season could have been better

How is this a Banner big 10 season? It's nice that Ohio State is in the "National Championship" game and Michigan is in the Rose Bowl but it's not a surprise that the Big 10 is sending two teams to BCS bowls. If that's the measure then the SEC can also call this a banner year (which they should for other reasons like 9 of 12 teams going to bowls). Aside from OSU and Michigan the only other Big 10 team worth a damn is Wisconsin and they didn't beat anybody this year. By most reasonable measures it was a down year for the Big 10, top to bottom.

I'll concede Hooley's point that Notre Dame does not deserve a BCS berth ahead of Wisconsin but he put forth some faulty, worn-out arguments for Michigan. He sarcastically claims that Michigan committed unpardonable sins including:

  • Losing by three points on the consensus No. 1 team's home field, where the third set of sod this season afforded the same secure footing an ice rink offers someone in tap shoes.
First of all "the consensus #1" team is actually number 2 in one of the computer polls used by the BCS behind, you guessed it, Florida. Secondly, last time I checked OSU had to play on the same turf as Michigan in that game. I don't see how field conditions factor into whether or not Michigan is better than OSU.
  • Concluding its season by Nov. 18, thus giving Florida the chance to impress brain dead voters with a rout of the always-stuborn Division I-AA Western Carolina Kick-Me-Hards, and an Arkansas club in the SEC championship game that can't pass a lick.
Well here's the thing, the computers calculate strength of schedule each week based on the games played to date. Games in the future don't factor into the equation. Therefore a team with games remaining against good opponents can close a gap on a team that has finished its games. This happens in other sports like pro baseball and basketball where "games in hand" can make the difference between earning a playoff spot or not. After Western Carolina Florida played a down but still respected FSU team and Arkansas in the SEC Championship game.

Because Michigan was at a certain spot on the polls when they concluded their season doesn't mean that they get the privilege of being frozen in that spot while other teams are still playing meaningful games. For the record the Western Carolina game did hurt the Gators strength of schedule. If the Gators had simply played 11 games excluding Western Carolina (before the SEC championship game) instead of the 12 including WCU, the computers would almost certainly have unanimously installed Florida at number 2 or better.

Also, whether Arkansas can pass or not is irrelevant. They are a 10-game winner and if close losses to good teams matter (as Michigan fans assert) then what to make of Arkansas close loss to the BCS' #4 team, LSU?
  • Refusing to engage in the same posturing of Florida coach Urban Meyer, who whined and complained about everyone from university presidents to poll voters when a Michigan-Ohio State rematch looked like a certain fallback if USC fell to UCLA.
This is the biggest canard of all. Mr. Media Unfriendly, Lloyd Carr all of a sudden was leading off Sports Center with a telephone interview saying "I hope the voters don't forget Michigan." Call it a "soft-sell" if you like but there was a sales pitch going on. How can one expect to have a political process, basically an election, without campaigning. Anybody out there that says that they wouldn't have done the same thing Meyer did in defending his team's record and lobbying for the chance to play in this game is a Zooking liar.
  • Does anyone see the irony of Meyer successfully lobbying about the unfairness of an OSU-Michigan rematch, when the only national championship trophy in his program's history came courtesy of a rematch in 1996 after a regular-season loss to Florida State?
I changed my mind, just like the voters, THIS is the biggest canard of all. The system was completely different in 1996. The #1 Gators lost to the #2 Noles in the regular season. The Gators then rebounded and won the SEC championship game, earning them an AUTOMATIC bid to the Sugar Bowl (not the National Championship game). Top-ranked FSU was selected as the at-large team to face the #3 Gators. The 2nd ranked team was unbeaten ASU which was to face Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Both ASU and FSU had better opportunities to be champions that year than Florida. Both ASU and FSU lost their bowl games. The situation is hardly analagous. For one thing Florida won its way into a position to play in a game that turned out to be for the "National Championship" by winning a game before its rematch with FSU. Michigan fans want to ride a one game losing streak into a game that is officially for the "National Championship". That happened once before with Oklahoma, which lost the Big 12 title game and then got destroyed by USC in the game for all the marbles. Is that the precedent we should be following?

H/T: haulnassgator

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You guys do a great job. Thanks for all the analysis.

GPace said...

I understand most of the anti-UF comments. Herbstreit, through all of his insanity, was coherent enough to say that the system puts us in the position of having to criticize and tear down great seasons.

However, there are more than enough people (Herbstreit included) that have taken it to far into slander territory.

Radog99 said...

Wow...

This blog entry is ridiculous. Everything the ESPN columnist wrote is true. Everything.

Henry Gomez said...

Ok dude, nice succinct way to say "I'm not going to listen to reason."

Whatever.

JJ Gator said...

Hey, let's throw Kirk Herbstreit, Tom Brady and all the assorted Meatchicken crybabies and Gator-haters at ESPN some crying towels. The way they carry on they're acting like a bunch of sourpuss, jealous little girls!