Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Bowls and salad dressing

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2011 at 6:07 am

Not that I really take an interest in college football anymore, but I took a look at the bowl matchups today and see that the BCS is once again embroiled in controversy – mainly for the Sugar Bowl matchup this year which pits Michigan against Virginia Tech. There are a handful of teams ranked much higher than Michigan and VTU and many people feel these two particular teams have no business in the Sugar Bowl game. I can’t say I agree since I am a Michigan grad.

But I really wish the BCS would just go away. The controversy surrounding the national champion was supposed to end when the BCS came into existence years ago. On the contrary it seems as if there is more controversy now than there ever was with the AP and UPI college football polls.

Life used to be so simple with just five bowl games at the end of the year (all played on Jan 1 I would add ) and two national polls. Most years there was no controversy as the same team usually finished atop both the AP and UPI polls. Occasionally there was a split but the discussion raged for a few days and then died as we headed into winter. Now there are over 30 bowl games and a handful of polls and the controversy starts as soon as the first BCS poll is released mid-season.

The contrast between college football nowadays and when I was growing up kind of reminds me of the salad dressing section at the local supermarket. Where there used to be just Seven Seas and Kraft there are now about 40 competing brands and varieties. You can easily spend 15 minutes at the supermarket nowadays just trying to decide on a salad dressing. Life is just too complicated now.

And so is college football.


Ties are not so bad in retrospect

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2010 at 5:29 am

I am living in Japan now and I must admit that the one thing I miss most about America is College Football. The first thing I do when I get up on Sunday mornings here is to check the football scores back home ( Sunday morning here being Saturday evening in the US).I was surprised to see the Michigan-Illinois score from this past week 67-65 in three overtimes. The reason for this ridiculous score (which looks more like a college basketball score than a football score) is that teams pile up points in the overtime periods. Which brings me to the subject of overtime in college football.

First of all I should say that I never really liked ties in college football, especially in a big game. Remember the 1973 Michigan-Ohio State game when both teams came into the contest undefeated. Michigan was ranked 4th in the country and OSU # 1. The game ended in a 10-10 tie and to this day is considered one of the classic games in the annals of college sports. But no one was satisfied with the outcome back in 1973.  The controversy went on all winter as I remember. And I am sure in some bars in Ann Arbor and Columbus they still talk about it. 

Ties were unsatisfying, certainly, but we accepted the lesson of a tie: sportsmanship. Both teams could walk off the field feeling that they had battled hard and earned the respect of their opponent. The tie, then, seemed uniquely suited to college athletics. It reminds us of a time when athletes went to class, wore varsity sweaters and carried textbooks and when the only substance they abused was beer.

Contrast the spirit of the tie to the win-at-all costs mentality in college football nowadays. This has resulted in a hopelessly gimmicky overtime format where teams start on their opponent’s 25 yard line and at the very least can kick a field goal.  More often than not the final result is a score inflated beyond one’s imagination,  what we got on Saturday with Michigan and Illinois. 

Anyway, I must say I prefer the old days and the ties, unsatisfying as they were.