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17 Nov 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Football Armageddon

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

By now, everyone knows the news that Bo Schembechler has passed away. RIP, Bo. Hope there's a nice recliner up there for you to watch Saturday's spectacle. You will be missed by everyone connected with the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

Russell: Here we are Vin. Football Armageddon is officially upon us. Have you finalized your plans for watching the game? Me, I'm going to remain at the home compound, avoiding all sports bars and viewing parties. I'm quite sure I won't be in any condition to be social. I may need to drink heavily, however.

Vinny: And you wonder why your son asked if you were drunk when you called home from State College last month? Not sure what my game plan is at this point. I'm choosing between a house party up in Marin County, a friend's place in Berkeley, the Michigan bar (Bayside) on Union Street, the Ohio State bar (Zeke's) on Third, or home with a license to throw glasses and cutlery at will. In a related story, remind me to do the dishes.

Russell: Remember when this was truly "Rivalry Week?" You could go up and down the dial and find a rivalry game on nearly every channel that shows college football. Now? Not so much, not unless you think Florida-Western Carolina and Wisconsin-Buffalo constitute rivalry games. Thanks, NCAA, for that 12-game schedule. It has really improved things.

Vinny: At least they overcompensated with the clock running during a change of possession, even at the end of both halves. And good ol' Rule 3-2-5-e, a.k.a. "The Bielema Principle" (or lack thereof if you're in the Penn State camp), mandating that the clock runs as soon as the ball is kicked on kickoffs.

Russell: Well, we do have the Iron Bowl and the Apple Cup on the docket this week in addition to the Biggest Game in the History of Western Civilization. In tOSU band fashion (that's the home of TBDBITL to you outsiders), perhaps we should just refer to it as TBGITHOWC. Rolls right off the tongue.

Vinny: Like Laurinaitis. Or Opong-Owusu.

#19 Maryland (+7) at #20 Boston College, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: In a year of surprising teams and strange developments (Rutgers, anyone?), no conference has been wackier than the ACC. And since I can't make my Houston Nutt turning down Nebraska joke anymore, I feel compelled to point out that Boston College is the last of the Big East defectors that has a chance to contend in the ACC. Meanwhile, the poor, debilitated Big East has three teams in the thick of the national-title hunt.

Vinny: Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach connected for two long touchdown strikes to Darrius Heyward-Bey as the Terps held on to beat Miami 14-13 last week. Hollenbach's play is the big difference this year as Maryland is 8-2 and bowl eligible after missing the last couple of postseasons.

Russell: Here's the scenario for Boston College to reach the ACC championship game out of the Atlantic Division. The Eagles must beat Maryland and Miami next week, and hope Wake Forest loses twice. If Maryland wins this game and Wake Forest beats Virginia Tech Saturday, those two will face off next week for the right to play Coastal champ Georgia Tech in Jacksonville. Got all that?

Vinny: Not really. Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan is having a solid year (62 percent completions for 2,279 passing yards) and must be looking forward to playing against Maryland's mediocre pass defense.

Russell: Boston College is tough at home, where they've won 10 straight. But this line is way too high against a team that does nothing but play close games. Maryland is on a five-game winning streak by a combined 13 points. That's good enough for me to take the Terps and the points. Fear the turtle!

Vinny: On paper, this looks like a mismatch for the Eagles. But like you, Russ, I like the run the Terps are on right now. Give me Maryland as well.

East Carolina (-2.5) at Rice, 3 p.m. ET

Russell: You might be wondering why we're doing ECU-Rice during what is ostensibly rivalry week in college football. Well, these are actually a pair of pretty good reclamation projects. Rice was 1-10 last year, but now stands one win from a possible bowl bid. In other news, Conference USA has seven bowl tie-ins. Who knew?

Vinny: Uh, not me. The Owls run a lot of five-wide, spread formations and are aggressive on both sides of the ball. Think of John Jenkins's Houston teams, without running up the score and (hopefully) the rampant rules violations.

Russell: Speaking of rules violations, East Carolina is coached by Skip Holtz, son of you-know-who. He has the Pirates one win away from the C-USA championship game. ECU better watch out for receiver Jarrett Dillard, who has been putting up huge numbers all year. Good thing Rice scrapped the triple-option attack when Ken Hatfield stepped down following last season. I think the Owls ride Dillard to an upset win here to move a step closer to their first bowl since 1961.

Vinny: Looking at Skip Holtz is kind of scary -- you can sort of see his dad there smiling at you, telling you that ECU doesn't have a good team "by any stretch of the imagination." I haven't heard him speak, so I'm not sure if he has the same grating lisp. I'm annoyed just thinking about it. Rice covers.

Russell: How Holtz and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo make a living using their voices is one of life's eternal mysteries. I pity Rece Davis, stuck with the B-Team on the World-Wide Leader.

Tulsa (-6) at SMU, 3 p.m. ET

Russell: In the second half of our C-USA double-header, we take a look at yet another reclamation project in SMU, which is also one win from a bowl bid, which would be the Mustangs' first since before they endured the death penalty. I think people tend to forget that this was a national-title caliber program back when the Pony Express backfield was out-earning most NFL duos. The death penalty not only killed SMU's program, it helped kill the entire Southwest Conference. That's probably why it hasn't been used since (I'm looking at you, Alabama).

Vinny: SMU kickoff returner Jessie Henderson is a semi-finalist for the inaugural Randy Moss Return Man Award. And yes, I'm reading from a press release. I'm assuming the winner gets some sort of hydroponic device. He's averaging 36.9 yards per return, best in the NCAA, although he's missed three games with an ankle injury.

Russell: Apropos of nothing, my son used to use a Randy Moss bobblehead as a teething device. Randy's plastic bobble-braids were soothing to his gums. Tulsa won Conference-USA last year, but has lost two straight to fall out of contention. Still the Golden Hurricane are a potent bunch. The SMU pass defense is awful, so look for a big day from Tulsa QB Paul Smith. Tulsa rolls.

Vinny: The recently-released (and eagerly awaited) Coldwell Banker College Home Price Comparison Index just named Tulsa, Oklahoma as the most affordable college town in the country (average home price: $148,575). Good enough for me. The Golden Hurricane is the pick. (Incidentally, the average home price in Columbus, Ohio is $251,364 -- of course that was measured before everything in sight burns tomorrow night).

#14 Auburn (-3) at Alabama, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Russell: I guess there are a few other rivalry games on tap this week after all. For sheer hatred, nothing tops the Iron Bowl. Both teams are coming in off losses, but while Alabama has slipped back into mediocrity at 6-5, Auburn's loss to Georgia rudely ushered the Tigers from the national-title picture.

Vinny: Auburn managed a measly nine first downs and 179 yards in the loss to the Bulldogs. Yeesh. The running game was working, but once Georgia hung 23 points on the Tigers in the second quarter, it didn't matter.

Russell: Alabama has lost four straight to Auburn, and if coach Mike Shula isn't on the hot seat, he should be. I don't know how he got the job in the first place. Yes, his teams always play good defense, but there are high school offenses that run more sophisticated attacks. That's an accusation that will sound awful familiar to fans of the late-90s Buccaneers, where Shula served an incompetent term as offensive coordinator.

Vinny: Wow, Russ. If I didn't know any better, I would think you're a bitter Bucs fan. Shula is 0-3 against Auburn, and none of them have really been close. A win here would keep the wolves (read: RV dealers) at bay at booster club meetings.

Russell: I feel for Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox, a tough guy who has overcome an awful lot to get where he is. Last week, with a chance to keep Auburn in the thick of the title picture, he had the meltdown of all meltdowns: 4-of-12 for 35 yards and four interceptions. Ugh. The 'Bama defense is probably not the best unit to bounce back against, but I think Cox does so anyway. Auburn wins going away, as the Alabama boosters begin searching for Bobby Petrino's phone number.

Vinny: Cox has been gimpy on a bad knee, but if he's performing like he did last week, it's time to sit him down. I'm going to take a flyer on Alabama to cover the spread here.

Washington (+9) at Washington State, 6:45 p.m. ET, FSN

Russell: This is one of those under-the-radar rivalry games that makes college football so great. Neither team is very good, but they'll both be jacked up to play this one in the Palouse, where I can pretty much guarantee two things: the weather will be crappy, and Barry Tompkins will be on the call.

Vinny: I don't think Tompkins or Gary Thorne even have a home other than for tax purposes. The Cougars were crushed by Arizona and Arizona State in successive weeks. The Wazzu defense has been a walking hospital, which doesn't help things. And receivers Jason Hill and Michael Bumpus were sidelined with ankle injuries last week against the Sun Devils.

Russell: Washington showed great promise the first part of the season, hanging tough in most of its losses, but things have fallen apart since quarterback Isiah Stanback was lost for the season. The Huskies lost to Stanford last week. Ouch. So much for that "Ty Willingham for Coach of the Year" movement. With Stanback, I'd give the Huskies a shot, but this team looks like it has packed it in and there are rumors of in-fighting on the squad. Sounds like a Wazzu pick to me.

Vinny: It's too bad, because like a lot of folks, I thought Ty had righted the ship back in September. Even with all the injuries, I think Wazzu covers at home.

#21 Virginia Tech (-1) at #16 Wake Forest, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: Here's the lead on the AP's preview of the Wake Forest-Virginia Tech game: "The wins and the respect keep coming for Wake Forest." Umm, wins -- check. Respect? Not so much. Last week Wake opened as a touchdown underdog at awful Florida State and the line kept rising. Final score: Wake 30, FSU 0. So what happens this week at home against so-so Virginia Tech? The Demon Deacons are 'dogs again.

Vinny: I guess getting Jeff Bowden fired will have to be the feather in Wake's cap for now. Jim Grobe probably received a few fruit baskets from Seminoles fans this week. If you had told me that the Demon Deacons would have 10 wins this year, I would have slapped you, JLS-style. But hosting Virginia Tech and then traveling to Maryland for the finale, it could happen.

Russell: Virginia Tech is playing much better since losing to Georgia Tech and Boston College at midseason. But the Hokies don't have much to play for, having been eliminated from contention for the ACC title game. I give a big motivation edge to Wake in this one. This is bound to be a low-scoring affair, as both teams have stingy defenses. Virginia Tech has posted three shutouts this season, including a week ago over Kent State.

Vinny: Aren't they just "Kent" these days? A tip of the cap to Frank Beamer for his non-conference scheduling: Northeastern, Cincinnati, Southern Miss, and Kent. That slate would make Barry Alvarez blush.

Russell: Virginia Tech needs tailback Brandon Ore to get back to the dominating form he was showing a few weeks ago. If he has a big day, the Hokies probably win. But I can't pick against Wake, a team that is hungry for the first 10-win season in school history and is feeding off the lack of belief of others. Riley Skinner will make a big play to decide things as Wake sets up the huge game with Maryland next week with a big home win.

Vinny: Wake has been solid against the run this year, so maybe they can slow Ore down. I like the Haggards, er Demon Deacons, as well.

#15 Cal (+5.5) at #3 USC, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Hey, look who's back in the thick of the national-title picture? That would be the Trojans, who have watched the other one-loss contenders fall by the wayside since suffering their only loss, at Oregon State three weeks ago. It seems that Florida's shaky, one-point win over South Carolina was enough to move USC to the coveted third spot in the BCS standings. I really don't understand all the Trojan-bashing, either. This is a team that replaced two Heisman winners in the backfield and numerous other key contributors, then has gone 8-1 against a schedule that included SEC darling Arkansas, Nebraska, and Oregon.

Vinny: USC hasn't had the drop-off that I expected this year, and I think John David Booty is the biggest reason. To get your first-year starting quarterback to complete 63 percent of his passes while tossing 20 touchdowns and only six picks is ridiculous. Hats off to Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin for having him play at such a high level as soon as he took the reins from Matt Leinart.

Russell: Bad news for those who are sick of the Trojans playing for the title every year: They're finally healthy at receiver and their defense is rounding into form, allowing just 10 points the last two weeks and completing bottling up Oregon's explosive attack.

Vinny: USC has relied on a 3-4 scheme on defense for much of the season, but used a four-man front against Oregon last week with great success, limiting Oregon's Jonathan Stewart to 42 yards rushing.

Russell: Cal blew its shot at the national title by losing to Arizona last week, but is still playing for the Pac-10 title and a Rose Bowl berth here. They'll be motivated, and DeSean Jackson will probably make a highlight-reel play or two, but it won't be enough. Pete Carroll's club continues its march to Glendale with a win here (my Fred Edelstein Lock).

Vinny: Standout corner Daymeion Hughes and the Cal secondary obviously can't shut down Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett, but the Cal defense is opportunistic (nearly three turnovers forced per game). I think the Bears cover here.

#2 Michigan (+6) at #1 Ohio State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Well here goes. I'm going to try really hard to not use "we" in the following preview and to avoid any semblance of trash talk. It's not easy, not when Michigan is warning its students not to drive to Columbus in cars with Michigan plates. Not when Michigan is sending its campus police to Columbus to protect its students. Not when library employees are running smack.

Vinny: I can't make any promises on the trash talk. Russ, we made the drive to Columbus in 1992 back when we were in school, but things certainly are more intense these days. Kudos to the Michigan fans with the huevos to make the trip this year. Meanwhile, I can't remember a regular season matchup getting this much hype. The USC-ND game comes to mind from last year, but that was mostly post-game hype for the classic finish.

Russell: How's your mental state, Vin? I'm not nearly as nervous as I thought I'd be leading up to what I suspect might be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for us: a 1-vs-2 Michigan-Ohio State showdown to settle half the BCS title-game picture. Mostly, I'm just anxious for this game to get underway. I've spent way too much time on the Internet reading about the game this week. I've found some good material, some not so good. I will say this, I think the Michigan bloggers tend to be a bit more, um, literate than our counterparts at The OSU. Oops. So much for my pledge.

Vinny: At least you tried. It's no surprise that Ohio State is favored by about a touchdown. But I am heartened by the fact that ESPN wizards Mark May, Beano Cook and Dick Vitale all believe the Buckeyes will win. If that's not good karma for Michigan, I don't know what is. Not to mention Kirk Herbstreit's kind words for Steve Breaston.

Russell: We could probably devote a couple thousand words to discussing this game. There are so many matchups to talk about. The key one for me is this: Can Michigan run the ball and force Ohio State to bring the safeties up? If the Buckeyes contain Mike Hart in their base defense, I'm not thrilled with the Wolverines' chances. If that Ohio State defense has a vulnerability, it's against the run. Michigan has to take advantage. I'm not expecting huge numbers from Hart, but he has to move the chains and give Chad Henne a chance to throw downfield against a defense that has to play him honest.

Vinny: Agreed. Ohio State held Hart to 61 yards in 2004 before the Wolverines fell behind and took to the air. Last year, he was banged up and limited to 15 yards on nine carries. Hart has to be a workhorse like he was against Notre Dame, Penn State, and Iowa this year (31, 26, and 31 carries, respectively). That would keep the clock moving, the Michigan defense rested, and Troy Smith off the field. Meanwhile, I'm curious to see how much respect Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Heacock gives Mario Manningham early in the game. If Manningham is back in form, that's a huge plus.

Russell: Antonio Pittman is good. Troy Smith is very good. But neither is going to have a big day running against this defense. Do you realize Michigan used 6-foot-6, 330-pound Alan Branch to shadow Indiana's dual-threat quarterback Kellen Lewis last week? The point being that this front seven is far better than anything OSU has faced this year. Smith -- who will deserve the Heisman if he posts a third straight brilliant game against Michigan -- has been happy to stay in the pocket this year and pick teams apart. But I expect he will try to run some to slow the Michigan pass rush. He may have some success, but then again, he may join the growing list of QBs who've limped to the sidelines during Michigan games this year.

Vinny: As a Michigan guy, Smith reminds me of James Mason's character in "The Verdict" -- he's the Prince of F%$#ing Darkness. You know that, even if he looks dead to rights, he's going to improvise some huge plays. I can't believe I'm about to type this, but I really hope Smith does tuck it and run instead of buying time for Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzales to break free. Still, it's like picking your poison.

Russell: Provided Hart can move the chains, the game falls to Henne, who's had a really solid year after taking his lumps as a sophomore. Henne has been spotty at times in his Michigan career, but this is also a guy who rises to the occasion. He was brilliant against Texas in the Rose Bowl as a freshman. Last year, he played one of his best games in the loss to Ohio State. He was terrific against Notre Dame this year. I think he rises to the challenge and hits Manningham for a big play somewhere. This is going to be a low-scoring game; the defenses are too good. One big play could make the difference. I'm going with Michigan (as if anyone needed to read this entire article to figure that out).

Vinny: Even with all the plaudits for Laurinaitis, I'm honestly not sold on the Buckeyes linebackers. Michigan has really taken to the zone blocking scheme, and with Mike Massey and Tyler Ecker healthy, look for more double-tights sets. Bottom line: I think Hart has a big day and Michigan's front four gets to Smith just enough. And that's enough for the Wolverines to survive. Just to go over the top as a homer, I'll make this my Freddy.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
Maryland +7 Boston College Maryland Maryland
East Carolina -2.5 Rice Rice Rice
Tulsa -6 SMU Tulsa Tulsa
Auburn -3 Alabama Alabama Auburn
Washington +9 Washington State Washington State Washington State
Virginia Tech -1 Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest
Cal +5.5 USC Cal USC*
Michigan +6 Ohio State Michigan* Michigan
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 50-38-0 (8-3-0)
Russell 7-1-0 (1-0-0) 53-35-0 (6-5-0)

Posted by: on 17 Nov 2006

240 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2006, 5:42pm by Weekly Journalist


by Jesse (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 1:34pm

First! Michigan by 10, I'm not sold on Troy Smith.

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 1:34pm

Nothing wrong with a little homerism. I don't know how anybody could think Ohio State loses this game, though. The personnel is just insane on that team.

Also, First!

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 1:49pm

2: Reasons why Ohio State could lose:

1) OSU nearly lost last year to a far inferior Michigan team. This year has a healthy Mike Hart and a great defense.

2) All the pressure is on OSU as they're expected to win. If it comes down to the end I like experienced Rivas much better than freshmen Pettrey.

3) The Bo factor. Click my name. If you don't think that Michigan is going to be beyond fired up to win this one not just for themselves, not just to have a shot for the title, but for Bo, well, you don't know Michigan football.

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 1:54pm

Argh, Schembechler went to the hospital?!

Great. If this were the NFL it wouldn't matter, but college football is always decided predicated on emotion, chutzpah, tradition, rivalries, and crowd noise. Talent doesn't matter nearly as much as the impressionistic view we take of the teams and the circumstances of the game.

I'm just kidding. It's all about the recruits, baby. Talent is king, especially when there's such a gulf between the good and the bad.

Anyway, I still think OSU makes it a laugher.

by bmw1 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:09pm

Kudos to the Michigan fans with the huevos to make the trip this year.

Doesn't huevos mean eggs? Maybe cajones works better.

by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:14pm

As good as these two teams are (they both certainly have earned the top spots in the polls!) it will come down to one thing. Depth.

I think OSU has a lot more depth than Michigan does. Tressel is a good coach who's not afraid to go against conventionaly thinking (as in, 2nd string line playing in the 2nd quarter of the Texas game.) All of our players have experience. If we go 4 wide to spread the field, you have Ginn, Gonzalez, Robiskie and Hartline (or Small, or some other guy I'm sure) who have all played this season.

We have Pittman, Wells and Wells.

We have Smith and Zwick (did he just say that!!!)

And that's just on offense. Lets not disregard how much better our defense is playing...even with a group of guys that (prior to this season) many people have never heard of.

I think with our depth...we have a better chance to win this game.

As an OSU fan...I'm still scared...they're that good!

But, OSU with a 7 point "V".

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:17pm

ESPN is now reporting that Bo Schembechler has died.


by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:20pm

6: As a Michigan fan, I really really hope OSU plays Beanie Wells a lot -- those turnovers would be really helpful, and I doubt he'll have any more success than PJ Hill or Tony Hunt did at running the ball.

by ChrisS (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:38pm

I hope it is a close game and it should be. Subjectively UM is better defensively than OSU and UM has a better running game, however OSU does have a slight advantage in the passing game. On the defenses I think almost everyone concedes UM has the best rush defense in the country. On pass defense the two teams are very close, with UM having the advantage in sacks 41 to 33, tOSU better Ints 21 to 11, YPA is the same at 5.5 for each. So overall UM is the better defense. Objectively UM has beaten better teams than tOSU Wisconsin & ND versus Texas for tOSU. GO Blue.

by TMQ Cheerleader Law (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:43pm

I don't know guys about U Mich winning ... does U Mich have anyone to compare to the famous Ohio State Cam Chick?

by joel in providence (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:50pm

as anyone's who's read "Among the Thugs" will tell you,key to visiting hostile fan territory is to organize ahead of time, stick together. what kind of nutjobs would drive to columbus without a serious contingent of fellow fans alongside them? that's just suicide.

by Ferg (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:08pm

5: "huevos" is also slang for "balls."

by Will Kerr (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:08pm

The news of Bo Schembechler's death just hit. What a gut punch. It certainly throws a pall over Ann Arbor. How will it affect tomorrow's game in Columbus? Hard to say, but if a Buckeye ballcarrier breaking for daylight mysteriously falls down in the open field...

by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:13pm

I really expect OSU to blow out Michigan. OSU has destroyed everyone they've faced with the exception of Illinois.

I just get the feeling Michigan is a good team in a very week Big 10. I really think they would have around two losses in either the SEC or Pac 10.

OSU seems like the real deal though. I wish LSU had pulled out a win in one of their two close losses. A OSU-LSU championship would have been a classic.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:23pm

RIP, Bo.

I think the game will come down to how well Henne can throw the ball. He played really well last year, and UM had a chance. He needs to throw the ball downfield accurately to Manningam (if healthy and not rusty, which doesn't seem likely to me), Arrington, and/or Breaston. I think they'll need at least 28 to win, and I don't see them getting it. tOSU, 31-20.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:30pm

the dead schembechler's clip makes me want to root for michigan. (neutral observer here)

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:33pm

Honestly, I can't see Michigan losing now. Before, maybe. Now? I would not be surprised if OSU just rolled over and died as Michigan literally goes out for blood.

by J.D. (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:04pm

I'm so depressed right now. As if this stupid game needed anything else riding on it. When I was growing up, we had season tickets to the Big House, and while I only remember going for a few years while Bo was actually coach, he was always the face of Michigan football in the same way the JoePa or Bear represented their schools.

Honestly, I don't know how this will affect the game. Popular opinion says that the boys in blue will be extra fired up, but Bo remained so close to the program that the team lost a family member. It could be motivation, but I think it will also provide distraction.

by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:08pm

This Ohio State team reminds me of the "Best Team Ever" Oklahoma teams of a few years ago.

by The Leon Express (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:11pm

Schembechler dead? The Luckeyes have NO SHOT!!! (Remember the Giants after Mara died?)

Am I the only person who thinks that Troy Smith isn't that good? His passing mechanics are really awkward, you could time his release with a freaking hourglass. I will give you that he is a good decision maker, but the only thing he really does in the passing game is throw the ball as far as he can at let Ginn (OVERRATED) run under it and let Gonzalez make a few nice plays per game.

by Anonymous (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:13pm

Not to be an asshole...but I will chuckle slightly when I see the "BS" decal on Michigan helmets this weekend (I'm sure they will be there)

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:14pm

I wish he just stopped doing that damn preview show with Don Shane after his heart episode a few weeks ago. I never liked Don Shane. But Bo would never give into anything, even common sense. And nobody could stop the guy once he made his mind up about something.

by Weekly Journalist (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:18pm

Why the hell is OSU so highly favored? They beat Illinois 17-10.

Nothing about Rutgers/Cincinatti?

by John (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:27pm

First off, from a buckeye fan, RIP Bo. A terrible loss for the fans of college football. Our thoughts are with you here in Buckeye Nation. Next, I wouldn't take anything from the punk band 'Dead Schembechlers' seriously. They're just some serious OSU fans having a good time, and they've been doing it for years. Bo even knew about them. Finally, to ChrisS who said Michigan has played tougher opponents (ND and Wisc) compared to OSU (Texas), keep in mind that OSU has fared far better against the 6 common opponents they have played this year. (PSU, Iowa, MSU, Ind, Minn, NW). OSU outscored them 246-43, while UM beat them 147-49. Not making any predictions, just some stats to make you think.

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:31pm

I actually think Michigan will win as well, but I'm still calling you two out as the HOMERS that you are.

Mich 21
Ohio St 16

by MikeP (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:31pm

"Why the hell is OSU so highly favored? They beat Illinois 17-10."

How can you bring that up after what UM did against Ball State???

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:55pm

Mike P -- It gets brought up because that wasn't OSU's backups in the 17-10 game, it was their starters, while Michigan yanked its starters, especially on defense, early in the 2nd half. Ball State got back in the game against the 2nd and 3rd stringers.

I'd say you'd know that if you watched the game, but almost no one saw the game due to its being on ESPNU. And the sports media didn't report it, because they didn't watch the game either.

by MikeP (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:59pm

I hear what you're saying, but that also says something about the depth of the team, does it not? I believe someone above mentioned depth, too.

by RIP Bo (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 5:10pm

Let us not forget that UM beat NW 17-3, while OSU rolled to 54-10 (while still putting in 2nd and 3rd string).

It'll be a great matchup, and a great game. Unfortunately for OSU, the passion induced by the passing of Bo may be the X-Factor.

Respect the rivalry! Go Bucks.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 5:17pm

I really don't know what effect this will have on the Michigan team. Bo was a constant presence for them. It's like they all lost their grandfather.

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 5:31pm

29: It was raining with a 40mph wind in Ann Arbor during the N'Western game.

This is why just comparing "how much did they beat common opponents by" is a goofy game. Bottom line -- both teams beat all those teams, and never in any of the common opponent games were they ever in doubt, except MAYBE OSU against PSU (7-3 in the 4th) in that quagmire in Columbus. Even then, OSU was pretty well dominating that game despite the score. Winning by 3 or 4 TD's or even more vs. winning by at least 2 TD's isn't really a great way to separate how good certain teams have played. Bottom line -- the teams controlled those games pretty much from start to finish.

by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 5:43pm

As a Big Ten fan, I mourn for Bo's death. In any other game, I think UM's reaction would determine the outcome, but there is no way they can come out any harder than they would have anyways. Michigan wins a squeaker through a couple of big plays.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 6:30pm


Cajones just means "crates" as well.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 11:32pm

Where are the rest of the picks? You promised me! I can't live without my college picks!

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 11:59pm

keep in mind that OSU has fared far better against the 6 common opponents they have played this year. (PSU,

Did you watch the two PSU games? OSU didn't fare better versus Penn State. Michigan demolished Penn State's offense like a sledgehammer. The OSU vs Michigan game was significantly closer. Two late interception returns for touchdowns in the OSU game made it seem like it wasn't, but if there was a DVOA for college football, it would've said the Wolverines clearly beat Penn State more than OSU did.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 12:58am


by HLF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:25am

I feel so sorry for anyone still living in the 80's and stuck with cable**. ESPNU has been showing endless previous UM/OSU games from the 70's, 80's, and 90's; what good times. I got to see Art Schlichter (a convicted felon starting for OSU?? I am SHOCKED, shocked I say, who could imagine that?). Other notable OSU well rounded citizens like Alonzo Spellman, Andy Katzenmoyer, Bobby Hoying... what a bunch of straight shooters...

Seriously, it's amazing how primitive the offenses seem from back then. We live in a golden age of football, in my opinion.

I'll be as close as I can be to the real thing tomorrow, entrenched in the only Michigan bar here in Seattle... Let's go BLUE!!

** cable slaves don't even get "Pants-Off Dance-Off"

Q: What's the difference between a spider and an OSU cheerleader??

A: One of them has only two hairy legs.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:27am

None of the Shula-led Alabama losses have been close? 28-23 in 2003 (Alabama went 3-8 that year)....21-13 the next year (Auburn went undefeated, Alabama went to 6-5 at the time) of course that game Alabama had their 3rd string QB, a 2nd string FB playing RB, their 4th string tailback, no TE and it took a 2nd half comeback for Auburn to win..

but yeah-I have been bitching about the Shula/Rader offense this whole season (it was not that bad last year...when we were winning). I have no idea how a Protho injury can make a team that put up 31 on Florida not be able to score a single offensive TD on Mississippi State in 2 years. We put the most offensive yards on LSU all season yet can only score 14 points. We could not score from the 1 yard line (1st and goal) against a suspension-depleted Florida International team.

I am not sure its so much Shula is not imaginative or whatever people try to say (its not like Auburn runs some sort of complex offense either). They lack a big-play RB as of right now.

I grew up a Michigan fan (thanks dad!) and went to Alabama (and became a hardcore Bama fan). So these Saturdays either make or break my week..month...year..

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:30am

though yeah Alabama has been getting their ass kicked by Auburn in the Shula years...he just has a habit of making sure the score does not seem so bad when its done

by ZS (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:50am

Rooting for Michigan for Rutgers' sake.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 4:31am

Actually, I do only have cable, but I do get "Pants-off Dance-off". I still don't understand its existence, though.

And they went back to Kent State a few years ago.

by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:56am

I liked Michigan getting 6.5-7 pts. before. I like them even more now. I'm not a Michigan fan, but I've always respected the way they run their program, and that goes back to Bo. His firing of Bill Frieder on the eve of the NCAA hoops tourney, after Frieder accepted the ASU job, was, in my opinion, his greatest moment (and maybe one of the great moments in all of college sports). Emotion is such a huge part of college football, it's difficult for me to imagine that Michigan won't go out and play the game of their lives this afternoon.

by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:07am

Additionally, while Troy Smith gives OSU a BIG edge at QB (sorry, I just don't think Henne's that good), he hasn't faced a defense close to being as good as Michigan's.

by asg (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:13am

Oh boy, they BOTH pick the Terps? Kiss of death.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:58am

I think the "kiss of death" jokes have just about run their course. Yeah, last season their picks were bad. This season their picks were good. The season is almost over and right now both Vinny and Russ have good enough records that if they had put money on each game, they'd have made money this season, even after the house collected the vig.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 12:04pm

Fowler just said of Bo's death, "The timing, of course, heavily ironic. Almost spooky."

It ain't ironic. I don't see how it's spooky. He had a good run. His first heart attack was in 1970 for Jeebus' sake!

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 12:06pm

This may sound crazy, but I believe there's a good chance Bo Schemechler died on purpose yesterday in order to give Michigan more motivation.

If you dismiss that, you don't know Schemechler, or about the UM - tOSU rivalry.

I'm 6 - 4 with my picks, and this week I'm taking the Woverines.

by BB (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 12:17pm

Uh oh, bad sign for Rutgers -- it looks like they might be using the "Keep Chopping Wood" motivation tool if that "coming up on Gameday" promo they just showed is any indication. That can only end badly.

by scottnot (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 12:27pm

God bless his cotton' pickin' maize 'n blue heart. This "well-drilled, well disciplined Michigan football team under the leadership of General Bo George Patton Schembechler is invincible. "Michigan can't lose" , "They can only beat themselves."
"Michigan can beat Ohio, they are prepared to beat Ohio and dammit, they'll whoop those Buckeyes."

The greatest day of the year just isn't complete until you hear from Bob. Just click.

by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 12:52pm

RE #47: Weird that you should bring that up. I swear I don't mean this to be disrespectful, but I e-mailed a friend yesterday, saying 'You don't suppose Bo slugged down a coupla triple espressos with a Red Bull chaser before he taped his TV show yesterday, do you?' Not to sound like Oliver Stone, but the guy knew he didn't much time left, and to say the timing was ironic, is a massive understatement. I'm not saying that's what happened, but it really wouldn't shock me.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 1:28pm

The season is almost over and right now both Vinny and Russ have good enough records that if they had put money on each game, they’d have made money this season, even after the house collected the vig.

also, by my calculations, in games on which they agreed, they are 37-22

the "kiss of death" is dead (so far this year anyway)

("the Catholic Match Girl Agreement of Life")

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:30pm

Re: 49 (Scotnot): always good stuff listening to Ufer.

I just saw a TV ad for "Rocky Balboa" (opens Christmas Day). A sign?

Will the players play harder for Bo? I'm not sure they can play any harder in this rivalry, but maybe it's possible. I think it will hit the coaching staff harder, especially the offensive staff and Lloyd (obviously) who are all Bo disciples. Has to be tough for them.

by rice4ever (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:31pm

woo, finally someone discusses rice, and with the kiss of death dead even better. tailgate time

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:35pm

First off, condolences to Bo's family. Sad news.

I hope there's a nice tribute pre-game, moment of silence and stuff. He was a good man and a great coach, and deserves whatever tribute they put together. But I cringe at the thought that every time Michigan has a good play (well, I cringe at the thought of that alone), Musberger (or whoever) will bust out the "Playing for Bo" angle at the expense of analysis. We all know it's coming, let's just hope it's only once or twice. Bo deserves a lot better than to be Brent's lazy tagline.

Onto the game itself. This has been broken down a thousand ways, so I'll skip much of it. Both have great defenses, Michigan with an awesome front seven (side note - how much better than Texas are they? I keep hearing how OSU has never faced anything like it, but all I remember hearing is how Texas has nine future first rounders on their D-line, and they handled that OK) and somewhat suspect secondary, OSU with a maybe not as good front seven but great corners. On offense, both have solid lines (actually, due to how much they've played the second string, OSU might have two solid lines) and good backs. Michigan has the best receiver in the Big Ten, OSU might have numbers 2 through 4 or 5. Blah blah blah.

Much of this will come down to the quarterbacks. One big advantage to OSU - Smith's mobility gives their offense a dimension Michigan lacks. He hasn't run much this year, but I don't think he'll hesitate to take off today when needed. But in true media fashion, I'll bring it to the QB's intangibles. Huge edge to OSU. According to my calculations, Smith has 42% more intangibles than Henne. That's the kind of deep analysis you can't get just anywhere.

OK, for real now. I'm not as doubtful about OSU's ability to move the ball as most here seem to be. Maybe because I'm an OSU homer, who knows. I think their line is solid enough to buy them enough time. They have so many weapons and can spread it out so well, with Smith to distribute or run. For Michigan to stop them, they have to get a great pass rush, while remaining disciplined enough to stop Pittman's running, not leave any lanes for Smith to take off through, and have enough guys in coverage to prevent Gonzalez, Ginn, and co. from breaking anything big. It's a very tall order. They have to get to Smith, and get to him fast, but he has a very solid line in front and is mobile enough to be dangerous rolling to either side. Not an easy offense to stop, by any means.

There are some things that worry me, no doubt. OSU needs to keep the running game in check without bringing the safeties up, else Manningham goes crazy. Wells can't be allowed to fumble. The special teams have to play like Tressell special teams should, and no more of this blocked extra point crap.

But somehow I think they'll be ready. If it comes down to which team has the better QB or coach, big edge to the Buckeyes. I think it'll be a good game, clean and hard-hitting, but at the end of the day, Michigan is heading to Pasadena.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 2:57pm

Please tell me that PSU has a great QB recruit on the way. Morelli is garbage.

by Rollo (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 3:22pm

53: Simply stunning, another Rice fan! I wore my Rice gear at the FSU game and I saw only one other fan representing the mighty owls. Dillard is an excellent WR, but I'm pretty spooked that he leads the nation in TD catches - life is imitating my PS2...if this trend continues I may be a charter member of the Dillard for Heisman bandwagon.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 3:28pm

Crazy play in the Bucket game today - Purdue running back breaks into the open, 20-25 yard gain to about IU's 25, fumbles the ball, picked up on the bounce by Indiana, returned about 50 yards, knocked free by Purdue, fumbled through the end zone (yeah, it went about 30 yards on the ground), touchback, Purdue's ball on the 20.

Only in a rivalry game ...

by black (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 3:43pm

Wow wasn't ready for the Ecu game to get previewed. If Ecu wins they play for the conference championship which would be the coolest moment since we beat Miami and tore down Nc States goalpost.

Go Pirates

by scottnot (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 3:57pm

Until something changes with the coaching I think you will have to keep watching psu 'should be" recruits starting for teams that give them much better chances to play in the NFL. If you were a high school star and grew up in Pennsylvania loving psu but had Lloyd Carr sitting in your living room telling you that his last six starting qb's and even one back-up played in the NFL what would you do? Probably exactly what Chad Henne did.
Not many eighteen year olds want to play for an eighty year old man. I'm shocked they still get the players they do.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 4:21pm

Iowa/Minn announcer:
"Turnovers mean NOTHING if your offense doesn't get any points off of it!"

I thought that that was interesting, especially since the previous turnover had been an interception at the defender's 2 yard line.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 4:25pm

In other news, Conference USA has seven bowl tie-ins. Who knew?

I'm pretty sure that Conference USA has only 5 bowl tie-ins this year, in the Liberty, GMAC, Armed Forces (Fort Worth), PapaJohns.com (Birmingham), and New Orleans. Next year (and in 2009, but not 2008), they will have a tie-in to the Texas Bowl, but their Armed Forces Bowl slot will go to the Pac-10.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 4:28pm

Brave fellows to take WSU to cover a big number in the Apple Cup. This game has been the Huskies' whole season for quite a while now, and they always seem to play over their heads in it (or if you like, Washington State always seems to tighten up in it). This Washington team started 4-1, then nearly shocked USC on the road, and the season's sort of snowballed since then. But they're not talentless, and with a chance to take a bowl game away from WSU, they'll be more than motivated to hang around.

The Cougars have been favored six times in a row, but they've had mediocre teams barely beat bad UW teams the last two years, and ranked teams lose to mediocre UW teams in the early '00s. Wazzu hasn't won this game by more than one score since 1994.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:13pm

MSU QB Brian Hoyer had something around 58 pass attempts, with about 4 minutes to play against Penn State. It's a 17-13 Nittany Lion lead, and it's been close all day. JLS, what are you doing?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:21pm

Re: 63

It's probably JLS's last game ever coaching a BCS-conference school, so I'm all for the wackiness.

Michigan State pass attempts (including sacks): 65. Non-sack runs: 12

by t.d. (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:33pm

here we go

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:38pm

Wow. Seeing Tyrone Prothro limp out onto the field to deliver the game ball is one of the saddest things I've ever seen. That guy was going to be something special.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:40pm

Protho is playing next year....but yeah it sucks as an Alabama fan to see that..

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:41pm

I wish there was a way both teams could lose.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:44pm

It didn't start yet?! I thought it was supposed to start at 2:30... and now it's nearly 3:45 and I'm not sure the ball has been kicked off yet.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:45pm

It was supposed to be a 3:30 ET start, but ABC of course has their big game pre-game hype. Ugh, just start the damn game already, please.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:45pm

this game is bigger then the Super Bowl apparently...

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:48pm

Ahhh they started. I think Michigan will win. This is just like all the other huge games where one team has been over-hyped and picked by everyone... and then the other team surprises.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:49pm

story of Alabama's season...pussyball inside the 5.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:49pm

I can only imagine tOSU is employing the "bend but don't break" defense.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:50pm

Evidently not.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:51pm

Uh, nice first drive. See my comment at #15 re Henne. I'm hoping this game ends like the game last year against Northwestern, where they went down the field easily the first drive and didn't score again.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:09pm

3&16, 3&5, 3&G, complete, complete, complete for a TD to Roy Hall. Hey, Ron English, I recognize Hall's been kind of a forgotten guy lately, but you might want to try covering him on third down?

And it's really nice to see "3 yards and a cloud of dust" is alive and well, eh?

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:13pm

Is it brent on the call? I'm stuck at work. I've actually come to like Brent and Dierdorff a bit, probably because announcers in general have gotten so, so much worse over the years.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:15pm

Is it possible for Michigan to throw to someone other than Manningham? Is it possible for tOSU to cover him?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:17pm

Brent, with Davie and Herbstreit. tOSU with an offside on 4th down as UM punts, but it's 4&6 so UM declines because of a 0 return.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:30pm

Good D by tOSU on the stretch run by Hart on 3&1, followed by a short punt by Zoltan, tOSU with good field position on own 42. Deep to Gonzalez?

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:32pm

Chris Capps started at LT last year at Alabama and pretty much got Brodie killed against Auburn.

Capps is at RT and has now allowed a 14 point shift by missing 3 straight blocks.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:32pm

Musberger didn't have a sharp first quarter, very slow to ID players. And is it just me or is the main camera shot for this game about as far away as you ever see? I've always wondered how much that varies, stadium to stadium.

We should have a game discussion thread for big college showdowns like this!

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:35pm

Beanie Wells, out of the doghouse with a bang. Long TD runs will do that for you.

I think the camera shot is because of the setup at tOSU-this angle seems pretty standard.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:41pm

announcers in general have gotten so, so much worse over the years.

no they haven't--you've just gotten older & wiser over the years

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:41pm

Wow, awful OSU penalty on 4th and 13th, roughing the center, giving Michigan an automatic first down when they had been demoralized.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:41pm

Huge, HUGE personal foul for a hit on the center by tOSU on 4&14 as UM was punting away. Not a call you see very often-props to Bob Davie for recognizing what it was right away (I can't believe I just said that). Let's see if UM can take advantage of it.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:52pm

The Buckeyes are not shying away from throwing in Leon Hall's direction today. He had primary coverage on the Robiskie scramble throw and Ginn's TD, so he gave up about 79 yards on 2 completions on that drive. They also threw a couple toward him on the first drive of the game. Good protection by the Buckeye Big Uglies, on the whole.

by Money (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:54pm

Whats the deal with the field? Does it seem that an inordinate amount of people are falling down? On the big Robiskie play two Wolverines fell down that could have stopped it.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:55pm

"no they haven’t–you’ve just gotten older & wiser over the years"

So, so true!

Davie is good at picking up on holds and penalties and stuff. He actually brings something to the table.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:57pm

As for the Buckeyes, I am about ready to crown their asses.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:59pm

Wow. Pass to Arrington on the sideline, run in for a touchdown, and there had to be a missed assignment somewere, as there was no one within five yards of him.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:03pm

Antonio Smith released Arrington from the slot to play Breaston's post, while outside CB Donald Washington followed outside WR Breaston on the post. Somebody blew an assignment, for sure.

by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:03pm

Have to say I'm really surprised at the ease with which OSU is moving the ball. There's obviously a lot of time left, but Smith, Ginn, and company look extremely impressive. Although, Mich. just scored, I see.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:04pm

Talking about Troy Smith's draft prospects, the inevitable comparison is made to... Drew Brees.


by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:13pm

Brees is actually an interesting comp, but it's a better one than it seems as first. Not overly impressive physically, but highly productive, accurate passer playing in a spread offense. Smith is probably more mobile, but he's really showing a reluctance to run like he used to.

28-14 tOSU at the half. Jeez, this offense has been really, really impressive today. I expect healthy doses of Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells in the second half.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:13pm

Michigan can start playing pass defense at any time....

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:16pm

Shouldn't we really be comparing Troy Smith to Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Warren Moon, Doug Williams or even Marlon Briscoe?

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:16pm

Michigan should play dime cover 2, and flip the strongside defensive end for a weak-side rush like in NCAA 2007.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:17pm

OSU was up 17 on Illinois at the half, and tried to sit on the ball, and went nowhere. I suspect they're going to still throw it a decent amount.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:32pm

OSU is not who I thought they were.

I'm impressed.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:40pm

Michigan's defensive game plan was obvously a huge mistake.

I think the blitzer from the first-quarter 3rd-and-16 just crossed the line of scrimmage. I've never seen a blitzing DB that far from the LOS before the snap. What's the point if you're going to be that far away from the pocket when the play begins?

Michigan still might score 30-plus here, but I'm not sure it's enough. Defense was grossly exposed in that first 30 minutes.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:44pm

I'd like to see Notre Dame-Ohio State in the championship so OSU could score infinity points on the Irish.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:57pm

This is like Louisville-West Virginia, minus lots and lots of fumbles.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:06pm

And all the complaining that both teams would have three losses in the SEC.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:10pm

What's going on with Oregon?

Talk about a classic sandwich game- after USC and before Oregon State- but still...

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:11pm

If the stat they just posted is right, OSU hasn't converted a 3rd down since their first drive.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:15pm

Bob Davie didn't like the 3rd-and-1 pass call by Michigan, but "if they would have completed it, it would have been a good call." Okay coach. Thanks for the expert insight.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:17pm

Wow. The snap goes over Smith's head, and Michigan recovers. That could be the break they needed.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:21pm

Think Florida was upset over being #4 in the BCS Standings? 62-0 over Western Carolina? That's a beatdown. I wonder if TMQ will be mentioning it in the column this week.

by thok (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:22pm

106: Arizona has been playing incredibly good defense the last three weeks in what look to be wins over Wash St, Cal, and now Oregon and even in the two games before that (a 17-10 loss to Oregon St and a win over Stanford).

If Oregon beats OSU next week, there's going to be a whole mess of teams tied for third in the Pac-10 at 5-4.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:23pm

I don't think it has anything to do with point of view.

From what I see, the ball is not in the end zone when the knee is down.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:25pm

Given that Florida passed for two large touchdowns in the fourth quarter while up 48-0, I would think it's almost guaranteed we're going to hear from TMQ about the game this week.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:27pm

AAaaaaaaaaagh! Not this damned commercial again!

Also, Michigan should have gone for two.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:29pm

It's kind of weird for Michigan to line up to go for two, then after review shows it isn't a TD, get the TD, then line up again, use a timeout, then kick.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:31pm

I wonder if Michigan was just trying to goad Ohio State into burning a timeout by lining up for an apparent conversion.

Good use of review in this game, it's fixed two calls that originally weren't right.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:34pm

Will the football gods punish Florida? That is the bigger question. And will I get to write "game over" in my notebook before the end of the OSU-Michigan game. Somehow I don't think so.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:36pm

Why would they be so shocked that Carr did not go for two?

It's not like there's three minutes left. There were fourteen minutes left. Going for the gimme extra point means that if OSU gets a field goal, then Michigan can tie it with a touchdown.

And as I type that, another bad OSU snap leads to a second fumble directly attributable to the center. That guy'll be the real goat if they lose this game. And Manningham with a drop when he was pretty open.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:36pm

If OSU/Mich was WVU/Rutgers, people would talk about how sloppy the game was and how neither team deserved a shot at the BSC championship.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:36pm

I'm guessing both Larry Coker and Chuck Amato get canned in the next 48 hours.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:46pm

Don't go Troy Williamson on us, Mario Manningham.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:46pm

Henne is 1 for his last 7, and that one is throwing short of the sticks on 4th down.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:50pm

Helmet to helmet and that penalty is a back-breaker.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:53pm

Shawn Crable, you have to play smarter than that. Lloyd Carr can complain all he wants but it was the right call. I hate seeing undisciplined, stupid plays like what Crable did. Gigantic play.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:53pm

You just cost your team the game, and a chance at the BSC, how does that make you feel?

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:14pm

Light the couches

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:17pm

And the ghost of Bo doesn't quite get it done, but perhaps he had a hand in Michigan covering +7.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:27pm

Okay, since we now have 66 bowl-eligible teams, it's time to bring back the Bowl Bubble Watch. It's a little trickier this year because of the rule that a 6-6 team can't get an at-large spot until all the 7-5 teams are slotted, and at this point it's hard to tell who's in what category. So even the "bubble burst" calls I'm making are not certain by any means.

Currently Bubble Burst: SMU/Rice loser (next week), Kent State

On the Bubble: Kansas

Next in line: Arizona, Northern Illinois

We can get at most 3 more teams eligible tonight: The winner of the Arkansas St./Troy game (who will have a great shot at 7 wins), Cincinnati (vs. Rutgers) and UCLA (at Arizona St.)

by TB (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:31pm

The sloppy second half prevented this one for being "one for the ages", but it was definitely a nailbiter. I think game speaks to how weak the Big Ten was this year. I'm sorry, but Michigan certainly DOES NOT have the best run defense in the country. Pittman's TD won the game for OSU.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:34pm

Okay....does anyone here WANT TO see a Michigan v Ohio State rematch in the Championship Game?

I most definitely don't, but I'm intereseted to see what everyone thinks.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:35pm

Devin, is that what the rule is? So, if, for example, Oklahoma State loses next week to Oklahoma, they'll be 6-6. Are you saying that they can't get into the Texas Bowl or whatever Big 12 bowl they'd go to until all the 7-5 teams are picked? Or is that only for At-Large bids, like the one in Poinsettia Bowl?

by Andy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:44pm

That PI call that led to Michigan's last touchdown was awful.

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:46pm


If this game had happened much earlier in the season, maybe. But UM just had its shot at the title, so no rematch.

by Matu (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:47pm

This was, for the most part, an entertaining game but the thoughts of a rematch don't really excite me that much. I think Michigan had their chance and tOSU outplayed them. Let someone else get their chance.

by NF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:52pm

The Michigan secondary sucked in that game. And I don't really care about either team, so this is not homerish whining. Michigan was two adequate DBs away from winning that game. Seriously, on one of those TD receptions, the Ohio State wr had the safety and the cornerback right on top of him, and still caught the football. Also, the CBs involved in coverage on the first TD reception should be benched or the defensive coach should be fired, because I can not imagine why, facing a 4 wr set at the goal line, a pair of CBs would cover the WR the other guy was lined up in front of. That they ran into each other seconds after the snap is just the kicker. Are people with me that having a LB cover OSU's second-best WR should be seen as a huge mistake?

A last note: does Mike Hart, the Michigan RB, remind anyone of Jerome Bettis?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:56pm

If this game had happened much earlier in the season, maybe.

I don't mean to pick on you, Domer, but the arbitrary effects of when you happen to lose a game [and where you happen to be ranked before the season unfolds] are one of the most aggravating things about college football. Why should USC's (say) case be stronger because they lost in October to a middling team, as opposed to losing in November to the consensus #1?

(In terms of favorites, I don't have any dog in the fight whatsoever.)

by NF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:57pm

To answer the question of should there be a rematch, even if they had won the game, and if the awful play of the secondary was typical, I wouldn't think they are the best team in Div. I-A. So no, I don't want to see a OSU-Michigan rematch.

I'm not so sure I want to see OSU for that matter, but they did win.

(Boise State-Rutgers for National Championship!)

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:00pm

That PI call that led to Michigan’s last touchdown was awful.

Yes, as was the usually excellent Herbstreit's explanation of it. It doesn't matter if he could or couldn't see the ball, there was no interference!

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:02pm


No offense taken, and I of course am biased, but there seems to be a precedent for the late-loss counting more (e.g., ND losing the title in 1993 to FSU after beating FSU but losing to BC a week later).

In this case, my point is that the rematch would be the very next game for these teams - why a do over?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:09pm

I said last week that a rematch could happen really only if Michigan lost close. Well, that happened.

I believe now that it's either going to be USC or Michigan. If USC wins out, and beats Notre Dame impressively, they'll go. If USC loses, I think we'll see a rematch.

(Why not Florida? I'm not sure - I just don't think it'll happen, even if they win out - the computers don't like Florida, and won't like them any more after today. They do like USC, and Michigan).

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:10pm

Early or late aside, Michigan destroyed ND at ND and thus should not rank behind the Irish in any analysis.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:15pm

139, that's fair enough. I certainly agree there's a lot of precedent for it (I remember that ND-FSU thing; it didn't make a stick of sense at the time), and it doesn't feel right to take the last regular-season game and say, "as long as it's close, it's not really going to count anyway". But from the standpoint of evaluating who had the second-strongest regular season ... that it's the last game is sort of coincidence.


Sometimes I think college football's rankings arcana is modeled for wrestling-like operatic story arcs. "Oh my god, Rutgers just got clobbered over the head with a chair while the Sagarin ratings weren't looking!"

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:35pm

Quick thoughts from me.

Michigan was largely outplayed. When they got the opportunity to get back into it through turnovers, they couldn't make the big play.

The critical roughing-the-passer call was tough, but the helmet-to-helmet makes it the right call.

Part of me would love to see what Michigan could do on a neutral field, but that doesn't mean I'm advocating a rematch. Michigan had their shot, and lost.

The only scenario in which I think Michigan deserves a rematch is if USC, Florida, Arkansas and Rutgers all pick up another loss and it comes down to 11-1 Michigan or 11-1 Notre Dame. Other than that, let someone else have a shot.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:36pm

USC catch on the 5, fumble, returned by California for a touchdown. The ruling on the field is incomplete pass.

It's quite close - he never really cradled it to his body, and was falling to the ground as it came out. The question becomes, is there enough evidence to overturn the call?

Or, is there enough evidence for the blind Pac-10 replay officials to make a decision?

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:44pm

I believe now that it’s either going to be USC or Michigan.

Well, or Rutgers. Unless Rutgers doesn't win out, of course.

Then again, given that they're down 17-0 versus Cincinnati, I think the "not winning out" scenario might be pretty good. Then again, I thought they were cooked versus Louisville, too.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:45pm

ESPN.com GameCenter says Rutgers is losing to Cincinnati 17-0 midway through the 2nd. Can the Bearcats hold it out?

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:46pm

140- they may like Florida more if they beat FSU and Arkansas, or they may like Arkansas if they beat LSU and Florida.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:48pm

Tarrant, keep in mind, if they had overturned it, it still wouldn't have been a touchdown because the official blew the play dead.

Cincinnati sure did come to play against Rutgers tonight. This could get interesting.

I hate the fact that Ohio State is going to be sitting around for more than seven weeks. That is just plain stupid.

If the point of the BCS is to match up the two best teams, I don't see how it can be anything other than an Ohio State-Michigan rematch. If people don't like that, it should have been written into the BCS bylaws that the national championship couldn't be a rematch. No fair changing the rules in the middle of the game just because you don't like the results.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:52pm

I agree with Russ. Michigan had its shot. Michigan outplayed OSU in the 2nd half, but it wasn't enough to overcome OSU's well-deserved 14 point lead at the half.

I don't fault Crable for the personal foul. He was just going hard and happened to catch Smith with his helmet. And the pass interference call that Manningham somehow got on 4th and 15 was a little sketchy anyway.

I was surprised to see those long runs in short yardage situations by Pittman and Wells. Michigan hasn't let that happen all year. Linebackers got caught in the wash, and safeties were out of postion (as Russ noted to me, maybe Barringer makes those plays instead of Mundy, who's been out of position for most of his career). Those plays were probably the difference.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:59pm

This game is interesting to me an inverse of Auburn-LSU. Early vs. late in the season. Offense vs. defense-dominated. Tight games featuring breakdowns at times by both teams.

I think OSU and Michigan are superior to those two teams, and I think the pressure of a mini-national title game may have played a part in some of the breakdowns today. Looking forward to watching the tape.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:00pm

The camera angles being used sometimes in the USC/Cal game are driving me nuts. There was this funky backwards diagonal skycam-ish one that was used for the last running play, and I almost thought it was a replay it was so hard to keep track of things.

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:02pm

I realize that this is a huge "what if," but as long as we're dealing in what ifs, what if So Cal beats Cal impressively and ND beats So Cal (on the road) impressively, say, the way UM beat ND? Would that be good enough?

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:04pm

152: You could certainly argue, but I think Michigan's strong performance, a close loss on the road to the No. 1 team, means Michigan's season makes it more worthy than ND even with the scenario you describe.

by scottnot (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:08pm

Rematch, no way. How could mich play a better game? They win the turnover battle and get every close call(the elusive "bucking the center", two pass interference, no call on the early face mask). Hart played great the receivers and T.E's played very good (only 1 drop) front seven played good, thus another game might just be embarrassing. Losses are always painful, but they go down a little better when your team clearly gets beat.
Both coaches do what they do, Carr and staff made great half-time adjustments as expected, unfortunately Tressel seems to always be a step ahead and make his adjustments earlier. It only took one sack and one pressure from mich before the vest went to empty backfield, three step drops and Smith's ability to quickly find the mismatch, and mich's only advantage (front seven) was taken away.
Once again Smith proved to be the better qb. He really only made the one mistake on forcing the ball on the pick. Henne seemed even more immobile than usual and doing everything possible to make our memories of John Navarre be that of a Fran Tarkington like scrambler. He still lacks the ability to calmly go to a second receiver and seems to panic if the first option doesn't get open within three seconds. He's clearly dependent on having great receivers (if Braylon and Manningham weren't abusing corners he would be huge disappointment from what was expected). To his credit he does play his best with the team down late when he quits thinking and just throws. Will he end the streak of nfl bound qb's? A good possibility, a strong arm alone won't do it.
If mich doesn't lose their safety on the sixth defensive play it may have been different.
Goats: I agree with the others, mich secondary. The one bright spot fell apart, Hall's first half was worst he's ever played and he just didn't seem to be in the game.
I will be surprised if OSU doesn't beat whoever they play by double figures.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:11pm

Ryan Teel is doing his best to eliminate Rutgers from any BCS controversy. 6 for 14, 33 yards, and 2 interceptions, including a pick 6. At the beginning of the game, he was overthrowing open receivers; by the end of the half, he was Brunelling passes on 3rd down. 17-3 Cincinnati, at the half.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:11pm

152 - Besides, who wants to see Troy Smith shredding the ND defense for the second straight bowl game?

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:14pm

I am glad that MI received every break possible while losing. That eliminates any huffing and puffing about "what if" nonsense.

Instead MI fans can wonder about why Mike Hart wasn't asked to do anything until the 2nd half or a coaching staff who gets to the end of the game with no timeouts.

And Troy Smith is awesome.

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:16pm

Bill, don't think that I haven't considered that possibility! My only hope would be that the big win over Southern Cal would give us the boost we need to pull off an underdog win against OSU.

Or Troy Smith gets busted for taking booster money...again.

by CrazyBoB (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:25pm

Did they grease the football in this USC-Cal game. It seems like every five minutes there is a fumble, and about 10 diffrent players that can't recover it.

And btw is everyone else enjoying the fact that the couldn't stand Mcguire, so they have kicked him out of the boot for the last 5 weeks or so?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:27pm

I cannot stand that backwards camera angle they're using over and over at the USC/Cal game. It's like they want to use a Madden camera angle but it's too high for it, and the camera is zoomed much farther out so as players move down the field you can't see them, they just get smaller and smaller.

by Domer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:29pm

Plus it's making me woozy.

by BC Eagle (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:30pm

Way to go with the Maryland/BC call. As complete a win as I've seen at the Heights. If Va Tech wins tonight, then next week's BC/Miami and Maryland/Wake games decide the Atlantic Division. Sure we're completely disrespected and probably won't have a single team in the top-10 at season's end, but it's been a hell of a year to be a fan in the ACC.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:33pm

I agree that Michigan had it's shot.

It's early, but no one has yet to say that they want a rematch.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:36pm

Company showed up at halftime, so I couldn't give the drive recap sort of summaries I'd been doing. tOSU made enough plays offensively that their mistakes (center-QB exchange problems in Week 12 between two seniors?!?) and officiating that probably leaned Michigan's way didn't make the difference.

As to the rematch, Michigan shouldn't be there unless Rutgers or Notre Dame are the only one-loss teams. Yes, I'd rather see tOSU play a one-loss Louisville or West Virginia.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:37pm

Another pick thrown by Teel stops a Rutgers drive. Not looking good.

Score that doesn't surprise me at all: Virginia Tech 24, Wake Forest 6, 4th quarter. It seems like the top poll-ranked ACC team loses every week, doesn't it?

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:37pm

154: Disagree thoroughly with your assessment of Henne. I thought he played pretty damn well, esp. given the poor protection he was given (esp. at RG and RT) and the ever-present drops by WRs/TEs. He missed Manningham early on that fly pattern, yes, but otherwise he was very solid and went to his second and third options pretty well. He'll be drawing an NFL paycheck. This loss is on the Michigan defense, not to take anything away from Tressell's stellar game plan and the OSU offensive execution.

Re: 157 - I thought Hart was pretty well contained after Michigan's first drive. They went to him throughout the 1st half and he couldn't convert on third and short (no fault of his own, OSU slanted into the zone stretch plays well). Once Michigan started passing and loosening up the OSU defense, he had some more room to run in the 2nd half.

by NF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:42pm

How exactly will Notre Dame make it into the national championship against Ohio State? Really, even if they beat USC, both Notre Dame and Michigan have one loss, and while Michigan's was a 3-point loss to the #1 ranked team in the country, Notre Dame's was a blowout at home against the team that lost to #1 by 3 points on the road.

While we're on the subject, if Arkanasas wins all of its remaining games, does it have a better chance to make the national championship if the one team that beat it, USC, loses another game? That is, if the only team to beat it finishes worse in the standings so it doesn't compete for a spot in the national title game? Also, explain why a team that only lost to an average PAC-10 team is better than a team that only lost to one of the top-ranked teams in the nation? And can you tell me what the second team I am talking about is? Finally, can I write a paragraph that consists entirely of questions?

If you haven't figured it out by this point, I think ranking teams primarily by the games they've lost is not a good way to rank teams.

by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:44pm

157: "Instead MI fans can wonder about why Mike Hart wasn’t asked to do anything until the 2nd half"

I don't follow. The biggest catastrophe of the first half for Michigan was the defensive game plan and how Ohio State was shredding it. I wasn't saying at halftime, "Why isn't Mike Hart more involved?" I was saying, "what happened to our friggin' defense?"

I wasn't worried about Michigan's offense at any time - they moved the ball well most of the day, from the opening possession to the last one - but if you're going to play that poorly on defense, you deserve to lose, period. Kudos to OSU, they were the better team today. Clear off some mantle space, Troy Smith.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:52pm

Re: 167

Ranking teams by the teams they lost to is the best way of ranking teams. :)

Clearly, unbeaten Boise State is better than all the one-loss teams, because they beat Oregon State, who beat USC, who beat Auburn, who beat Florida. Boise State to the BCS Championship! (Never mind that the second-best team Boise beat is probably Hawaii, and the other 9 range from mediocre to very bad.)

Speaking of Boise, how sad is it that Miami has to win next week just to make the MPC Computer Bowl? Think they'd rather lose to avoid the trip?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:53pm

Bigger surprise (3Q): Cincinnati 20-Rutgers 3 or Ole Miss 17-LSU 7 in Baton Rouge? I wonder how much losing a chance to play in the SEC championship with Arkansas's win today affected the Tigers.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:55pm

Re: 169

That should be "Boise, who beat Oregon State, who beat USC, who beat Arkansas, who beat Auburn, who beat Florida."

Re: 170

LSU/Ole Miss. I think most saw Cincinnati as a trap for Rutgers.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:56pm

I didn't think pointing out the obvious defensive issues was necessary.

What I did wonder about is if you have a Heisman caliber RB why not use him? Vinny thinks the team was right to pass thinking OSU would continue to key on Hart. I thought MI should have run more.

But it's moot. OSU was/is better.

And someone tell me again why we should take Rutgers seriously?

by Mike W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:57pm

By some people's reasoning, all the Big East "contenders" look BETTER now because Cincinnati has shown how good they are.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:57pm

I agree with MDS. I think Michigan should get to play for the Nat'l Championship.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:58pm

Uh, Cincinnati just ran the QB bootleg run-pass option for an 83 yard TD pass to make it 27-3. Hey, Scarlet Knights, ready to have fun in the, uh, Sun Bowl?

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:59pm

Obviously, by the power of transitive opponents, tOSU is now 54 points better than Rutgers.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:01am

Re: 176

Alternatively, you could say that Rutgers is 26 points better than Ohio State.

Rutgers 33, Illinois 0
Ohio State 17, Illinois 10

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:03am

Sorry, I went away from the computer to watch the Rutgers game. (Yuck.) Mike Teel does suck. It's amazing he hadn't blown a game for them before now. The defense, on the other hand, I don't understand.

As I understand it, the way the 6-6 rule works is a)If you're 6-6, you can't take any of your conference's tie-in slots until all of the teams with winning records have been picked, and b)You can't take any at-large berths until all the 7-5 teams from any conference have been picked.

Right now, there are 2 definite at-large spots (Poinsettia and Motor City - does the Big 10 ever fill that slot?), and 1 more possible (MPC Computers if Miami and Virginia both lose next week). There are currently 5 more bowl-eligible teams than tie-in spots - 2 from the MAC and 1 each from the Big 12, Pac 10, and C-USA. Then it's my best guess which ones will end up with 7 wins. (I'm assuming the BCS at-larges go to Michigan, Notre Dame, Boise and an SEC team.)

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:06am

Re: 178

Right, Mike Teel. I conflated him with Ryan Hart, another underperfoming Rutgers QB.

As I type this, Teel throws yet another interception. Goodbye to any really fun BCS controversy.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:09am


Is that something that, as a fan, you WANT to see?

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:09am

Actually, Rutgers could still win the Big East if they win their next 2. (Ha!) But they're probably in the Texas Bowl, unless Arkansas drops their next 2, or Boise loses to Nevada, and the BCS takes West Virginia and Louisville - then they'd make the Gator or Sun.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:14am

177 - Damn these 'objective' measures! If there only was a way we could vote...

More seriously, I'd agree that 1) Michigan is probably the second-best team in the nation and 2) having a rematch isn't really the best idea. Heck, barring the UC defense collapsing like their professional town-mates, I suspect that just scheduling the bowls in the pre-BCS manner wouldn't have been objectionable.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:20am

Few would have realized before the game, but Nick Davila (though a senior, making his first career start since JUCO) seems like a major improvement over Cincinnati's normal QB, Dustin Grutza.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:21am

Cal just tried a 55 yard FG. It was short, and USC had a player in the end zone to return it. He got the ball at the back end of the end zone and returned it about 38 yards, out to about the 30 yard line. So, they lost 15 yards because they tried to return it. Now, the Vasher return for the Bears made perfect sense, because it was at the end of the half and there was no downside, but USC doing that in that situation doesn't seem very wise to me, unless you don't have confidence in your offense to score against Cal's defense.

by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:23am

Forget about the records for a moment, what matchup do people here think would be the most entertaining national championship game?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:24am

Re: 184

Well, 8 yards, because a missed FG normally goes back to the line of scrimmage in college. Cal looked way more prepared to stop the return than the Giants did last Sunday, for sure.

by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:25am

Also, who else think South Florida's logo is giving you the Inverted Bird?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:29am

169/171 -- college football was born for beatpaths.

and, i get to say "told you so" about #62/the apple cup, about which nobody outside washington cares this year. one of the home truths of the northwest is that the huskies own the cougars. it's almost paranormal -- QB hits at 50% and throws two picks; they can't run the ball at all but rip off a 77-yard TD and a clock-eating first-down sequence; they block a punt ...

betting uw in the apple cup against any line, sight unseen, is one of the safest wagers on the schedule. doubly true if a win would be meaningful for wsu and a loss would just rip their guts out.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:32am

Re #186
Duh. I can't believe I forgot that. In that case, you need a 46 yard return to break even, not a 53 yard one. Either way, I think it's an unwise decision.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:37am

All those who predicted that through three quarters there would be 59 points in tOSU-UM and only 18 in USC-Cal, raise your hands.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:44am

Dan Dierdorf... paging Dan Dierdorf!

by Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:44am

If Michigan gets a rematch against OSU, it will be the single biggest argument in favor of implementing a playoff. The main argument that people make for not having a playoff is that this makes every game count. Well, if you give a team a rematch for the NC, then that means the first game didn't count.

So if today's came counted, then there's no way Michigan should be in the NC game. They had their shot at OSU and lost.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:46am

That was a great throw and catch by Booty/Jarrett. Booty for threading it in there and Jarrett for taking one serious hit and hanging onto the ball.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:46am

Wow. Amazing touchdown catch by Jarrett in USC-Cal, to put USC up 16-9. He was shaken up and somehow held onto the ball in the end zone.

If this was an SEC game, everyone would be saying that it was the "tremendous SEC defense". Since it's not, people will just say the Pac 10 sucks :)

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:52am

Bowl Bubble Update: Arkansas St. and Cincinnati get their 6th win, so we're up to 68 bowl eligible teams. Best current guess:

Bubble Burst: Rice/SMU loser, Kent St., Washington St., Pittsburgh

On the Bubble: Kansas

Near the Bubble: Arkansas St.*, N. Illinois

(*A whole bunch of people are going to be rooting for Louisiana-Lafayette for the first time next week.)

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:54am

185 -- honestly speaking?

Notre Dame.

There'll be the hype machine. The subway alums, the accusations of favoritism ... there'll be smith shredding the secondary and the #1 pick in the draft trying to keep up. there'll be the coaching chess match. there'll be added bitterness for next year's michigan-nd tilt. there'll be a potential rivalry kindled between titanic programs, and potential mystique factor for either if a few weird bounces keep the domers in the game.

I can't name any plausible scenario by which the irish would objectively deserve it. But if the whole thing is wrestlemania, you might as well go for the most flamboyant dramatics.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:56am


Speaking of logos, why does the cardinal in Louisville's logo have teeth?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:00am

Touchdown, USC! Carroll goes for it on 4th and 2 at the California 40, and Steve Smith is past the entire California defense, no one within 10 yards of him, caught for the easy touchdown.

by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:01am

Calig23: the quality of your logo nit-picking blows my logo nit-picking out of the water. Well done.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:04am

So... looks like game over?! I hate Pete Carroll, but he must be a good coach, even if he seems like a childish a-hole... I suppose that's how I would be if I was a coach.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:04am

Tied at 9 with about 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Cal had 4th and a few inches at its own 29. They punted, and since then USC has driven the field for TDs on both of its drives.

I don't think there's any correlation there, but I don't think I'd ever trust my defense to get me the ball back if I coached a Pac-10 team.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:10am

Is anyone surprised that LSU had its potential game-winning extra point blocked?

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:10am

Wackiness in Death Valley: down 6, JaMarcus Russell hits Dwyane Bowe on 4&G with :18 left, but the XP gets blocked. Hello, extra FOOH-BAWW!

by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:11am

202 - I'm just surprised Russell didn't lose that fumble after the huge sack at midfield a few minutes earlier; it isn't like him to pass up the chance to make a critical turnover...

by Mike W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:14am

So it's probably 1) USC if they win out, 2) Arkansas if they win the SEC, 3) ND if they beat USC. Correct?

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:17am

Re: 205

I'd move Notre Dame and Florida ahead of Arkansas, plus add "5) Boise State, if hell freezes over."

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:22am


California has a backbreaker of a replay reversal (but a correct one) - Lynch with an excellent play with what seems like breaking tackles without going down. Every announcer gave up on the play, but not a single referee blew the whistle. Lynch runs for the touchdown while USC is just idling, also thinking the play was over.

On replay, his knee is down, and California fails on 3rd and 4th down (sack, incomplete). USC takes it over on downs with 3:00 to go.

Cal is the highest scoring team in the Pac-10 - holding them to a lone touchdown is pretty damn good. Is it enough to keep USC in the BCS driver's seat? The world may never know. At least until tomorrow afternoon.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:23am

Re #205
(1) USC if they win out
(2) Florida-Arkansas winner, unless that team loses (UF v. FSU, UA v. LSU)
(3) Notre Dame if they beat USC
Michigan is probably (2.5), for better or for worse. My hope is that the pollsters manipulate their votes to avoid the rematch, like pointlessly ranking Michigan 8th in the final regular season poll to lower their BCS rating. Selection Committee!

by Mike W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:23am

tOSU would absolutely murdelize Notre Dame. I'd love to see it.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:24am

Yeah, I don't think there's any way Arkansas passes Notre Dame if the Irish win out. ND might even have a tough time catching Michigan, depends in part what the voters say about it (ND will be indirectly hurt by Michigan losing to OSU).

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:24am

And LSU wins, when Ole Miss turns the ball over and David hits a FG. Color me a little disappointed.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:27am

Arkansas still has LSU and Florida to play, and both of them are both highly-ranked and have strong computer ratings. I think they have a chance to pass Notre Dame, though maybe my predictive powers are colored by the fact that I believe they deserve to pass Notre Dame.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:28am

I think it will be Michigan before it is Notre Dame. No matter how much the announcters want it, however, I don't think Michigan will remain above USC tomorrow. It's possible, but improbable I think.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:28am

I hate the fooking voters. It should be tOSU-USC or tOSU Arkansas... so I guess what I'm hoping is for USC to beat ND... oddly enough as I hate USC.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:31am

Re: 210

Notre Dame may have lost to Michigan, but don't underestimate the voters' inability to remember what happened more than a week ago. The same polls have West Virginia ahead of Louisville this week.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:32am

USC has to lead the country in terms of sideline shots of their cheerleaders in every telecast. It's wildly disproportinate to anything I've ever seen, even in the SEC. Not that I'm complaining.

ND-USC should be a very good game. USC's defense looks improved from last year, despite their performance in Corvallis. Brand new offensive backfield, of course. No bye week for Charlie Weis this year to prepare, but I'm curious to see how well he gameplans.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:33am

Re: 210: True, but that was a beatdown in South Bend. What happens to ND sticks in the national consciousness more than a Big East Thursday nighter.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:34am

Whoops, that was supposed to be in reference to 215.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:39am

Re: 217

Like Notre Dame-Florida State in 1993? :) Different circumstances, I know.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:58am

Re: 219: As you note, different circumstances. That FSU game went down to the end and ND held on 31-24.

In an unrelated story, I have the dreaded same day hangover. To hell with whoever invented the Bloody Mary.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:00am

According to the Colley ratings generator, USC slides ahead of Michigan... due to Wisconsin playing Buffalo. (Apparently, they're so bad, it doesn't matter if you beat them.) Moreover, Notre Dame stays barely ahead of Louisville due to UNC beating NC State.

by Solomon (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:36am

Russell and Vinny -- were you picking Michigan to win outright or merely cover the spread? Normally, you state when you think the underdog will win outright.
Russell -- if you thought Michigan would win on Ohio State's home field, why did you have Ohio State ahead of Michigan in your weekly poll? Btw -- my condolences on Schembechler passing away.
I am ecstatic about Ohio State's big win and do not want a rematch. First outright Big Ten title since 1984!

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:46am

re: 180 kevin11
I don't have a strong opinion either way. I can see the argument for not giving UMich another shot just based on the silliness of it.

The problem I have is that any system that wouldn't give them a shot (unless the computers hate them which I know isn't true) is basically a system that's admitting that it's choosing the championship based on what it wants to see.

by scottnot (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:51am

I didn't mean to imply Henne played poorly or he was the reason they lost. I was just comparing his performance to both Smith and a hypothetical high draft pick. For the most part his #1 receiver got open and he threw strong accurate passes. Where we disagree is the 14 incomplete passes the 2 sacks and a grounding. I didn't tape the game, but did take notes and I don't have him throwing to a third receiver once and only second option three times. I also disagree with respect to protection which I thought was good, and drops (1). How many times did he get drilled? Zip. Of the 14 incompletes I gave him 6 panics (his unwillingness to risk taking a big hit because of an irrational sense of actual pressure) and 5 bad passes. I don't think Smith panicked once, but he also took at least 4 big hits to get a couple more completions.
Of the 14 third downs they ran 3 and passed 11. Hart was stuffed once on a 3rd and 1, scored a td on 3rd and 1, and had 31 yard run on third and one. Looking back I think they needed to run more, win t.o.p. and keep the ball out of smith's hands. Mich had 12 possessions and the longest was 4:27 and only 3 more were at least 3 minutes. Of Hart's last 16 carries (5:30 left in the 2nd quarter) only 5 went for less than 5 yards that weren't td's and none of those 5 were on third or fourth down.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 3:16am

From a disinterested standpoint (99% NFL fan) I have a hard time imagining that the team which lost to number 1 by 3 pts on the road doesn't deserve to be ranked number 2.

The ONLY thing USC or Florida has on Michigan was that they lost weeks ago.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 3:20am


A rematch does not mean the first game didn't count at all. The first game matter quite a bit as the road team lost by 3. If the home team had lost by 20 I could see nixing a rematch, or if the road team was beat soundly. But a three pt loss on the road is pretty indicative of the teams relative strengths.

If the national championship isn't going to be played by the two best teams why have it at all? Why not just crown a champion after the regualr season?

by Denny Green (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 3:38am

"Why not just crown a champion after the regualr season?"

If you wanna crown 'em, then crown their ass!

by John Anderson (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 6:27am

Are you all nuts? Ohio is #1 and should play WI Badgers for the top spot in the Nation!!!

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:33pm

Ugh. I can't believe people are advocating a Michigan-Ohio State rematch. Please give another conference a chance and as of right now I don't care if it's a team from the Pac 10, Big East, or SEC. Allowing a rematch basically says that the rest of the country doesn't matter, we're just going to award the championship to the "best" team in a subpar Big 10.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:59pm

We're getting technical here, which is fine. Technically, the NC game is #1 v #2, not the best team vs the second best team.

There's a simple solution that the NCAA could enact- simply state that the #2 team is the highest ranked team that has yet to play the #1 team. Therefore, if the rankings looked like this at the end of the season:

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Florida

Florida would automatically elevate to #2.

I seriously doubt the coaches or Harris poll will have Michigan ranked highly enough to put them in the NC game, but we'll see.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:24pm

ESPN is reporting that Steve Spurrier has eemrged as the lead candidate for the soon-to-be vacant Miami job.

Not to brag, but I posted that rumor here a few weeks ago! :D

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 3:00pm

Projected BCS Standings have Michigan at #2, 0.06 points ahead of USC, due to being ranked a solid #2 in the computers. USC is a unanimous #3 in the computers.

However, if USC beats Notre Dame and UCLA, these standings are reversed, and USC takes the #2 spot in the computers (at least, #2 in the Colley Matrix, and Sagarin has said that USC would move up to #2 if they win out as well - given that the computers outside of Billingsley tend to agree, one can project that they'd stay there).

Florida is a distant fourth. The game against Western Carolina hurt them more than they realized it would when they scheduled it. In fact, even if Florida beats Arkansas, they remain fourth, behind Michigan. In fact, even if LSU beats Arkansas, and Florida beats Arkansas, USC still moves to #2 in the computers if they win out.

It will be interesting to see what happens. If USC beats Notre Dame, but not by much, will voters say "Michigan did better" and move Michigan up, despite not playing?

In reality, it's all up to the voters. USC took #2 in the Coaches and #2 in the Harris polls this week, by a hair over Michigan. They can manipulate the vote as they so desire, to ensure a rematch, or prevent one.

by BB (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 4:47pm

Good to see the voters were paying attention, right now it looks exactly the way I would have it -- USC will be ahead of Michigan if they win out, otherwise it will be Michigan. I'm strongly of the opinion that a one-loss USC team should go because they scheduled a non-conference slate against three real teams. That sort of scheduling should be rewarded in my opinion.

But if Notre Dame takes out USC (something I really doubt but it could happen), Michigan has proven itself through its 3 point loss at the 'Shoe and its pounding of ND on the road. Florida had a weak non-conference schedule and has not looked great at all of late (other than pounding a bad 1-AA team). Arkansas's loss is akin to Notre Dame, getting pummeled at home. Granted, they weren't at full strength, but that margin suggests that even at full strength they would have lost. Michigan beat ND soundly in South Bend.

Tarrant is right, it's all up to the voters because USC will probably hit #2 in the computers by the end of the year, and it looks like the voters are seeing it the same way I do, at least so far. If that results in a rematch, so be it, if it's anything approaching yesterday we'll have two great national championship games in a row.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 6:32pm

Michigan is #3 in the AP, which is shocking.

That means that it'll be either USC or Michigan against Ohio State. I don't agree with it, but UM has a much stronger chance to gain a rematch than I had envisioned.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 7:19pm

Fairly decent game. I enjoyed it. I really like the way it turned out - Michigan got enough breaks (bad snap fumbles, drive-extending penalties, 3-0 turnover margin) that they really don't have an excuse for not winning. Aside from home field, they couldn't have had a better shot, but still came up short. Good, exciting game, no room for whining or what-ifs, and most importantly, the Buckeyes won.

Now the wait begins. I'm pretty sure OSU is going to the championship game - they travel well, after all. The question is, who will they play, and will there be any tickets left over for their fans by the time we find out? I really should've gotten tickets earlier, with the idea that I could sell them in the unlikely case the Buckeyes lost somewhere along the way, but oh well. Now fans of the other contenders might try snatching some up just in case, and selling them to crazed Buckeye fans if they don't make it. Either you get to the game, or turn a profit. Whatever. There are positives and negatives about the Big Ten season ending several weeks before the others, but the good probability that the NC game will have about 75% OSU fans is one of the unstated benefits.

Too bad I stayed at my boss's house too long after the game, and didn't run out to play the lottery. The Pick 4 came up 4-2-3-9, paying out 5 grand on a $1 ticket. Apparently the lottery commission took a major hit (about $2.1 million in payouts, they took in only $300K), which will make the schools suffer. If anyone still believes that lotteries help school funding, that is. It was only 16 minutes from the end of the game to the drawing, so there were a lot of people eagerly waiting to play the score.

Anyway, if I didn't say it before, I thought Michigan gave very good account of themselves yesterday. A lot of teams would've curled up and died in that atmosphere down 14, then down 14 again and kicking off after the half. That they kept fighting back is a credit to them.

Some lingering questions:

1) How long, exactly, do you have to wait before running through the long snapper? It sure seemed like he kept his head down a long, long time. Is there any limit to that? Do coaches teach them to keep their heads down to draw penalties or negate the inside rush, like punters are taught to keep their legs up extra long for penalty reasons? Can he charge upfield with his head down and if he happens to hit someone, is it a penalty on them? These are the things I need to know when an obscure rule comes up.

2) Michigan has 4th and just over 5, punts, OSU is offsides. Why not take the penalty and go for it? The way they'd been running it to that point, I was afraid they would've. They also passed up a 4th and short near midfield, if I recall. I think they let OSU off the hook there.

3) How do Michigan fans think Herbstreit did in the booth? As an OSU fan, I thought he maintained "neutrality" as well as you can expect, but that might be just from my biased view. I'm not sure if he was overcompensating in so staunchly defending that last iffy PI, or if it was just his QB it's-always-PI instincts taking over, but I thought he was being very careful to praise/defend Michigan at every chance. Oh, and I think ABC did very well with their coverage of Bo, and was extremely pleasantly surprised with the announcers' restraint. Good job, guys.

4) After Michigan's last TD, did my ears deceive me, or did Musburger ask whether they'd go for 2, and if they'd onside kick? Even Dirk Koetter would know to onside there, right?

5) After the onside, why did OSU hand off? Given the time it takes the officials to spot the ball, they probably would've been able to run out the clock by kneeling. If not, how about QB sneaks, to make sure there's a pile that'll take 15 seconds to break up at least? And why snap it with 7 seconds left on the play clock? Was anyone else wondering what the heck they were doing there?

6) Was anyone else wondering what the announcers were talking about when they raved about Michigan's defensive adjustments? I'm sure they made some, but which one exactly made the center snap two of the worst snaps ever? The "adjustments" they got the most praise for seemed to be 1) getting Ginn to drop a few easy passes (not difficult - he still reminds me too much of Braylon Edwards) and 2) cause two horrible snaps. Ummm.... not sure the defense had much to do with either.

OK, I'm done. Time to enjoy the end-of-season battle royale. I have no idea who'll win, but my prediction is: OSU 35, Opponent 13. This is based on nothing but homerism, of course. But it very well could happen.

by DMP (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 8:28pm

Agreed with Trogdor's issue 1. Seems to me a guy can just keep his head down and throw everyone off. That's only fair if he's not allowed to move from his spot.

I don't have examples I remember anymore, but I felt during the first portion of the game Herbs couldn't say something bad about OSU, no matter what happened, and everything he said about UM sounded like a back-handed compliment a little bit. Just a little bit. In the second half, with OSU in control, then he started lauding UM as a valiant opponent who came to play -- which would actually be a good compliment to OSU since they beat such a valiant opponent.

Herbs did say before the game during the week that he thought only a close UM loss could give enough sail for a rematch. It came to pass, but I wonder where we'd be without the turnovers. I think it'll between USC and Florida if they win out, and it should be Michigan if they don't.

Also, how painful to watch the last day of the JLS/Stanton era with no Stanton and the shadow of JLS remaining. I bet JLS goes to Wyoming or something like that and is 11-1 within 3 years. He's great against little teams. After watching MSU and Florida for the past few years, I'm with those who think the spread-option offenses don't work against the better teams in the big conferences. There you go.

by DH (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 11:12am


I'm glad he got a few carries, too :) Especially the one that went 50+ yards for a TD. The funny thing is, it wasn't the only 50+ yard TD run of the day by OSU :)
Yeah, the turnovers Mich got did help them. If not for them it would have been a blowout because Michigan was so outplayed.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:46pm

Wish I could help you with my opinion of Herbie, Trogdor. Musberger was so bad that I couldn't stand to listen for very long.

Yeah, I saw Smith snap the ball then, and wondered what the problem was. It's not like he doesn't have experience in close games. Maybe he just had the feeling they were going to get a first down and it wouldn't matter ...

If that's as badly as Ohio State has played all season (although they sucked against Illinois too), this was a good time to get it out of their system. Michigan sure didn't take advantage of opportunities when they had them, and they really needed to. The Buckeyes' offense really moves the ball well when it's rolling. People talk about Purdue and Northwestern bringing the spread offense to the Big Ten, but you don't have to line up with 5 WR to move the ball quickly, and both UM and OSU have been moving in that direction (Ohio State more so this year).

Rule 9-1-2-r, I believe: When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap. (Page 119 in the PDF for this year.) The likelihood of an official measuring that second correctly in all instances? Pretty low, I'd say, especially because it isn't going to sync with any other on-field events.

I think that those who are opposed to seeing a rematch should be rooting for one - the BCS won't create a no-rematch rule unless they end up with a rematch that sucks. (There's no guarantee that one would, though. If the turnover battle isn't so one-sided, OSU might have had a big win, but you never know.) I think it's more likely that the worst-case rematch will occur, OSU blowing out UM in the title game than the worst-case anti-rematch, OSU blowing out (#2 team) and UM blowing out their Rose Bowl opponent.

I'd like to see Michigan playing in the title game from a homer perspective, but from a fan's perspective, I don't really care. I don't think the BCS is as much about #1 vs. #2 as they'd like to think it is. I don't believe you can identify #1 vs. #2 in most years (right now, of course, we all know who #1 is), and with a playoff, you don't care about #1 vs. #2, it's about playing to be #1 and #2.

Travis, I was thinking more in terms of SOS (having an unbeaten Michigan on ND's schedule would have been better than having a once-beaten Michigan), although you're right, voters can't remember beans for the most part.

(practicing) Um ... go Irish?

Wow, that didn't feel right at all. :)

by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 5:35pm

236: "After watching MSU and Florida for the past few years, I’m with those who think the spread-option offenses don’t work against the better teams in the big conferences."

Actually, they work pretty well. Here's a list of teams that won BCS bowls last year:

-Penn State
-Ohio State
-West Virginia

Guess what they all had in common? Spread offenses. They averaged over 34 points/game in those four bowl games, against USC, ND, Georgia, and FSU. Putting up almost 5 touchdowns a game against three BCS conference champions and Notre Dame is pretty good if you ask me.

And this year, teams with spread offenses are the highest scoring teams in the Big East(WVU), Big 12(Texas), and Big Ten(OSU).

You still need the right personnel and coaching to make it work, and the team won't do well no matter what if the defense isn't good, so every team that runs a spread offense isn't going to magically succeed. Still, it has been a very successful offense scheme against all levels of defense.

by Weekly Journalist (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 5:42pm

People are underestimating Cincinatti! Look at their losses this year! All to top 10 teams, and close losses to OSU, VTech, and Louisville.