tampabay.com

Michigan stays in the No. 2 BCS slot

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published November 20, 2006


An Ohio State-Michigan rematch may not be out of the question, but it's not a guarantee either.

Despite its 42-39 loss to the No. 1 Buckeyes, Michigan remained No. 2 in the BCS standings released Sunday, setting the stage for a possible rematch of the most-watched regular-season college football game in 13 years.

Michigan's ranking of .926 is .007 higher than No. 3 Southern Cal. Florida remained No. 4 (.884) and Notre Dame No. 5 (.820).

But Michigan's chances of playing for a national title on Jan. 8 hinge on Southern Cal.

"I like to think of Michigan as kind of an honorary No. 2," BCS analyst Jerry Palm said Sunday night. "They can't really hold on to it without help."

If USC and Florida win out, he said, Michigan likely would finish closer to No. 4 than No. 2.

"USC controls its own destiny unless people change the way they voted this week," Palm said. "If the voting does change, it will probably hurt Michigan because the others still have games to play. Michigan will start to fade from memory and when you do think of them, it will be with a loss in their last game."

Florida coach Urban Meyer does not favor an OSU-Michigan rematch.

"If they do that then it should be a playoff system next year," he said. "And I do think those are great teams; I watched that game every snap. They are well-coached, great players, great teams. ... I do believe as this thing moves on, we do need a playoff system.

"And if that (rematch) really does happen, then I think it's over. All the presidents need to get together immediately and put together a playoff system. I mean like now, in January, or whenever to get that done."

"With the current poll margin, Michigan has no chance of holding off USC if they win out," Palm said of the Pac-10 champion who faces Notre Dame on Saturday and then UCLA. "But Florida has a chance to pass them, too. Florida is not as strong a computer team as USC. It depends on the poll. Florida would have to be one spot ahead of Michigan in the computer (polls) to be ahead of Michigan in the BCS with the margins as they are now."

USC overtook Florida in BCS standings Nov. 12 after the Gators edged South Carolina 17-16. Sunday, the Gators, coming off a 62-0 win over Division I-AA Western Carolina, dropped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the noncomputer polls.

"I think you can make a case for them and you can make a case for us," said Meyer, whose team plays at FSU on Saturday and No. 5 Arkansas in the Dec. 2 SEC title game. "We played a difficult schedule as does USC. ... I think USC and Florida, if they take care of business, are the two teams that deserve a shot."

Meyer said a rematch would be "unfair to Ohio State and the rest of the nation," and he doesn't think any of the Division I-A coaches want a rematch.

FSU's Bobby Bowden agrees.

"I don't like that at all. To me, it's like us and Florida. That just made me sick to draw them in the darn bowl," said Bowden, who faced the Gators in the 1996 national title game after No. 2 FSU beat No. 1 UF in Tallahassee in the regular season. " ... How many times can you beat No. 1? ... It's kind of hard to do. ... If 1 beats 2, what are you going to do? Play it again? What if 2 beats 1 and they split? Now what are you going to do? One plays 2 and 1 gets beat and the next guy to get a shot is 3? They had their chance."