Got no problem with it.
Michigan slotted ahead of Michigan State in the latest College Football Playoff rankings – the Wolverines came in at No. 6, the Spartans No. 7 – announced Tuesday has created enough uneasiness and agita among those in the know that Aaron Rodgers is no longer a one-man ’round-the-clock news cycle anymore.
Doesn’t matter which Power 5-lovin’ former player is speaking or which baldheaded Jim Harbaugh-hatin’ television sycophant is preaching, the message is the same: the 13-person committee that made this a reality is off its cotton-pickin’ collective rocker.
Funny thing is, I got no problem with it.
Hell, I agree with it.
Why? Well, I’ve seen every game each has played this season, including the head-to-head matchup two Saturdays ago. Even with the Spartans winning a thrilling, 37-33 affair at home in East Lansing, there is no question – not in mind, at least … nor, apparently, in the minds of a majority in the aforementioned committee – as to which is the better team.
Not just in a one-game situation. Or, really, in a one-quarter rally. But this whole fall.
I’m a Michigan State fan – hardcore for four decades and change now. Michigan? Cannot stand the school, the program, the whole arrogant ‘tude that just wafts off the campus and around the country like a heavy fog.
But I don’t kid myself, or rationalize stuff, in order to feel better about a team, or player, I prefer over others.
Reality: Before the Spartans lost for the first time this past weekend at Purdue, they were outplayed by three other teams. Seriously, they reached 8-0 and were dramatically outperformed thrice, including by Michigan.
The Wolverines, frankly, were more dominant against Michigan State than the Boilermakers were. Outgained the Spartans by a bigger margin and had them dead-to-rites midway through the third quarter. Credit to State for responding and riding an incredible wave of emotion from the stands and some poor officiating to victory.
But better than Michigan? Sorry, this isn’t a winner-take-all deal to end a season. We’re still in swimwear portion of the beauty pageant … and, frankly, Sparty isn’t the looker other teams are.
OH, THE IRONY
If any team deserves support in the bitching and moaning department about where it currently sits in the CFP rankings, it is usually overrated Oklahoma. The Sooners remained stuck at No. 8 and appear to have no shot at making another CFP appearance.
Yes, they play in a lightweight Power-5 conference and they’ve struggled in six games. But they haven’t lost, which, by this time, all the previous Oklahoma teams of the CFP era would have. It really does seem like past face-plants by the Sooners are punishing the current Sooners.
BUT WHAT ABOUT …
Yeah, got it, Cincinnati. Look, same thing as with Michigan State. Style points are a real thing, and the now-CFP No. 5 Bearcats barely have any. Sure, they play in a better conference than most realize, they beat Notre Dame on the road and they even have been worthy of big-time attention for four seasons now. But they win ugly, seemingly every game anymore, regardless of caliber of opponent, and when you’re trying to crash the CFP, that’s really not the way to get anyone’s attention in order to do so.
Oh, you can’t ignore Cincy’s success. Just the same, you can’t ignore how it’s being achieved, either.
THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
North Carolina, fresh off a game-of-the-year 58-55 upset over previously unbeaten Wake Forest, visits CFP No. 21 Pittsburgh tonight. What’s the big deal? Well, you have the preseason Heisman favorite Sam Howell, whose junior season short-circuited right along with the Tar Heels’ campaign very early, squaring off with, perhaps, the current Heisman favorite in Kenny Pickett, who has the Panthers enjoying one of their better seasons since the Dorsett-Marino-Green glory days four decades ago.
Pickett has thrown for 3,100 yards, 29 touchdowns and just three interceptions in 2021. Howell, despite some up-and-down experiences this fall, has accounted for 10,500 yards and 101 TDs in his career.