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December 05, 2006 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, December S, 2006 - 9

BCS can't seem
to avoid issues
ence everyone's already ics'year. Southern Cal, Oklahoma
heard all the analysts' opin- and Auburn all finished the season
ions on Michigan's unfortu- with perfect records, but after add-
nate postseason fate, I decided the ing up the numbers, the Trojans
best way to handle the blow would and Sooners took the top-two spots
be to rank the in the BCS. Auburn had survived
top-four Bowl a brutal Southeastern Confer-
Champion- ence schedule, which somehow
ship contro- holds more weight now when the
versies. pollsters consider who should go
where. In 2004, it wasn't good
No.4: enough for the computers, and the
2000. Trojans and Sooners squared off
In what's KEV,~ for the title.
become a In the Orange Bowl, Southern
common WRIGHT Cal dismantled Oklahoma 55-19,
BCS trend, taking the National Championship
the regu- The Sixth Man and leaving Auburn coach Tommy
lar season Tuberville whining for months
ended with an undefeated and a afterward - apparently a common
one-loss team in the champion- trend among SEC coaches.
ship game. Florida State recov-
ered from an early-season loss to No. 2:2001.
Miami - which coincidentally also Miami entered the season the
finished with one loss - to place hands-down favorite to take home
second in the standings. The Hur- the National Championship, and as
ricanes were also ranked second in the season progressed, Nebraska
both human polls, but in the BCS looked poised to contend for the
computation, Miami couldn't beat chance. The Cornhuskers finished
out Florida State. The Seminoles 11-1 with just one glaring weakness:
entered the game as a 10.5-point They didn't win their own confer-
favorite, but the Sooners rolled to a ence. Colorado handily defeated
13-2 win. Florida State coach Bobby Nebraska, 62-36, in the Big 12
Bowden even commented on the Championship Game, but when
matchup after the game. the rankings were averaged, the
"When I look at it now, I think it Cornhuskers remained entrenched
should have been Miami and Okla- in the No. 2 spot. That resilience
homa," Bowden said to The Associ- didn't help them beat Miami, as the
ated Press. "We didn't look like we Hurricanes rolled over Nebraska
belonged here." 37-14 in the Rose Bowl to claim the
At least he was willing to National Championship.
acknowledge a mistake had been No.3 Oregon also sported a 10-1
made. record, but the Ducks were left out
of the National Championship con-
No.3:2004. versation because their strength of
* Every year, BCS antagonists schedule was too weak.
prayed for more than two teams
to finish the regular season unde- No.1: 2003.
feated. They thought that kind of Michigan-Nebraska was sup-
scenario would force the confer- posed to be the last split National
ence commissioners to get together Championship, or at least that's the
and find a new system to decide the problem the BCS should have fixed.
National Championship. But in 2003, the greatest BCS con-
Well, 2004 was the BCS crit- troversy yet unfolded in the final
ICE HOCKEY
Call of duty: Cogs
headed to Worlds
By JAMES V.DOWD British Columbia and sat around
Daily Sports Writer television sets watching games
while eating holiday meals.
Andrew Cogliano's five-goal per- "Everyone in Canada at Christ-
formance during this past week- mas time watches the tourna-
end's series with Western Michigan ment," Cogliano said. "Last year, it
didn't net him the CCHA Offensive was in Canada and the whole coun-
Player of the Week award. But the try gathered around the team. Even
sophomore did receive the ulti- when we play overseas everyone
mate reward for a young Canadian is watching. It's a big thrill when
hockey player yesterday: A second everyone supports us."
straight bid to Team Canada's Should Cogliano make the team,
World Junior Championship selec- he will once again miss the Great
tion camp. Lakes Invitational later this month.
After helping our neighbor to It's also possible that he will miss
the north win its second straight this Sunday's game at Notre Dame,
and 12th overall gold medal at because the selection camp begins
last year's tournament in British Sunday night in Calgary.
Columbia, Cogliano was named to While it was hard for the Wol-
this year's 38-man pool by Canada verines to lose a goal scorer for the
coach Craig Hartsburg. GLI last season, the larger issue
"It's obviously a thrill to be was Cogliano's play in the weeks
picked, and I had a pretty good after his gold-medal performance.
time last year," Cogliano said. "But After playing solidly in the first
even though I'm going to the camp, half of the season, the then-fresh-
it's going to be a tough time making man struggled to find his feet upon
the team." returning from the World Junior
During last year's tournament, Championships.
Cogliano served largely as a role How the championships will
player, but he anticipates making a affect a player's performance upon
bigger impact this time around. In a returning to Ann Arbor varies, but

more limited capacity than Michi- Michigan coach Red Berenson sees
gan fans are used to, the sophomore the international experience as an
notched five points, with a goal and important one.
four assists during Canada's gold- "We have kids who have left here
medal run. with a lot of confidence and came
"Last year, I played a different back with no confidence," Beren-
role, playing on the third line," son said. "And some kids come back
Cogliano said. "I think (Hartsburg, with a gold medal and play well.
an assistant coach last year) really (At Michigan), we put together a
liked the way I played and he's the team of elite players who receive
coach this year. He invited me to the opportunity (to represent their
the summer camp, and I got really country), and we're affording them
good feedback from them there." that opportunity."
Despite the improvements he's Michigan may also stand to
made over the course of a year, receive an advantage in Canadian
Cogliano knows his battles are far recruiting if Cogliano makes the
from over. Of the 38 players in con- team.
tention for a roster spot, just 22 will "Maybe Michigan will ben-
be named to the team. Cogliano efit from all this," Berenson said.
is just one of three players from "Maybe Cogliano came to Michi-
American colleges. _ gan because (former Wolverine
Just training with quality play- Mike) Cammelleri played on the
ers can be a mentally, physically Canadian team, and Jason Botter-
and emotionally draining process, ill went three years in a row. That
even before you make the team. might have helped some other kid
"(The selection process) is really make the decision to come to Mich-
tough," Cogliano said. "It's some- igan."
times tougher than the tourna- NOTES: Michigan's two injured
ment. It's pretty intense, and you defensemen, senior Jason Dest and
don't want to see any of the guys sophomore Jack Johnson, both sat
you make friends with not make out of practice yesterday. Dest dis-
the team." located his shoulder and Johnson
Making the team is considered suffered an undisclosed shoulder
a top honor for young Canadians injury during Saturday's game at
because the entire nation bonds Western Michigan.
over the performance of the team. Berenson said that Dest will
While the tournament was hardly likely sit out a month, and Johnson
televised in the United States last is day-to-day after X-rays on his
year. Canada filled the rinks in shoulder were negative.

Amaker counts
on experience

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr isn't the only person toexperience the BCS blues.
Since its incention in 1998, the RCS hascaused hearthreak to a nurnerhnftearns

By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Writer
Senior Brent Petway went from
shooting less than 50 percent from
the field against North Carolina
State to recording a perfect 4-for-4
versus Wofford.
Senior Lester Abram improved
from a woeful2-for-8 shootingshow-
ing against the Wolfpack to scoring
seven points in the final 45 seconds
of the first half last Saturday.
Senior Courtney Sims rebounded
from scoring just seven points in the
Big Ten/ACC Challenge, to drop 19
against the Terriers.
And senior Dion Harris went
from missing 10 from behind the
arc against North Carolina State to
dismantling the Wofford defense
for his first career double-double (14
points, 10 assists).
So what happened in the five days
between Michigan's 74-67loss to the
Wolfpack and its 83-49 beatdown of
the Terriers?
For one, the opponent got easier.
Wofford is a below-.500 team
from the Southern Conference,
while North Carolina State is an
undefeated team from the power-
house Atlantic Coast Conference.
But while a weak opponent may
have helped, the Wolverines' senior
class got in gear in part because of
a meeting with Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker.
"Coming off the loss to North Car-
olina State, (Amaker) wasn't happy
with our leadership," Harris said.
"We, as seniors, have to take more
control of the team. He can't always
be the one jumping down our throats
when things aren't going well or guys
aren'tgivingtheir best effort. He said
that's up to us sometimes."
Harris seems to have responded
best to the meeting. After taking too
many shots in the comeback effort
versus the Wolfpack, the Detroit
native simply played within the flow

of Saturday's game.
The 14 points against Wofford
were expected, but 10 assists and just
one turnover were what particularly
impressed the coaching staff. For
a team still searching for a reliable
point guard, Harris's performance
was a welcome relief. His ability to
set up other players allowed younger
players like freshman DeShawn Sims
to excel against the Terriers.
Even though the Wolverines have
a number of young players on their
team, the burden of making the
NCAA Tournament will ultimately
fall onto the seniors' shoulders.
With all four in the starting lineup,
the onus is on them to produce every
game.
"I guess coach saw that we could
have done more as far as being the
senior group," Abram said. "Our
team is going to go how the seniors
go. ... I guess it just took a loss to
wake everybody up and see we have
to have better practices and play
better in the games."
Michigan currently stands at 8-1,
but all eight of those wins have come
against teams from non-power con-
ferences. There aren't many poten-
tial blowouts left on a schedule that
includes games against No. 1 UCLA
and Georgetown, in addition to a
challenging Big Ten schedule. But
if anyone can handle that, it may be
these four players.
Whether it's injuries, arrests of
teammates or just poor play, Amak-
er realizes that these seniors have
endured it all in their three previous
years as Wolverines - all except an
NCAA Tournamentbid.
"(Amaker) knows how much
we've been through together with
him, and he just wants to see us
succeed," Sims said. "Coach always
says he's here for us, especially the
senior class. He meets with us a lot,
so (the meeting) wasn't just because
we lost. He just wanted us to refocus
on the goal at hand."

few weeks of the season.
Oklahoma and Louisiana State
went through the regular season as
clear-cut favorites to make the title
game. And Southern Cal had an
outside shot after rebounding from
an early loss to California to finish
the regular season 11-1. The Soon-
ers dominated every team they
played until running into Kansas
State in the Big12 Championship
Game. Oklahoma lost badly, but the
Sooners' performance throughout
the season gave them enough room
that the loss didn't change their
final destination. Oklahoma fell
just one spot in the BCS standings,
to No. 2. The final BCS rankings
proved late-season losses aren't
that harmful.
Still, the National Champion-
ship matchup between Louisiana
State and Oklahoma in the Sugar
Bowl suggested that one of the two

teams didn't belong there, as the
Tigers won 21-14 in a game that
wasn't as close as the score indi-
cates.
After Southern Cal's victory over
Michigan in the Rose Bowl, both
The Associated Press and Coaches
Polls voted Southern Cal No.1. But,
the computer rated Louisiana State
the National Champions. The two
teams split the honor, and contro-
versy remained the name of the
game for the BCS.
So there you have it. While you
might feel too depressed to go on
this holiday season, at least take
some solace in previous team's mis-
fortunes.
It'll beat that hand-knit-
ted sweater you get from your
grandma.
- Wright can be reached
at kpwr@umich.edu.

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