clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sunday Morning Coming Down: Played Off

There are at least two different ways to choke in a College Football Playoff, it turns out, but one end result.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon and happy 2023 to everyone, but especially the non-Big Two.

Ten B1G Things

  1. The Big Ten West is now 3-0 in bowl season. I’m sure that’ll last.
  2. Phil Parker is the ethanol subsidy of coaches: covering up every other structural weakness and inefficiency in the state of Iowa.
  3. Congrats to Brian Ferentz on his continued employment.
  4. Noah Ruggles is 0/5 on 50-yard attempts in his career.
  5. Ruggles’ 48-yard attempt—which he made—was a line drive where the ball was rotating on a 10-to-4 plane.
  6. Ruggles’ previous 25-yard attempt featured similar ball rotation.
  7. CJ Stroud was averaging 10+ yards per completion.
  8. Michigan has not won a bowl game since Jan. 1, 2016.
  9. This marks the Big XII’s first appearance in a College Football Playoff Championship.
  10. Michigan scored that rushing touchdown at the end of the third with remarkable ease, no?
  11. The offensive ratings of Michigan’s 2022 opponents: 128, 112, 109, 37, 96, 88, 25, 46, 121, 65, 63, 39, 3, 12.
  12. So no, I’m not surprised.
  13. You sure we need 12 playoff teams?
  14. Don’t worry, I’ve informed GF3 that he’ll need to expand this list to 16 in a couple years.

Music City Bowl // Hawkeyes pick off Busch Light, Wildcats, 21-0

It started so auspiciously:

Those standards include an offense that did this:

And yet they’ll wear it like a badge of honor.

Two Iowa pick-sixes off Kentucky’s backup quarterback proved the different here. Turns out without their starting backfield, the Wildcats didn’t a chance.

In a sick way, it’s an homage to what Kirk Ferentz has built in Iowa City: it mattered not that Iowa was down to its woefully outgunned third-string quarterback and hampered by a one-dimensional offense. The Hawkeyes still had their defense, and that made all the difference.

Fiesta Bowl // Wolverines mess with the Frogs, get the horns, 51-45

Rather than get strength-on-strength’d, Michigan instead handed the mighty Horned Frogs’ [/checks notes]...defense?!...a pair of touchdowns. There’s a beauty to that in a game where all but the reverse jinxiest among us had assured themselves that Michigan would Establish The Run and the purple interlopers would cower before the Gospel According to Jimmy.

But the quarterback whisperer has once again failed to develop a big-time talent under center, and his calling card defense proved it had snacked on one too many UConns in the regular reason. The result was an exciting signal-caller in Max Duggan making just enough plays to win and Emeri Demercado making the Cheddar-and-Blue look more like Swiss cheese.

Anyway, Michigan no longer has the underdog card to play, and I’m sure we’ll see a Kari Lake-esque reaction out of the Walmart faithful.


Peach Bowl // Ohio State hesitates, Bulldogs capitalize, 42-41

Regardless of your thoughts on Ohio State, a genuinely exciting game. Hell, in my haste to laugh at Michigan I forgot to note that that was a genuinely exciting game. But I digress.

The last minute-and-a-half of that game featured some of the mind-numbing arrogance that I’ve really come to love in the Ohio State football program. I hope Ryan Day is on a hot seat all offseason just for the decision to basically lay there for a minute and then trot out Noah Ruggles.

Stetson Bennett IV will make a lovely welcome mat for every defense the Houston Texans face in the next three seasons, but in the meantime the huck-and-pray, big-play Georgia offense was damn fun to watch. Hell, so was Ohio State’s. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes put together a game befitting of the College Football Playoff, if not the Championship, and that Ohio State lost is just a cherry on top of this incredibly moist cake.

MaximumSam: My (least) favorite moment. “Let’s bring in our official. Was that targeting?”

”No way guys. You can see Marvin Harrison’s head is still attached to his neck. His soul is still intact. Look, he’s wiggling his fingers and everything. By rule, that’s a clean hit.”

Second (least) favorite: ”Let’s bring in our replay official. Bob, did they get the timeout in time?”

”Guys, obviously they did. When they decide to give the timeout, it doesn’t matter if the ball was snapped. It could be pre-snap, post-snap. Heck guys, I’ve given timeouts after the game. When I decide to award timeouts, the fabric of space and time stop and bend to my whistle. That’s just how the rules work.”

My actual favorite: Whenever OSU did something good and they cut to the Georgia mascot on the sidelines looking like he needed to change up the coverage.

The Staff Reacts

He was a high school QB: Both games were competitive and fun and Michigan and OSU both lost. I think the day was absolutely perfect.

BoilerUp: Got the results I was hoping for.

Andrew Kurmudgeinski: First and foremost, both games ruled. A major complaint about the playoff, and a big reason I have not thought an expansion will lead to better football on the field, is that it’s usually very clear who the two best teams are. That’s resulted in a lot of non-competitive games, and yes, I say this full aware that my own team’s only appearance so far was one of those.

In light of that trend, getting two bangers of semifinals was a breath of fresh air. Were I personally a fan of either losing team, I wouldn’t hang my head about those results, and would instead take comfort in what wildly entertaining football they played. In that way it reminds me of the 2011 Big Ten title game; to lose that game that way stung for a while, but with the distance of time it’s become one of my favorite games to rewatch when I have the chance.

Enough magnanimity though. First, Michigan.

Oh, Junior Colson didn’t know what conference TCU is in? Well, you know now, bud, after a long night of watching their backs and receivers run past you. And there could not be a more Michigan Ending than a huge kerfuffle about a non-call on a failed lateral play, a perceived deprivation of their fair shake in a game where their massively overhyped quarterback threw two pick-sixes and they lost another fumble at the goal line. But now they can add it to their most treasured pantheon, not of big successes, but of Zapruder film betrayals. And y’all think MSU fans are the conspiracy-obsessed.

No no, I’m sure that one ref’s great-aunt being from Columbus means there’s a lot to look into here. Well, at least Jeem kept this margin closer than the one Proposal Three passed by. Eat shit, Harbaugh.

For Ohio State this is more straightforward. They did acquit themselves nicely against what will probably be the champ, and any continuing assertion they didn’t belong in the field can be dustbinned (results matter, sorry). But Ryan Day has watched what Noah Ruggles is capable of for multiple seasons now. His playcalling in the final seconds left them with a kick Ruggles was substantially less likely to make than if they’d been even five yards closer. He turtled in the big moment and that shouldn’t be lost in the consolatory back-slaps for a team that otherwise did well.