This is a therapeutic opinion piece by Gary Hauf.
Michigan, coming off a heartbreaking double OT loss at arch rival Ohio State, is still more deserving of a playoff spot over Washington, Wisconsin and Penn State. Allow me to explain why.
let me say this, Michigan lost.. no complaining about bad calls or slanted referees. Michigan lost.
With that said, here is my case.
First of all, we must understand what the playoff committee's job is. They are tasked with choosing the best 4 teams to compete for the National Title. Quality wins and strength of schedule are 2 major criteria that the committee considers. Conference champion is looked at as a slight check in the good column but it is not a requirement. If it were, then why even have a committee to begin with? Certain conferences are aligned unevenly and some teams have a much easier path to the title game. The SEC and B1G are perfect examples of this. Thus, being a conference champion holds some water but not much.
For me, this is all about Washington and Michigan. WIS and PSU do have a rather slim shot at the 4 spot but Michigan holds H2H wins over both of them and to me, that is good enough for the committee to give Michigan the nod over both of them. They have already played and Michigan won both by 7 and 39. End of story. OK also has a chance but OSU beat them in their house by a million so I just don't see them getting the nod.
Lets take a look at where Washington and Michigan sit in the Quality wins and SOS comparison.
QUALITY WINS OVER CURRENT TOP 25
Michigan: #6 Wisconsin 14-7, #7 PSU 49-10, #9 Colorado 45-28.
Washington: #17 Stanford 44-6
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
As you can see above, QW and SOS clearly and overwhelmingly fall on the side of the Wolverines.
Michigan has 3 wins over top 9 teams by an average margin of 21 points. Washington has only 1 win over #17 Stanford. It was a blowout but it is still just 1 win.
Now lets look at the less important(but still considered) quality losses.
Michigan: @ #22 Iowa 14-13. Iowa made last second FG to win it. @ #2 OSU 30-27 dbl OT. Michigan controlled most of the game and led for 95% of game time. Two unbelievably close losses in the last second. Both on the road.
Washington: #10 USC 26-13. Washington never lead in this game and they were at home.
It is my opinion that the committee knows who the best 4 teams are but will they have the guts to put Michigan in ahead of a 1 loss PAC 12 team? All the statistics the committee will look at will fall in favor of Michigan other than 1 more loss. That one more loss was to the #2 team, on the road in dbl OT, in which Michigan completely controlled the majority of the game. Will that be enough to overcome the extra loss? I don't think the committee will do the right thing in the end and put the one loss Washington in the 4 spot along with Alabama, OSU and Clemson.
All this will be a wash if WASH loses to Colorado(who M beat by 17). Michigan will have then beaten the B1G and the PAC12 Champs. Michigan gets in easily if Washington loses.
Did I make a good compelling case? Am I way off?
Feel free to comment below.