The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

2004 Fiesta Bowl and the Buckeyes

January 4th, 2004 . by Alexander Fisher

I just saw the 2004 Fiesta Bowl, a day after it actually happened. Unfortunately, I only taped four hours of a four hour and ten minute ball game. I knew when I set the timer I should have set it for a little bit longer. I am not sure what the final score was for the game because I can’t find my newspaper for today. I assume it is about the same as it was when the tape ran out. It was 35-28 in favor of Ohio State at that point, with about two plus minutes left.

Jim Tressel sure can win football games, but he can sure make you very nervous doing it. Only on rare occasions do the Buckeyes win easily. It does make watching Ohio State Buckeye?s football very exciting, but it doesn’t make it very easy. I rarely watch the game live. I usually tape the game and watch it later. Sometimes I even know if the Buckeyes won the game or not before I begin watching it. I know it takes some of the mystery out of it, but the tension level goes down enough knowing who won, that I can actually sit and watch it without getting too worked up. Throughout the 2004 Fiesta Bowl, I had to keep reminding myself that I knew that Ohio State had won, because I had accidentally seen it on the front page of the paper. That didn?t keep me from being very nervous throughout the game though.

When Maurice Clarrett became unavailable at the beginning of the season, the Buckeyes had their work cut out for them. They never did have the running game that they needed to repeat as national champions. I have said that given the same team though, former Buckeye’s coach John Cooper would not have won as many games as he lost. Jim Tressel?s coaching style, although somewhat boring, does tend to get the job done. That is also why I cannot watch Ohio State football games live. If I were overweight or any older, I would be afraid that I would have had a heart attack near the end of each game. I get really excited and I just can?t take the suspense. Every game seems to turn into a cliffhanger. But Ohio State seems to pull them out, ?almost? every time.

Someone asked me once last year why I thought the Ohio State Buckeyes were not picked number one at the beginning of the season, although they had won the national title last year. I am not quite sure, I assume it was because of this Midwest bias the media has. I think on one hand they probably made the right choice by not picking Ohio State as the number one team in the beginning of the year, as it turned out. On the other hand, had USC or Notre Dame been number one last year, there would?ve definitely been a howl of disapproval from the media had they not been picked as number one the following season. It comes down to a popularity contest. I believe the BCS was supposed to eliminate popularity from the equation. Popularity should not be a factor at all. A coach?s poll cannot be completely accurate because of personal bias. I don?t think the BCS rankings are completely accurate either, but I would take the BCS over the AP coach?s poll any time. The BCS criteria can be fine-tuned. Coaches will pick teams they like and teams they?ve seen. That makes it hard for largely unknown schools to make the cut.

When the national media picks their favorite teams, they tend to be from either coast. I do believe that they favor the West Coast, but they sure love Notre Dame the most.  Only by winning year after year, do teams from the Midwest, other than Notre Dame, get taken seriously. Small and/or unknown schools don?t sell enough commercial time for the television networks as “their” favorite teams do.

It seems unfortunate to me, that the system that the NCAA and the media came up with to make sure that the national championship was given to the best team, is now causing as much trouble as it is. When the BCS tournament became a reality, there were certainly those who thought it was a bad idea. I believe most of them thought that this would make it too hard to anoint Notre Dame national champions without them really deserving it. I am sure it will give those people a lot of joy, that this year instead of one champion, there will most likely be two different number one teams again. That really just takes it back to where they were before. I think the strength of the schedule and the result is important, but with so many players leaving college every year, sometimes rankings at the beginning of the year are meaningless. Maybe if the point system were evaluated after every game, to account for teams that really aren’t as good as they were thought to be, it would be fairer. It would be unclear until close to the end of the year who was ahead, but that is when the information needs to be the most accurate.

I am glad this happened in a year Ohio State was not involved as a top two team. Somehow it would’ve ended badly for the Buckeyes, no matter who would’ve won the championship game.

Ohio and Ohio State are lucky to have a football coach like Jim Tressel. I wonder if he?d be interested in a job with the Cleveland Browns?

Posted by alexfish at January 4, 2004 01:13 AM

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