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Great game by Florida AND an atrocious outing by thoroughly psyched-out OSU. If this year's often surprising bowl game results don't make a strong case for a playoff, I don't know what does. In addition to Florida, USC, LSU, and Boise State all looked like championship teams, though Boise State damn near screwed it up by going into a shell when they were way ahead, rather than keeping on the attack. Boise State just might be able to handle the speed of Florida and USC better than Ohio State and Michigan did ... but we'll never know. And I thought Wisconsin was lucky to not play Ohio State. Perhaps it was Ohio State that was lucky not to play Wisconsin. But above all, congrats, Gators for a stunningly well-conceived and executed game.
posted by ballhawk at 02:50 AM on January 09
Yup. Definitely not transitive. It's all about the way teams match up. The "Bow Down to Entropy" rankings have an excellent and amusing analysis of this. If I recall correctly, Bowling Green was #1 in 2003 by transitive logic from the losses of all the teams that were genuinely considered for the national championship that year.
posted by ballhawk at 11:53 AM on January 03
Yeah, what a great game and story! That Statue of Liberty was mind-blowingly well-executed. Boise State proved their worthiness in a big way. As for Boise State needing trickery to beat Oklahoma, one can also argue that Oklahoma needed Boise State to play way too conservatively to even let Oklahoma back into the game. Anyway, good to see them get a decent bowl matchup, unlike the arguably even better 2003 Miami of Ohio (quaterbacked by a fellow named ben Roethlisberger)and 2004 Utah teams, both of which finished with as good a record as any major college team, and slaughtered their far inferior bowl opponents. Definitely the best finish I've seen. I do think an 8-team playoff would be better than what we have now, especially since I suspect that 2-loss USC is really the best team this year, and Boise State proved at very least worthy of a shot.
posted by ballhawk at 06:18 PM on January 02
All the Big Ten teams that lost bowl games (except arguably Purdue) and winner Wisconsin were playing teams that finished higher in their respective conferences than they did -- sometimes MUCH higher, as in the case of the very close Texas/Iowa game. And the main reason Purdue finished as high as they did in the Big Ten was the fact that they played neither Michigan nor Ohio State. I don't think the bowl results prove the Big 10 was stronger than the SEC this year, but they certainly suggest the SEC was not the far superior conference many thought. There does appear to be a ratings bias favoring certain programs, as demonstrated last year when Wisconsin tore apart Auburn and still ended up ranked lower afterward. But the Pac 10 certainly appears better than many thought, just as the Big 12 did last year. And the WAC and Big East are looking WAY better than most people expected going into the bowls this year. As for the "home field advantage," a computer analysis by the fellow who does the very good "Bow Down to Entropy" computer ratings does show a definite home advantage for USC in Pasadena, based on expected performance vs. Rose Bowl results. He was also also one of the few who favored USC over Michigan going into this year's game. And it's obvious to anyone who's been paying attention that Big Ten teams have recently done much better down there against non-California teams. But again, I don't think the home advantage can account for THIS year's lopsided Rose Bowl result. Nor do I think layoff was an advantage for either team. Decades ago the Big Ten was considered so superior to the then-Pac 8 they didn't let the Big Ten Conference winner go to the Rose Bowl 2 years in a row until it became obvious that was not the case. They may have intended a Pac 8 home field advantage to that end, too. Of course that has all changed.
posted by ballhawk at 09:11 AM on January 02
USC played a great game. USC may in fact be the best team when they really come to play. Instead of killing their own momentum by trying to take the air out of the ball, like most teams would, USC kept on the attack, and put UM away. Rule #1 in any sport: keep doing what got you the lead, instead of going into a shell and running the clock when there's still plenty of time remaining. Too many teams blow big leads this way (paging Minnesota ...). But Michigan has NEVER played up to their potential against USC in a Rose Bowl. Too close to home for USC: not an even playing field, by any stretch. The crowd noise when Henne was calling the signals shouted the story. I personally don't think there should be ANY bowl games too close to home for one team or the other, if it can be avoided. Still, I think USC would beat UM this year 9 out of 10 times on a neutral field: too quick, too imaginative, poor matchup for slow, dull, and predictable Michigan. How many times did UM run into the center for no gain on 2nd and long? AWFUL strategy. As for UM vs. Florida, it could be a totally different matchup. The only way to tell would be for the teams to play.
posted by ballhawk at 10:53 PM on January 01
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