Monday, October 09, 2006

The Curse of the #2 Ranking

Curse of the #2 ranking:

Week #1 - #2 Notre Dame struggles to a 14-10 victory over unranked Georgia Tech (Falls to #3)

Week #2 - #2 Texas Longhorns disappoint, dropping a 24-7 loss against #1 Ohio State (Falls to #8)

Week #3 - #2 Notre Dame is humiliated at home by #11 Michigan 47-21 (Falls to #12)

Week #4 - #2 Auburn handily defeats unranked Buffalo 38-7

Week #5 - #2 Auburn struggles against unranked S Carolina, relying on a dropped pass in the end zone to prevent the game from going into overtime.

Week #6 - #2 Auburn falls to unranked Arkansas 27-10 (Falls to #11)

In the first six weeks, the #2 team has lost three times, fallen out of the #2 spot 4 times, and struggled in five of the six games. The schedule dictates that the #2 ranked team will continue to struggle.

How this will all end up:

#2 Florida must face consecutive #11 Auburn on the road and #16 Georgia. There is a very good chance the Gators will simply be the next in line of #2 teams failing to live up to expectations.

Once #2 Florida drops out of contention, the heir to the throne will be #3 USC. USC is destined to lose in week nine (#18 Oregon), week ten (#10 California), or week eleven (#9 Notre Dame). That is, if USC can even hang around that long. USC was very lucky to escape from Washington State and Washington with an undefeated record intact, and they look very ordinary. I can't fully understand why this team is still ranked so high.

After USC drops, the heir to the throne will be #4 Michigan. Michigan will likely inherit the #2 spot in week #9, 10 or 11, during a tough three game stretch of #87 Northwestern, #104 Ball State and #79 Indiana (I had to resort to CBS Sportsline to pull these rankings)

All of the above sets up the granddaddy of all games on week #12 (12-0 #1 Ohio State vs. 12-0 #2 Michigan) This will be the third time in history that both teams were undefeated when facing each other. The first time was 1973, but I couldn't find a reference online to the second meeting, and will be the true national championship, as I've been contending all along. This will be the second time that a #1 vs. #2 team face off in the same season.

It will be up to the Wolverines to defend the #2 spot. After three weeks defending the spot against cannon fodder (re: Northwestern, Ball State, Indiana), Michigan will have no problem defending the spot a fourth time and becoming the first #2 team to actually move up in the rankings all season.

After the hard-fought Michigan/Ohio State matchup, the pollsters are still not convinced that West Virginia is a better team than the Ohio State Buckeyes, but reluctantly give untested West Virginia the undeserved #2 spot. The Mountaineers quite naturally fit into the role of the underachieving #2 team, becoming the sixth #2 ranked team to lose, leaving Michigan and Boise State as the two undefeated teams in the country.