Here’s what is about to happen in college football, recast with a baseball analogy.
Imagine that a team in the weakest division in the majors – we’ll call it the “NL Menstrual” – was able to set its own schedule. They decided to play 108 games within their cupcake division. Then they added 40 games against teams from the International League (that’s AAA for you non-baseball fans). Then, just to be good sports, they decided to add 14 games against the second-worst team from another major-league division, one that’s better than their own. And, of course, they rack up a pretty strong record against that competition.
So now imagine that, due to the fact that everyone recognizes that the NL Menstrual isn’t playing the same caliber of ball as the other divisions, our mystery team is told on October 1st that their services won’t really be required for the rest of the year. Several other teams playing tougher schedules go into the postseason and beat the crap out of each other for two weeks, at the end of which, it’s not really clear who the best team is. (The fact that someone knocked off the “best” team – and that this has happened twice – doesn’t matter.) So the powers that be – we’ll call them the Network for Cheating Amateur Athletes – decide to call up our mystery team before the World Series starts and ask them to participate. Our mystery team hasn’t won or even played a game in several weeks, so how could they be better now than they were when their season ended?
This is what’s about to happen with Ohio State. Playing the 43rd-strongest schedule in Division I-A – excuse me, the Football Bowl Subdivision – they beat the snot out of several weak opponents, beat an unranked Michigan State team by one score, and lost to Illinois. They never played a team ranked in the top 20 in the country. Their nonconference games were a joke: Washington, the last-place team in the Pac 10; Akron and Kent State, the bottom two teams in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division; and Youngstown State, which I can’t even find on the
Division I-A Football Bowl Subdivision standings page â€¦ oh, wait, they’re not in that division at all! They’re the 16th-ranked team in the next division down! Isn’t that like a big-league club playing a team from the Midwest League?
I don’t like college football and I don’t follow it, so maybe everything I wrote above is wrong. Maybe Ohio State actually is one of the two best teams in the country, even if they’re too scared to try to prove it by scheduling a halfway decent opponent every now and then. But tell me this: If playing a weak-assed schedule isn’t that big of a problem, why not just put Hawai’i – who played an even weaker schedule, ranked 118th in the country, but who always have scheduling problems due to cost and distance – in the damn championship game? At least they had the courtesy to not lose.