Rematch talk is a shame

OSU FootballLess than 24 hours after the “real” national title game, sportswriters are already clamoring for an OSU/UM rematch in Glendale. Clearly, they’re just upset that UM lost.

Some Michigan players are hoping for it, too. A classless Mike Hart said:

    “I guarantee if we play them again it would be a whole different game… We should have got them the first time.

    “It hurts. Whenever you don’t beat Ohio State it hurts. I’ve got one year left and I’m going to get it this year.

    “We knew we could run all day on that defense. It ain’t nothing special.”

There’s no need to mock UM’s ‘vaunted’ defense. The numbers speak for themselves: Ohio State’s O-line totally owned the line of scrimmage. But let’s put Hart’s comments in perspective… Michigan was given every opportunity in the world to win this game, and failed to do it. Every break in the game went Michigan’s way, every bounce of the ball and every questionable penalty. Consider just a few opportunities given to UM:

    OSU gift wrapping three turnovers for the UM defense (one was created by PI, but not called). Result: 10 points
    A phantom PI call on third-and-long, giving UM a first down. Any other place in the country, Michigan would have punted. In the Big Ten, UM gets an automatic first down. After that egregious call, Michigan managed a TD.
    A never-before-in-history-called penalty for “roughing the snapper” on a punt attempt. I don’t care who you are, or what team you pull for – that was a disgusting call.

In short, 24 of Michigan’s points came from the breaks that fell its way (including up to 17 points from breaks given to them from the officiating crew alone).

So here you are, the number two team in the country, given every single advantage you could possibly have. You have the intangible motivation from losing a legend in your program the day before, giving your players something to rally around. All the balls bounce your way. All the calls are going your way. You enjoy a +3 turnover margin. Your offense is firing on all cylinders, performing better than it has all year. And you have the best defense in the country, in fact, the best defense in the history of your school’s fine tradition.

Yet you still get soundly beaten in every statistical category.

Pittman runs for a 56-yard TD against a UM defense that only allows 29 total yards per game

Some analysts are saying that “the game was closer than the score showed.” I disagree. I think the “game wasn’t anywhere near as close as the score showed.” At no time was Michigan ever in control of the game. Again, subtract anywhere from 17 to 24 points from UM’s 39-point total, and that’s actually how well Michigan “played” on Saturday.

But enough about the game. Why doesn’t UM deserve a do-over?

  1. OSU_UM_signIt’s unfair to OSU. Just because the media doesn’t like the outcome of Saturday’s game, doesn’t mean they get to whine and stamp their feet until they get what they want. And, as Keith at Buckeye Commentary eloquently points out, OSU doesn’t need to, nor should be requested to, validate its victory against Michigan in the BCS title game.

    For both teams, the title was played for on Saturday, November 18th. The winner earned the right to advance. Does it seem fair that the loser should earn that same right?

  2. It’s unfair to Michigan. If UM plays OSU in Glendale, it’s a lose-lose situation for UM. A consensus title is only possible for OSU. If the Wolverines were to win, the AP would probably vote OSU #1 afterwards, splitting the title. If the Wolverines were to lose that game, it would leave the rest of the country wondering if USC, Florida, etc. could have done better. Not to mention that Carr would probably lose his job.
  3. It’s unfair to the other one-loss teams who deserve the same shot that UM got this weekend. Pundits claim that, “hey, Michigan’s only loss was to the #1 team.” That’s an illogical way to think, and compares apples to oranges. If OSU and USC play in Glendale, and OSU loses, could the fans say, “Hey! OSU’s only loss was to the national champion Trojans! So we should get another shot!” Ridiculous. Where does it stop? Best two-out-of-three? Four of seven? Are we heading towards a “World Series” approach to college football titles?

    Besides, how could anyone think it is fair to leapfrog UM, who didn’t even win its conference, over a one-loss Pac10 or SEC conference champion? Especially when the Big 10 isn’t, shall we say, “anything to write home about” this year.

  4. It’s unfair to fans, for reasons that are patently obvious. A BCS national title game between OSU and UM would alienate and anger millions of college football fans. A matchup would be bad for college football as a whole.
  5. Michigan will probably be the favorite to win the title next year. With a bowl win (or even a close bowl loss), UM will undoubtedly be preseason #1 in 2007. With its fantastic offense & defense largely returning, and all its big games next year at home, UM has a chance to go wire-to-wire as the BCS title favorite. Hart will no doubt be the Heisman favorite. Tell me, how awesome would it be for the Big Ten to win back-to-back Heismans and national titles? Let OSU have the title shot it has earned, and let UM start putting eggs in its basket for next year.

Congratulations to OSU and Michigan on a great season. Fans of both teams should wish OSU well in Glendale, and UM well in Pasadena.

Pictures credit & copyright: Jim Davidson at the O-Zone.


  1. What about the talk we would hear if we had to beat them again in regards to, “Well that’s great, but beating a team twice doesn’t prove anything”. It just cheapens the whole thing…

    Of course, cheap must be the new black right now as Michigan didn’t move in the any poll except USA Today. It isn’t just the media, but its also the Computers who almost unanimously have Michigan at number 2. This’ll be interesting. Its just too bad we can’t kick the crap out of Notre Dame…

  2. Great post and I hope somebody starts a internet campaign to stop this b.s. Did you see the scabs at ESPN/ABC start to hype a potential rematch in Glendale??? How pathetic. They call “The Game” for a reason because its the only game that really matters for 364 days coaches/players plan for this game. Titles, trophies, awards, championships ride on this one game that should only be played in Ohio or Michigan. To hear the talking heads trying to sell the voters and America on this idea is absurd and these people should stay out of our business.
    What makes this game so great is that win or Lose, you have to live with outcome for an entire 364 days. Theirs no redemption, theirs no revenge in 50 days. Thats what makes this game so magical, thats what makes it “The Game”

  3. Michigan fan here.

    I typically don’t agree with what you guys say (go figure)… but I agree with your stance on a rematch. I also agree that the final score was a lot closer than the game actually was. Our defense was bad. Your offense was incredible. I’m just happy to never have to face Troy Smith (and likely TGinnJr again).

    Ohio State beat us. No excuses. Michigan had a chance and did not get the job done. I am more than willing to sit back and watch USC or Florida get smacked by the buckeyes.

    Great season. Congrats. I am looking forward to playing you again next year.

  4. One small correction, the D did manage to make UM punt again after the ‘roughing’ the snapper penalty. So technically they didn’t gain anything from that as after the punt was OSU’s third TD drive.

  5. Palpie beat me to it — we stopped them after the “pushing the center when he isn’t looking” call.

  6. Andy, from a Buckeye, let me say, Thank You very much for the kind words and well wishes. That was a classy thing to do.

    Please have someone go smack Mike Hart in the head for his classless, bitter, ill-tempered, utterly recockulous statements following the game.

    Good luck in the Rose Bowl, Wolverines!

  7. Whups… I stand corrected. My “17-24 points off of breaks that fell UM’s way” statement was correct, but was wrong about the “7 points from being mean and pushing the por wittle’ snapper” penalty.

    You’d think I’d have caught that. I watched the game three times this weekend!

  8. Heck of a game, guys. Great fun to watch.

    My unsolicited two-cents on the “roughing the center” call:

    – My brother-in-law was sitting next to me during the game, and he played O-line in high school and college. He helped explain this to the ten screaming OSU fans in our house. On field goal and punt attempts the long-snapper has to look between his legs to snap and his head is down and unprotected. It is a rule that the defense must allow the center to bring his head back up before engaging him. This is to prevent spinal injuries. Like you, I’ve never seen or heard of the penalty. But upon viewing the replay, I have to agree with the referee that the Buckeye defender did not allow the snapper to bring his head up and he did push him down by his helmet. I’d hate to see any player (even a Michigan one) suffer from serious injury because of something like that. And… as has been mentioned numerous times above, we stopped them on that drive anyway.

    As for the phantom pass interference… what the heck was that?!?

    All in all, a great game from both teams that likely kept much of the football viewing country on the edge of their seats until the final minute. Congrats go out to the Wolverines for being outstanding opponents, and especially to our Buckeyes for finding a way to keep the dream alive.

    I’m looking forward to your analysis as we near the title game, fellas.


  9. Ok…I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this, but I have to say it. But first, let me say thanks for your post on bad fans. They are everywhere. I did hear it was better this year and yes, it is a handful of jerks that ruin it for everyone. On to other issues.

    I am a Michigan Fan…have been since the 70s. I work at OSU….trust me, it makes it hard, but I was Blue before I started working here. But I do try to be very objective when it comes to this game and I think I am most of the time…..with that being said.

    First, there should be no rematch. Period. OSU won the game. While I think a neutral field would render a different game, and possibly even a different result, they played the was great, and that is enough. I am tired of hearing everyone talk about a rematch. Michigan can hold it’s head high going into the Rose Bowl. How? Well…this is because the game WAS as close as the score showed, contrary to what you have written.

    I really am dismayed about the calls of “domination” when there just wasn’t any. You can point to calls by officials all day long, and I can point to non-calls to argue with them to take points away from OSU. That is part of the game. It’s no different than the boxing argument that a fighter would have won if he hadn’t been knocked out…..but he was…There was no one single call that decided the game. Some will point to the late hit on Smith, but it was a good call. Mistakes, failure to exucute, dropped passes, etc…kept the game close and allowed Michigan to come back during the second half and let OSU break out in the second quarter.

    As for your point about there being no point that Michgan controlling the game….I would agree…but there was a point (the entire 2nd half) where OSU sure wasn’t controlling anything and Michigan was mounting a comeback after faliling in the 2nd quarter. It was an offensive game with defense being little more than a joke on both sides.

    The field played to the offense on both sides…defenders had difficulty adjusting and keeping up in a reaction state. It’s not an excuse, its a fact. Even Ginn admitted the field was a mess. All it means is that both teams adjusted as best they could to the conditions. Hell, that’s why they play the games. And I do mean both defenses had problems, not just Michigan.

    I guess my point is that 100 yds over the course of a game is not domination. 3 points is not domination. Dropped balls, turnovers, bad/non-calls…all of them are part of the game. And what a game it was.

  10. Thanks for your comments, Blue. Great to have your perspective.

    However, I do respectfully disagree with some of what you said… there were no apparent “non-calls” against OSU, and all questionable calls went UM’s way. Having said that, you are right that this is the game. It happens.

    But, to understand where I was coming from, just consider the following hypotheticals for a moment: if the INT had properly been called a PI call, and the phantom PI call that kept UM’s drive alive (leading to a TD) hadn’t been called, that’s a 10-17 point swing right there. I know this is the game, but that alone is pretty significant. I mean, a possible 56-15 score is domination (not to mention the resulting swing in yardage that would have occurred). All as a result of subjective officiating.

    >>but there was a point (the entire 2nd half) where OSU sure wasn’t controlling anything and Michigan was mounting a comeback after faliling in the 2nd quarter.<< I wouldn't call it a "comeback," but maybe that's just semantics. UM certainly found a way to rally, and was matched score for score by OSU (they'd get a score, and OSU would score immediately afterwards). The only time that OSU didn't "answer" a UM score was the last drive of the game, when they purposely ran the clock out. Had the quarter continued, OSU would have gotten another TD, and been up by 10 again. The way the clock ran, the margin of victory was only a FG. But that doesn't tell the story of how both offenses were performing. The first half ended with OSU up by 14 points, and had our "hypothetical" fourth quarter continued, OSU would have still been up by 10. So all in all, even though OSU gift-wrapped three turnovers, and UM benefited from all the other intangible factors in the second half, they only really managed to "play well enough" to close the gap by (our hypothetical) four net points. I agree that UM should hold its head up high. Maybe not the defense (on either team), but the UM offense for sure. UM showed it could open it up if it needed to, and, for the first time in years, Carr actually tried winning a fourth quarter game. I wonder if the Rose will be a high scoring affair. Whattya bet they try to rematch UM and Texas? What a game that would be.

  11. I understand where you are coming from. I just don’t agree.

    “UM certainly found a way to rally, and was matched score for score by OSU (they’d get a score, and OSU would score immediately afterwards).”
    …except when they punted….or threw a pick (no gimmies there)

    By Quarter Scoring shows that in the third and fourth quarters, Michigan gained 3 more in the third and 8 more in the 4th. Specifically the third quarter had Michigan stopping OSU’s initial drive (3 and out), scoring 7. Next drive OSU throws a pick. Michigan turns that into 3. Osu scores the next possesion. Michigan 3 and out. Fumble for OSU. Quarter ends

    No questionable calls there. That puts the score at 35 to 24. 4th Quarter Michigan gets 7 off the turnover. 31 to 35 OSU. OSU gets the ball, drives to the 32 and loses another turnover. Michigan goes 3 and out and punts. OSU drives and scores 7.(Crable call….OSU gets to keep driving and get 7 points! Call benefits OSU!) 42 to 31. Michigan gets the ball back at the 19 and drives to score for the final of 42 to 39 (2-pt).

    So, I can give you 7 on a turnover to OSU, and if the call is not made on Crable, OSU loses 7…still the same score…..they are almost a complete wash. What doesn’t get called…well, how about a pick on a crossing route for OSU’s first score (3rd down….would have made it 4th and a kick for 3 instead of 7….now it’s a tie game.). There are others, including tons of holding by both O-Lines. Personal fouls on both sides, etc….Put on your HD, get the remote and watch the plays one at a time. I know I did.

    My point is still the same. The game was, except for the second quarter, a wash and VERY even. Your premise about the way the clock ran being a blessing is also rather odd. OSU had 12 possesions. 6 for scores, 6 for Punt/Turnover. Michigan also had 12 possesions, 6 for scores, 6 for Punt/Turnover….dead even. Most of Michigans failures happened in the 2nd Quarter. Most of OSU’s in the 3rd/4th. Again….a wash.

    I don’t see how your argument differs from the “if he hadn’t been knocked out” line of reasoning.

  12. I think we’re saying almost the same thing from different angles, BlueInOSU.

    >>By Quarter Scoring shows that in the third and fourth quarters, Michigan gained 3 more in the third and 8 more in the 4th. << ...for a total of 11 points gained, after being down by 14. That's exactly what I mentioned. What that doesn't show, though, is how well OSU was playing in the fourth quarter. Had the clock not run out on OSU's last drive, they no doubt have scored points. So, consider what would have happened had OSU scored another TD instead of running the clock out. The ending result would have been UM gaining "3 more in the third and 1 more in the fourth." That's the rate at which UM's offense was actually gaining.

    Also note: The point swing was totally gift-wrapped by the OSU turnovers (10 points off of the INT and one fumble). That’s also why I think the game wasn’t as close as the three point margin showed. Had the game continued into infinity, OSU would have continued to stay anywhere from 3-10 points ahead at any given time. In other words, OSU would have always had at least a three point lead when its offense was on the field, and always had at least a 10 point lead when its defense was on the field. Barring another turnover or miracle play, there’s no way UM would have overtaken the Buckeyes.

    Again, I acknowledge the game was “close” as far as the final score goes, but it wasn’t close in terms of which team was playing better, scoring when it had to, or controlling the overall tempo. At no time did I personally think or worry that UM was going to be able to outscore OSU’s offense. From the first set of drives on, the game belonged in its entirety to the Buckeyes. Don’t get me wrong, had OSU given the ball up one or two more times, I might have started getting nervous. But I felt pretty strongly that UM wasn’t playing well enough to threaten OSU.

    >>and if the call is not made on Crable, OSU loses 7<< I'm seeing a lot of this... a lot of UM fans in message boards are actually saying this was a 'break' for OSU and a subjective call. The foul could not have been more obvious. It was (1) a late hit, (2) a hit out of bounds, (3) a helmet-to-helmet hit, and (4) roughing the passer. Musberger, Herbie, and Davie "assumed" the helmet contact was the reason for the flag, but the ref didn't announce which of the four penalties was enforced. All are personal fouls, so it doesn't matter. UM did not lose because of Crable. That was not a 'break' for the OSU offense. If they don't get a first down there, they get one on fourth down. UM wasn't stopping them at that point. >>What doesn’t get called…well, how about a pick on a crossing route for OSU’s first score<< The OSU decoy forced the CB to run into the NB. Nothing whatsover wrong with that. Perfectly legal so long as it's the defenders that pick themselves. 😉 >>OSU had 12 possesions. 6 for scores, 6 for Punt/Turnover. Michigan also had 12 possesions, 6 for scores, 6 for Punt/Turnover….dead even.<< Not sure what you mean here... except for the fact that OSU and UM had the same number of offensive drives (note that one of OSU's drives came at the end of the game as time ran out). Also, combining punts and turnovers doesn't tell the whole story. UM had twice as many punts as OSU did, which says a lot for which defense was having more overall success. I've watched the game almost four total times, in HD, and now that the emotion of the event is gone, it's easier to sit back and evaluate more objectively what went on. UM played scrappy, but at no time does it seem to me that they were ever in control (except for their opening TD drive). OSU pretty much did what it wanted, when it wanted to. I feel more strongly than ever that had it not been for the breaks that fell UM's way, the game would have been a complete blowout.

  13. Mich Fan Here – I think your post eloquently states for the record why there should be no re-match. It is a lose-lose for Mich – either we lose AGAIN to tosu, or we win – and let the controversy begin!

    But you have a unique situation here, because the other one-loss teams are so uninspiring. I mean, did you WATCH Florida’s game against S Carolina? Pathetic. USC doesn’t really impress me either. The other issue is the Media. It would be a ratings bonanza for FOX – did you see the overnight numbers? 21.1 million households is nothing to sneeze at, and a game in prime time would draw more.

    I think you hit the nail on the head – Mich is set for a pre-season #1 ranking next year, and they can start if off right by smacking whoever they play in the rose bowl. This was OSU’s year, plain and simple.

    One last thing – this Tressel owns Carr stuff has got to stop. You won the last three years because of one reason and one reason only – Troy Smith. He’s a special player the likes of which we may never see again. Go back in time with Zwick as your QB, and maybe you win one of the three.

  14. Sorry to bring the conversation back to the “roughing the center” call, but my younger brother played long-snapper for a while (HS and D.2 collegiate level) and this was his perspective: the defense has to allow you to snap your head back up (pun intended, that’s apparently how coaches love to phrase it) after snapping the ball (as Drew alluded to in his post).

    However his opinion was that the long-snapper was watching his own snap to make sure the punter caught the ball; this is a mistake high school players get yelled at for making–as they need to snap their head back into position. He believed that the defender gave the long-snapper ample time to get his head into proper position (assuming he hadn’t been watching his own snap). Now this comes from a biased opinion (pro-OSU), but I figured I’d add said perspective to the fray nonetheless.

  15. Bill B –

    >>You won the last three years because of one reason and one reason only – Troy Smith. He’s a special player the likes of which we may never see again. Go back in time with Zwick as your QB, and maybe you win one of the three.<< I agree with you totally about Zwick. I think Tressel has something to do with it, though... Tressel had success against UM before the Smith era (two out of three before Smith started at QB).

  16. I want to thank you sportsMonkey. No one else has put better logic into why there should be no rematch. I totally agree with what you are saying about the game not being that close. The only time Michigan was in control was the very first drive of the game, before the Buckeye offense took the field. After OSU answered Michigan’s first score, the game was over. What the BCS needs to look at is Bowl history. Back when the Rose Bowl was the Grandaddy of them all, the only teams in there were conference champions. And that is what needs to happen in this instance. Having two big ten teams in a possible rematch for the title is nice for the conference, but totally unfair to the teams that may have the same record as Mich. , but won their conferences. To sit back and point fingers at one or more conferences and say “your champions are not good enough” is insulting to those programs. Besides, the media touted this game as “for the right to go to the Championship Game”. Now to do a 180 degree turn is ridiculous. Honestly, if big money wasn’t an issue, I would say to heck with the BCS. Ohio State declines the invite to the Fiesta Bowl. Let 2 and 3 battle it out. Your so called Champion will have one loss, while everyone knows who the real champion is.

  17. This is one of the finest writing that I’ve ever read. I could not agree more.

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