I Thought You Were Better Than This, Mitch

For those who read this website with some regularity, you will know that I've never been a college blogger with much conviction.  I've always come to the realization that college football is a funny game, a game in which in most arguments there are always multiple stances that could be taken. Because of that, I've never felt the need to argue until I was blue in the face over certain "controversial" college football situations.

With that being said, I do notice when certain people are clearly portraying themselves as bitter and not knowing when to say they were wrong.

Case in point:  Mitch Albom, whose constant cries for Michigan's case to play in the national title game and constant assumptions that the Buckeyes were going to easily defeat Florida have now gotten in the way of logical, reasonable thinking.

In his most recent column for the Detroit Free Press, Albom offered up several jewels of wisdom regarding Florida's 41-14 thrashing of #1 Ohio State:

The Gators whupping the Buckeyes might have made Urban Meyer happy (and rich), but I'm not sure what it did for anyone not wearing Florida colors. One of my fellow columnists suggested it proved the BCS got it right, but I disagree. I still believe the Ohio State team that beat Michigan in mid-November would have beaten Florida the following Saturday.

Problem is, they didn't play the following Saturday. Or the following one, or even the following one. College football is the only sport that fails to reward momentum. You can't get "on a playoff roll." You can't even get off the couch. Ohio State spent seven weeks inactive before that kickoff Monday night. Consequently, what the championship game rewards is not action, but adjustments. Who can come up with a better seven-week game plan? Which team's players won't lose focus over the New Year?


Now, I do agree with his exclamation that the game is played a little too late.  January 8th is unreasonable - especially considering that this game came almost a week following the previous BCS Bowl game.  January 2nd seems a little more reasonable in my opinion.

However, claiming that a 7 week layoff is the sole reason why the Buckeyes lost reeks of sour grapes and desperation.  Standing across the sidelines from Ohio State was the Florida Gators, who had 5 inactive weeks heading up to the game.  The two extra weeks of not playing a game should have had nothing to do with the outcome of the National Championship game, especially considering the constant praising of Jim Tressel as a big-time bowl game coach.

The truth is that if Ohio State blows out Florida last Monday evening, we would be under a constant barrage of Jim Tressel praise; the Buckeyes would have found success through a great gameplan and perfect motivational tactics by the Ohio State coaching staff.  Instead, the two extra weeks is a crutch that made Ohio State incredibly slower and less athletic than the Gators.

The point he is trying to make is that when trying to crown a champion of college football we should not have to rely on weeks and weeks of preparation, but instead on momentum from the regular season.  Albom states that the Ohio State that beat Michigan would have beaten Florida the following Saturday.  In my mind, though, the Florida that beat Arkansas would have beaten Ohio State the following Saturday:  And that same Florida team showed up to Glendale on January 8th.

This speaks to another conflict in college football, one felt acutely in the Big Ten: going for a conference championship versus going for a national crown. A school like U-M has long prided itself on -- first and foremost -- winning the Big Ten. But doing that seems to require one approach, while winning a national championship requires another. The teams that survive the Big Ten grind usually pound the ball well, block well, defend well and use the momentum from week to week. Teams that win the national title seem to move like lightning, throw like crazy and get geeked up for one spotlight event.

Albom now is saying that winning the Big-10 takes a different type of effort than winning the National Title, and by saying this is also stating that winning the B10 is different than winning any other major conference.  This, of course, is absurd and clearly shows his blinding admiration for Michigan and their conference.  This is also an excuse to show us why his favored Buckeyes were embarassed last Monday evening.

Does running the ball well, blocking well and playing good defense not equal wins in the SEC? ACC?  Big 12?  Pac-10?

Does momentum not help a team from week to week in other conferences?  Did Florida not use the defensive momentum gained against Alabama the following week against LSU?  Did Wake Forest not feed off of prior success to find ways to win conference games, as well as the ACC championship?

Another glaring problem with this paragraph is the assertation that Florida is a team that "runs like crazy, throws like crazy and gets geeked up for one spotlight event," since they scored 41 and held the Buckeyes to 82 total yards of offense to win the National Title.  The question that arises with this is:  Did Florida not get geeked up when they played at Tennessee?  Against LSU? Against Arkansas?  I guess they were just coasting through to save their efforts for the National Title game.  Yeah, that's it.

As a result, nobody knows nothing. Most of the "experts" (myself included) were proved wrong (allowing the Gators to use the most overused phrase in sports, "No one gave us any respect"). And yes, it's fun when the experts look like idiots. But let's be honest. If the experts are always wrong -- and No. 2 has beaten No. 1 pretty often -- maybe it's not the experts.

Maybe it's the system.


Yes, the system is messed up.  It's a shame that we can't find ways for teams like Utah and Auburn a few years ago and Boise State this season opportunities to play for the championship with undefeated seasons.

But there is another system wrong.  A system that could have kept the Florida Gators out of the National Title game when they proved they more than belonged.  A system in which we were spoonfed the fact that Ohio State and Michigan were the two best teams by leaps and bounds, only to watch them fall on their faces when it mattered the most.  That is the biggest disappointment in all of this.

Mitch, I thought you were better.  You have books on the top-sellers list and appear on The Sports Reporters.  The only problem with writing fictitious novels and speaking with Mike Lupica, as it seems, is that it doesn't teach you humility and when to say that your predictions and perceived knowledge of college football were wrong.

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