It's Official: Ohio State vs. Florida
All right, there's not a ton to talk about regarding the relative merits of Michigan and Florida, because it's been discussed ad nauseum all over the CFB blogosphere and the MSM alike. I just have a few things on my mind about a lot of the points being brought up.
Before I say anything else, I suppose I should reiterate that I'm one of those curmudgeons who think that rematches are horrible for college football and should be avoided when possible. When you're playing a game of 21 on a pick-up basketball court, oftentimes the person who reaches the 21-point goal first must hit another shot in order to "prove it." I personally believe that in a college football season with so few games played, no team should ever have to "prove it" or validate a victory over an opponent. Yes, I would be saying the exact same thing if OSU had lost to Michigan (I said it, before that game was played, numerous times).
Was it a political move -- a "let's do what we can to avoid a rematch" kind of thing -- on the part of the coaches and Harris poll voters to put Florida in ahead of Michigan? Almost undoubtedly (and, as I said before, I personally don't have too much of a problem with that). But don't act like Florida didn't have a very good case to be made. While the motivations of the pollsters may seem transparent, the on-the-field results of each team's games give the voters a metric ton of plausible deniability.
The argument that is driving me crazy from Michigan fans is "how can we get passed even though we didn't play," and, more specifically, the classic "if you thought we were second-best two weeks ago, how can that not be true now?" Aside from the fact that this argument just assumes that Michigan is the amorphously-defined "better team," I've always hated the notion that pollsters for some reason should vote based on how they voted the week before. Pollsters should be able to take a step back each and every week, examine the resumes of the respective teams (i.e., what they've accomplished on the field) up to that point, and vote accordingly. It is not at all unreasonable for a voter to look at the resumes compiled by Michigan and Florida and decide that the Gators have the more impressive slew of victories.
I've actually seen a bunch of people complaining about Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist "lobbying" hard for Florida during the SEC title game broadcast. Two things here: a.) they are kinda sorta employed by the SEC, so what did you expect them to do? And b.) how is this any different than Brent Musberger, Bob Davie, and Kirk Herbstreit, who ostensibly have no conference affiliation, repeating constantly during the OSU-UM game that "these are clearly the two best teams in the country"? Furthermore, Herbstreit took that attitude back to the College Gameday Final crew, where the analysts and hosts -- almost without exception -- clamored for a rematch. While every other team that had a viable shot at the title game still had two games left to play! If a Michigan fan is angry about Danielson and Lundquist's behavior this past Saturday, imagine how USC and Florida fans felt during the weeks surrounding the OSU-Michigan game. The people who stick to this whole "but we're the second-best team! Everyones says so!" argument, as well as the people who try to bash the "politicking" going on, are ignoring the media fellatio Michigan got leading up to, and even after, the November 18 game, which almost definitely contributed to this entitled attitude that Michian is clearly superior to Florida, when the resumes indicate that they're about as close as can be (the "evil" computers bear this out: the two teams finished in a literal tie in the computer polls).
This time around, Florida got the nod. If I were a Michigan fan, I may be furious, I don't know. As it is, now I'm just looking forward to bowl season. We'll be starting up the annual MWB Bowl Pick 'Em in earnest in a few weeks. Good luck to Michigan in Pasadena.