Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pure ecstasy

It wasn't quite the classic we were all hoping for, and the back seven was soft all day, but when the dust settled all was right in Columbus as the top ranked Buckeyes defeated the #2 Wolverines by a most unexpected of final scores, 42-39.

Often times it is difficult to judge what defines a good player from a great one. One of the hardest decisions to make as a fanbase as a whole is to put a player into the same category as the Griffins, Georges, Spielmans, and Kerns. This, however, is no such time. Never before in the 116 year history of Buckeye football has there been a more prolific passer, nor has there been a better leader from under center than the one we are blessed to have today in Troy Smith. Hoying and Germaine had the stats, Kern and Krenzel had the moxie, but none of them put it all together the way Troy Smith has in his 26 starts as quarterback. With a career passing efficiency of 159.72, Smith is the Big Ten's all time most efficient quarterback of all time. In big games, Smith has been a nearly flawless player, and while he is only the second quarterback in school history to defeat Michigan three consecutive times, he's the only one to do it as the focal point of the offense all three times. Even if Brady Quinn goes 50-50 for 600 yards and seven touchdowns against USC next week, Smith will walk away from this season as Ohio State's seventh winner of the Heisman trophy. With his performance against Michigan, Troy Smith ended the debate on the greatest quarterback in OSU history, and very well may have re-opened the debate as to who is the greatest football player in school history. He's been that good.

The latest BCS rankings have just been released, and to the surprise of some, Michigan retains their #2 ranking. I've expressed my opinion on a rematch in the past, but haven't gotten into much detail about it before. The thought of a rematch is absolutely absurd, and the very possibility that it may actually occur is mind-boggling. Most people like myself had convinced themselves that yesterday's duel was in fact the national championship game, and that the two best teams in the nation were going at it. Michigan had their opportunity, and they didn't make the most out of it. Ohio State had three turnovers, Michigan was the beneficiary of many non-calls by the refs (see Mike Hart's first touchdown), as well as some questionable calls that were made (Pass Interference on Jamario that brought Michigan back. It may have been piss poor coverage, but there was no penalty there). Michigan had plenty of chances to win this game, and they didn't make the most out of it. For the people that want to see this game on a neutral field, there's no doubt in my mind that Ohio State will still have a home-field advantage. Regardless of opponent, I expect the National Championship crowd to be very similar to the OSU-Miami one which was 80% scarlet. Plus, in Ohio State's two other prime time games this season, they were on the road both times and put on two of their finest performances of the season. Although Michigan probably is still the #2 team in the nation, and faired better than any other team most likely would in the Shoe, there still isn't any proof that USC or the SEC champ wouldn't do any worse. I hate to give the computers the benefit of the doubt here, but the Sagarin conference rankings have had the Pac-10 and SEC at the top of the nation just about all season long, and one of them definitely deserves one shot at Ohio State before Michigan deserves two.

If a rematch does actually happen, and Michigan does end up beating Ohio State, what justice does this do to either school, or to the BCS? It would be like playing a two game World Series, and naming the winner of the second game of the series the champion. It would be completely unfair to Ohio State to ask them to defeat Michigan once, and then ask them to do it a second time, completely forgetting about the initial game. All this is going to do is create yet another BCS controversy, and no one wants another one of those, do we? The smart thing for the voters out there to do is to put either USC or the SEC Champ as their number two team, and leave Michigan at #4. Right now, disaster is inevitable for the BCS, but the controversy between USC or the SEC Champ at #2 would be a lot less severe than the debate over Ohio State or Michigan
at #1.

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