Who's #2? Who Cares?
Troy Smith
Troy Smith
Posted Nov 20, 2006

There is a #1 team in the country. All of the teams clamoring for the #2 spot have flawed arguments. One of them is going to get a second chance. Do any of them "deserve" one?

It was billed as the game of the year, and it lived up to all of the hype as Ohio State and Michigan waged a classic. It's rare that two straight games of this magnitude live up to the expectations, but it's now happened twice in a row, first USC/Texas last year, and Ohio State Michigan this year.

Any question about how Bo Schembechler's death would affect the team was answered on the first series as the Wolverines went right down the field and scored on the Nation's #1 defense. Michigan came out on fire.

If there was any question at all if Ohio State had the makings of a champion, it showed on the next possession as Troy Smith and the Buckeyes converted four 3rd down conversions in route to an answering touchdown. It was slow and methodical. It showed that Ohio State had the calm, cool, collected manor of a Champion.

It had been written and said before the game that Michigan had played the tougher schedule between the two. That being said, there should have been little doubt, and based on all of the polls there wasn't, about who the #1 and #2 teams were in the country. It didn't take long in this game to see that these were the two best teams in the country.

This game was a National Championship game. It took my better half for me to realize that.

Before the game as I was planning my weekend around watching the last of the undefeateds (save Rutgers and Boise State), my wife asked me "This is the National Championship game right?"

I kind of laughed, she's well versed in sports and it wasn't like her to make a mistake like that.

"No, either of these two teams could go on and lose another game and not win the Championship."

She answered... "Last game of the year, right?"


"Last two undefeated teams right?"


"#1 vs #2 in the country, right?"


"Then it should be for the National Championship, right?"

You know, you are right.

Dang, I knew she was smarter than me, but it's embarrassing when she's proving it in sports too.

Every year people are asking for a different type of playoff system to fit the given year. A +1 system would have worked perfectly in 2004. It would have punished USC and Texas in 2005, and if there was ever a case for a -1 system it would be this year.

Ohio State is the last team standing. They've knocked off the #2 team in the country, not once, but twice this year. They won their conference title, and they stepped out of conference to play the defending BCS Champion. What more do they have to prove?

They haven't stumbled along the way. They haven't had to lobby their way to the championship game after dropping one they shouldn't. They have been perfect.

They'll have to play a third #2 team in the BCS Championship to officially claim the BCS Championship this year. So who is #2?

My answer... Who Cares?

USC, Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Louisville, West Virginia, and Rutgers are all one loss teams. Every single one of them took destiny out of their hands by losing. Whoever gets the #2 spot is going to be playing on a second chance. Who is going to give Ohio State a second chance should they stumble after a seven week layoff?

Some believe that the champion should be the team that's best at the end of the year. I understand that argument, I just don't agree. I think the championship should go to the team that's best for the whole year. A lot of times, those teams are one and the same. But otherwise games like Ohio State vs Texas become glorified exhibitions. Indianapolis vs New England was fun two weeks ago, but in the grand scheme of the Super Bowl, it was an exhibition game. Those teams will still have to go through one another when it really matters in the playoffs.

MLB just crowned a .500 World Champion. The defending Super Bowl Champion was 7-5 at one point last year having lost three straight games. Is that a "true champion?"

College Football demands excellence from the opening kickoff in August. It's one of the things that makes the game so special.

Ohio State / Texas was a playoff. Ohio State won.

Ohio State / Michigan was a playoff. Ohio State won.

I could go on and on about the games that led us to where we are now. Each of them being as important as the next. 

There's going to be a lot of lobbying over the course of the next month about who deserves to be the #2 team, and all of the injustice about the teams that get left out.

Let everyone else worry about who is #2. I don't really care. Every other team in the country has a flawed argument for the #2 spot.  You lose, you take matters out of your own hands. There is no "deserve".

Ohio State is #1.

Let everyone else worry about #2.

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