Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Taking One for the Team

I have learned two things in the past 24 hours:
1). I'm really OK with Michigan not being in the title game. I do not blame Florida fans for this, just, well, you can see Geoff's list below. Florida fans, seriously, we're not mad at you. We're mad at the system and we're mad at the forces who would seek to exploit that system. We're not mad at you, but please understand we're just not rooting with you.
2). Perhaps, yes, maybe some good can come out of this.

In a discussion Sunday, our mutual friend Mike raised an interesting point, one which I saw backed up in a comment on Braves and Birds. To wit, what if Michigan getting "screwed" is the straw that breaks the camel's back? It wouldn't be unprecedented (as far as I can tell on some of the older ones):

1). Michigan's 6-4 loss in the vote of the athletic director's for the 1973 championship after the repeal of the "no repeat rule" lead to the implementation of a series of tie-breaker rules for the Big Ten standings.
2). Michigan's 30-2-1 record without going to a bowl between 1972-1974 helps lead to a change in the Big Ten's rules about non-Rose Bowl bids.
3). Michigan State's victory in 2001 due, in no small measure, to a Michigan State employee keeping time for the game leads the Big Ten to not only change the manner in which time is officially kept for the game, but also lead to a discussion of instituting and implementing replay in the Big Ten.
4). The Sun Belt officials' general lack of competence in last year's Alamo Bowl, forcing Lloyd to use two time outs to give video replay a chance to work led, in part, to the implementation of the coach's challenge system (stolen from the Mountain West) across Division I-A this year.

Now, the key difference is that this is a large scale issue, one which has a lot of money riding on it and one which has been broken for many years. If Auburn, another tradition rich program, can be so deeply worked over (oh and by the way, they are clearly the biggest victims of the trava-sham-mockery that is the BCS thus far), then why should Michigan be any different? Perhaps Notre Dame needs to be screwed over in order to get people to listen (actually, wait, Fox doesn't care what happens to NBC's team)? Hmm, we'll need a much beloved team to get worked over in order for this to happen. In a balkanized college football landscape, it's hard to find one team that has a national following and whom isn't also equally hated. Perhaps Navy or Army fit the bill? I mean, who, save Notre Dame, doesn't have an affinity for our service academies, especially in a time of war? Maybe if they were being left out, we could get Congress to act! Yeah, because Congress makes everything better!

We're stuck with it. We're stuck complaining about it. And, I do believe, that's actually what the powers that be want.

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