December 22, 2003

My, We Love Ourselves, Don't We?

I'm getting pretty tired of USC coach Pete Carroll reminding everybody that USC is the #1 team and that he considers the Rose Bowl the championship game every time he opens his piehole. Like this USA Today story:

"'The Rose Bowl is the national championship game,' head coach Pete Carroll told reporters. 'There's no question about it in our minds. It's not going to be talked about on TV by the other bowl game that way. That's the marketing aspect of it.

Logic tells you we're the No. 1 team in the country, and if we play a great game and win, we're going to take a trophy home with us.'"
About once every ten soundbites, he remembers that he actually has to win the Rose Bowl to back up his mouth, and he throws out some platitudes about playing a great Michigan team and blah blah blah. If I were Lloyd Carr, I'd have a 'Best Of Pete Carroll' compilation playing on continuous loop in the U-M team room.

Anyway, I got to thinking about this. If U-M pastes USC in the Rose Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl ends up begin an ugly, error-filled mess, would there be a chance Michigan could jump past the Sugar Bowl winner to finish #1 in the AP? I thought that was overly optimistic, even for a diehard like me, but I've now seen that possibility mentioned online in a source more neutral than The Detroit News - ESPN's Trev Alberts. Alberts, a former Nebraska player and no fan of U-M, said

"The USC-Michigan matchup in the Rose Bowl is intriguing not only because it pits two great teams against one another, but because of the other problems it could cause for the BCS. Say, for instance, the Wolverines crush the Trojans USC while LSU and Oklahoma play a sloppy, low-scoring game after a long layoff. If that happens, there is a real chance the Wolverines could jump to No. 1 in the AP poll and heap on more controversy. "

So far, Alberts seems to be the only one who's saying this. SportsTicker:

"A victory for Michigan would make things far easier for the BCS since it would set up a consensus national title game between Oklahoma and LSU in the Sugar Bowl."
AP's Josh Dubow:
"Michigan can make it all moot by beating USC in the Rose Bowl. A Wolverines' win would guarantee an undisputed title for the Sugar Bowl winner, letting the BCS once again escape controversy."
Although Colorado coach Gary Barnett recognizes the possibility - sort of - later in the same article:
"'Everyone is leaving Michigan out of this and creating a huge clamor about what might happen,' Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. 'Michigan's a good team. They might win. Let's wait and see what happens.'"
Fox Sports' Randy Hill:
"As several big thinkers have pointed out, Perry and the Wolverines could silence much of the caterwauling with a Rose Bowl victory over USC."
And those are just the folks who give Michigan half a chance in this game - most places I looked at had it as a foregone conclusion that USC was going to win. Tomorrow I'll go into why I don't think that's nearly as much a done deal as they do.

Posted by Chris at December 22, 2003 05:40 PM

Category: Michigan Football