Michigan got all the help it was supposed to need, but somehow, it still wasn’t enough.
Despite Southern Cal’s 13-9 loss to UCLA on Saturday, the football team’s national championship hopes officially came to an end yesterday.
Florida, ranked No. 4 in last week’s Bowl Championship Series rankings, jumped past both Michigan and Southern Cal into the BCS National Championship Game against No. 1 Ohio State.
The Gators rode the momentum from their 38-28 win against No. 8 Arkansas in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference Championship Game to slip past idle
Florida and Michigan received an identical .940 computer ranking, which accounts for one-third of the total BCS average.
The other two-thirds, composed of the Harris and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, put Florida ahead of Michigan (.9451 to .9317 and .9484 to .9316, respectively).
“I don’t think (Florida) would have moved ahead of us had (Southern Cal) won the game,” Carr said.
Early Sunday morning, before Carr received word that Michigan would be left out of the BCS National Championship Game, he predicted that the day would bring controversy.
“I think it’s going to be a great controversy – I don’t care who gets selected,” Carr said on the weekly television show “Michigan Replay.” “I just think that based on some of the comments the Florida coach has made in the last two weeks – campaigning strenuously for a berth in the championship game – and making some statements about Michigan that I think were inappropriate.”
But Sunday night during a teleconference, Carr refused to comment on whether he felt Michigan was better than Florida, and also if he thought Florida coach Urban Meyer campaigned excessively for votes.
“I said the system would speak, and it has spoken,” he said.
The Harris poll, which was introduced in 2005 when the AP poll coordinators decided they didn’t want to be associated with the BCS, brought on more controversy with the final vote.
It is composed of 113 former players, coaches and administrators.
One voter, Jim Walden, voted Florida as the No. 1-ranked team. Other voters put Michigan fourth, behind teams like Louisville, Southern Cal or Louisiana State, all of which have two losses.
Bowl Championship Series coordinator Mike Slive addressed the possibility that certain pollsters could be purposely voting one team lower than they should to help another team, but said there is no way of knowing the individual intentions of each voter.
The ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, in which Michigan held a 40-point advantage prior to last weekend, almost completely flipped. When the poll was released Sunday, Florida had a 26-point edge over the Wolverines.
Forty-four coaches had Florida as the No. 2 team, while just 18 had Michigan in the second spot.
Coaches who favored the Wolverines included Rutgers coach Greg Schiano and Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis.
The most notable Florida proponent was Louisiana State coach Les Miles, a Michigan graduate and former assistant coach for the Wolverines. His vote for the Gators as No. 2 probably was a result of conference loyalty – both his Tigers and Florida are SEC teams.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel abstained from voting, leaving the poll one vote shorter than normal.
“I thought it was real slick,” Carr said when asked of Tressel’s abstention.
When asked if there would ever be a situation that would cause him to not vote in a poll, Carr sternly replied “No.”
Carr wasn’t the only one who didn’t feel like talking about the news.
As soon as the big screen TV flashed the pairings at Buffalo Wild Wings last night, several tables full of Michigan fans rose and departed without looking back.
Fourth-year medical student Srinu Kusuma sighed as he got up to leave.
“I had hope,” he said. “I still believe we’re the second-best team in the nation.”
Those who remained mumbled about doing the unthinkable: rooting for Ohio State in a football game.
“I believe Florida gets stomped on by a team we only lost to by three,” Kusuma said.
In terms of the Rose Bowl, Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll said he expects his Trojans to be up against a strong team.
“They are loaded, they’ve had a great season,” said Carroll, who chooses not to vote in the coaches poll at all. “They’re terrific on offense and terrific on defense. It’s going to be most challenging.”
– Dave Mekelburg contributed to this story.
How the BCS rankings are calculated
l) Two polls are taken into account. ESPN/USA Today polls coaches, and Harris Interactive polls coaches, administrators, former players and current and former media professionals.
2) These are combined with the average of six computer rankings.
3) The computer rankings, the Harris poll and the coaches poll each contribute one-third to a team’s overall BCS score. The three are averaged to compute a team’s BCS ranking.