Today's case: The People vs. Lloyd Carr and The University of Michigan Wolverines.
On December 4th, an ESPN writer wrote, "Michigan was jobbed out of the BCS National Championship Game."
Think he's eating those words now?
Here are the facts as of Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007:
On a brilliant Monday afternoon, Carr and the Wolverines mourned the loss of former President Gerald Ford, a Michigan alumnus. Ford died less than a week before the Wolverines were scheduled to face USC in the Rose Bowl. In December, USC lost to UCLA, thereby opening a postseason Pandora's Box that ultimately led to Carr crying foul.
On January 1st, the coach was just crying.
His Wolverines were decimated in a second half for which only one of the teams showed up. Final Score: USC 32, Michigan 18. So much for foul play in the Bowl Championship Series. With the loss, Michigan opened the door for either Florida or Ohio State to become the outright national champion. Hate to say I told you so...but not really.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article examining the usual suspects in an attempt to help Carr lay the blame on someone else. Unfortunately, all signs still pointed to him. After Monday, he really has nowhere else to point that finger. On New Year's Day, an overconfident, disgruntled, and heavyhearted Michigan team was expected to roll past the Trojans. Analysts thought it. Vegas thought it. Just about everyone in the country thought it too...
Except, of course, for USC.
When the dust finally settled, the Trojans sent the Wolverines back to Ann Arbor looking more like the Colorado Buffaloes than a team that spent two solid weeks complaining about a Fiesta Bowl snub. Joke's on the college football world, I guess—in 2006, "unpredictable" seems to be the new buzzword for the BCS.
Don't believe me?
Just ask Oklahoma.
And about those experts? So far, they're 0-for-2 with their picks. Every ESPN analyst save for one said that Michigan would win the BCS if there were a playoff system in force. Oops. Tell that to Florida, Ohio State, Auburn, Boise State, and USC. Or Lloyd Carr, for that matter.
Ever been to a bar and had everyone tell you that you were wrong about a big-game pick? That was me before the Rose Bowl. But I knew better than to bow to the pressure: I knew that for every surefire sports favorite ready to conquer the world, there's an overlooked underdog waiting to play spoiler.
Look at the last two months. In October, everyone picked the Yankees to win the World Series. After the Bombers got bounced, the Tigers were supposed to sweep the Cardinals. Boise State beats Oklahoma. Auburn beats Nebraska. USC beats Michigan.
Not from where I'm sitting. More like history repeating itself.
And so, after careful deliberation, I've reached a second verdict in the Michigan case...and I hope I won't have to go back into this again. To reiterate my previous statement: The coaches tried in my previous article (Meyer, Carroll, Nutt, Tressel) are excused from blame for Michigan's downfall. Instead, we the jury find the defendant, Coach Lloyd Carr:
Guilty of being a two-year-old with a nasty temper and dee-dee-dee complex.
Guilty of squeaking by teams his Wolverines should have slaughtered.
Guilty of calling Florida coach Urban Meyer a Judas for campaigning for his team...when in fact Carr was simply jealous for not having thought of it first.
Guilty of selling USC short because of what UCLA did to them on that fateful weekend in December.
Guilty of blaming his team's shortcomings on everyone from Meyer to Jim Tressel to a computer—but not on himself.
Guilty most of all, along with the college football crew at ESPN, of actually believing that Michigan could have won the BCS Championship if a playoff system were in effect.
Sorry, Lloyd—if there actually had been a playoff, the Trojans would have sent you packing quicker than NFL troublemakers get sent packing to Oakland to finish off their dismal careers.
And for the record: That's pretty quick.
Maybe it's true that controversy creates cash—and so maybe we'll have to hear about the "The Greatest Travesty in History" for a long time to come. Oh well. Until the "experts" come to their senses, Michigan's punishment—and Lloyd Carr's sentence—is as clear as a bright Blue day:
GO DIRECTLY TO #3! DO NOT PASS GLENDALE! DO NOT COLLECT A NATIONAL TITLE!
This court is adjourned until August. Coach Carr, you can stop looking in the mirror now—you got served!