VETTEL: Weekly Musings # 12

Well it’s now official, the BCS will give us exactly what college football power brokers feared and its critics yearn for, a complete joke. The end result of this weekend’s action and subsequent new BCS rankings is that we are virtually guaranteed a national title game that chooses one fortunate one-loss team in a major conference over two or three others.

Michigan did not slip a single notch after its 42-39 at Ohio State. While many will scream that it’s not right or fair, it doesn’t bother me all that much. It was an exhilarating game (what I got to see of it anyway) and you had to come away thinking these were two of the nation’s best teams. I actually thought the Wolverines would be behind Southern Cal but ahead of the Gators. The three teams are so close in the points battle that they could end up in virtually any order. Michigan leads USC by .007 with the Gators .035 behind the Trojans. That is not insurmountable. Michigan would actually benefit more than Florida would by a Notre Dame upset of USC because it would add value to the Wolverines’ win over the Irish. Florida is closer to Michigan than it is to fifth-place Notre Dame while Arkansas is just .013 further back in sixth.

Ok the heck with the stupid numbers here are some fact that justify the current standings. If you look at this week’s BCS, Michigan has played four other ranked teams (Ohio St., N.D., Penn St. and Wisconsin). USC has played three (Ark., Neb., and Cal.) and will play another when they face Notre Dame. The gators have also played three (LSU, Aub., and Tenn.) and will get one more with Arkansas in the SEC Championship game.

You could argue that Michigan has the “best loss” of the three with its setback at Ohio State AND the best win by beating Notre Dame. Based on those facts, the three schools should be very close.

The next few weeks will give time for more detailed analysis of how many teams with winning records each has played and cumulative opponent won/loss records and that sort of thing. Until then realize that Michigan has done all it can to earn credit while others, notably the Gators still have opportunities to impress. There’s still much to be decided. Now to some other musings from this week in college football.

Noles’ celebrate Bowden’s firing, bowl eligibility —– You gotta think Jeff Bowden was part of the management team for FEMA during the Katrina disaster. How else can you explain repeated incompetence, constant praise and reassurance and a $ 500K severance package? I’d take that package from Gator Country today and I would even drag the site into the mud! And how weird is it to see the once-proud Noles happy to announce they are bowl eligible in mid-November? FSU is still a dangerous opponent for the Gators Saturday, but they are 14-and-10 the last two seasons.

So much for Cinderella —– Rutgers turned out to be an ugly stepsister to college football’s powers after all. The Scarlet Knights unbeaten run ended with a thud with a 30-11 butt-kicking at Cincinnati. It was a great run while it lasted, but at least they helped make the Bearcats bowl eligible.

Painful years for the Zookers —– Illinoize ended its season with a 27-16 loss to Northwestern, finishing up 2-and-10 for the campaign and 4-and-19 under Ron Zook. The Fightin’ Zookers did show promise in falling to Ohio State by just seven points and Wisconsin by six. But they also found a way to lose to Ohio University and Syracuse. He must know significant improvement is a must in year three no matter how low the expectations are up there.

Long summer ahead for Mike Shula —– After a fourth consecutive loss to Auburn and a disappointing 6-and-6 record the folks on The Capstone have to be wondering if they overreacted to last year’s 10-and-2 campaign. (I can help with that.. YES YOU DID!) Shula is now 26-and-23 as a head coach and needs to find himself a top notch offensive coordinator. His will be the hottest seat in the nation next year.

SEC/ACC rivalry week —– One form of settling the debate between conferences is head-to-head play and the SEC and ACC have three games this week to get that argument heated up. Florida visits FSU, Georgia hosts Georgia Tech and South Carolina travels to Clemson. You can take these results plus a couple of SEC/ACC Bowl matchups to fuel your arguments in the off-season. However the SEC better win these, because the bowl games involve much higher picks from the ACC than the SEC. For example the Chic-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta gets second choice from the ACC, but fifth among SEC teams (sixth if the SEC gets two in the BCS).