Memo to Michigan: It's Quiet Time

Ever since the end of the college football regular season, pundits have waxed on and on about how unfairly Michigan, the B.C.S.'s #3 team, was treated. Back in November, the Wolverines barely lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, 42-39; surely, Michigan was better than lowly USC and then Florida, both of whom took turns leap-frogging the maize and blue as the #2 squad in the B.C.S. And after USC got dropped by UCLA, 13-9, to end the Trojans' season, you had to think that Michigan fans had a point.

Case closed.

Any questions about where Michigan should have been ranked were settled on this first day of '07. USC crushed the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl, ahead 32-11 before Michigan picked up a garbage-time touchdown. As much as I loathe USC's fans and their endlessly repeating, four-note fight song -- (do four notes truly constitute a song?) -- this victory mattered almost as much for the Pac-10 as it did the Trojans.

USC dominated on both sides of the ball, and even with a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter lead, coach Pete Carroll did not let up, choosing to let quarterback John David Booty (390 yards, four TDs) and his receivers continue to humiliate the Michigan defense like sixth-graders playing Three Flies Up with a bunch of kindergartners. (See picture here of wideout Dwayne Jarrett, pointing back at a Wolverine defender who is, strangely enough, not in the frame.) Meanwhile, Michigan's' star running back, Mike Hart, mustered 49 yards on 17 carries. That's an average of 2.8 yards per rush -- what I refer to as "grandma yardage," because any grandmother off the street could have put up close numbers.

Is the Big Ten's runner-up even a match for the Pac-10 runner-up, California? You'd think so, but then again, the Bears lost to USC 23-9, also a 14-point margin, and until the fourth quarter, that game was 12-9. Maybe it's time, as it is every year at this time, that the East Coast Media stop overrating the nation's most plodding conference, and start acknowledging the depth of its most electrifying one.

Spare me the dejection arguments, apologists -- that Michigan, passed not once but twice to play in the title game, was emotionally beaten before setting foot in Pasadena. The fact is that the Wolverines were manhandled by Ohio State; without a few uncommonly bad snaps in that game, Michigan would have been beaten handily.

So enjoy your last rays of Southern California winter sun, sing "Hail to the Victors" one more time, then shut your yaps and climb on the first plane for Detroit, Wolverines. If you finish in the nation's top five teams to end the season, you'll be lucky.

January 1, 2007 10:16 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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