Ohio State vs. Michigan. For weeks, there has been an ongoing drumbeat for that ultimate game. It’s getting louder. By Nov. 18 in Columbus, Ohio, it may be defeaning. To say nothing of the potential noise on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., if the Buckeyes and Wolverines stage a rematch at the BCS Championship Game.
Script Ohio vs. Hail to the Victors … in the desert? Don’t rule it out. As they say, there’s a lot of football remaining between now and the “BCS Selection Show” on Dec. 3. So many things will happen. The Big East will weed itself out (Louisville has the inside track if it beats Rutgers on Thursday). The SEC will crown a champion (Florida-Auburn rematch? Don’t forget Arkansas.).
Then there’s the unexpected — such as Oregon State’s 33-31 upset of USC that has swung open all sorts of possibilities.
Seemingly, there’s only one sure thing: Michigan at Ohio State is a play-in game for the BCS big show. Given Ohio State’s remaining schedule (at Northwestern) and Michigan’s remaining slate (at Indiana), it seems a slam dunk for there to be 11-0 Buckeyes and 11-0 Wolverines meeting in one of the biggest regular season games in college football history.
1. How can an Ohio State-Michigan rematch happen? Almost certainly, each of the Big East schools must lose a game. And if that’s the case, an unbeaten Ohio State-Michigan winner goes to Glendale as No. 1. The Ohio State-Michigan loser could still head the list of one-loss teams at No. 2, particularly if the Buckeyes and Wolverines stage a classic.
Let’s say it’s decided in the final minute or on the final play. Let’s say a controversial call is involved. Then there would be a clamor for a rematch. It probably would come down to perception of the pollsters. If season-long No. 1 Ohio State loses the regular season game in a close one, the odds probably increase for a BCS title game rematch.
2. Would an Ohio State-Michigan rematch be a good thing? At this point, I’d say no. There are plenty of things that can happen, but I don't think there will be a shortage of worthy title-game opponents for the winning Buckeyes or Wolverines. Plus, an Ohio State-Michigan rematch would be a replay of something I despise about the BCS system. To play for a national title in this current non-playoff system, I absolutely believe you must win your conference title. How can you place such value on conference titles, then ignore those accomplishments when it comes to staging a national title game?
One-loss Ohio State or one-loss Michigan playing for the national title would be a slap in the face of, let’s say, a 12-1 SEC champion, an unbeaten Big East champion or even an 11-1 USC Pac-10 champion (don’t write off the Trojans just yet).
We’re in for a fascinating finish. And the Nov. 18 Michigan-Ohio State game could be just the start of something big.
Q: Will there be firings as a result of Arizona’s pitiful season?
—Mr. Willie Wildcat, Waco, Texas
A: First of all, Mr. Willie Wildcat, is that your real name? Oh, well. Never mind.
This was supposed to be a breakthrough season at Arizona. But after a really encouraging 16-13 season-opening win against BYU, things went south pretty quickly. The Wildcats are 3-5 and probably won’t be favored to win again, meaning a third consecutive three-win season for Mike Stoops at Arizona.
Stoops tried to shake things up, making the mid-season move of elevating Dana Dimel to co-offensive coordinator, where he shares duties with Mike Canales. It might be a precursor for more offseason moves on the offensive staff. Arizona is averaging only 10 points in league games, not exactly the recipe for success in the Pac-10.
Either way, we haven’t seen the guy who dropped his redshirt last season and led the Wildcats to victories against Oregon State and UCLA. And Tuitama isn’t alone. The Wildcats haven’t had playmakers or depth at running back or receivers, while also receiving subpar play from the offensive line.
I know there might not be much basis for optimism at the moment, but I think you ride it out with Stoops. Arizona hasn’t had a winning season since 1998 — and has gone through four head coaches during that stretch. Stoops at least deserves to see it through the development of his first recruiting class. Next season, needless to say, is critical. On the positive side, Arizona hoops season is right around the corner.
The Fighting Irish have a promising future based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path, and program power.
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
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