Lloyd Carr is Delusional
Former Michigan head coach revealed that he's still bothered that Michigan had to share the national title with Nebraska in 1997. Particularly eye-roll inducing was his remark that "Why would it bother you that someone else is out there claiming, inaccurately, that they had the best team?" As a Husker fan, let's break down the accuracy of NU's claim to a title that year.
I present the following verifiable facts:
1. Only one major college team won 13 games in 1997 - Nebraska.
2. That 13-win Husker team trounced two teams that finished in the top 8 in the polls - Tennessee (42-17) led by Peyton Manning and Kansas State (56-26) whose only loss was to NU.
3. The highest ranked team that Michigan beat that year in the final rankings was #9 Washington State led by Ryan Leaf. The victory was by a narrow margin (21-16). Replays clearly show that Leaf clocked the ball on the Michigan 26 yard line with one or two seconds remaining but was denied the opportunity to run another play that could have given the Cougars the victory.
4. The next highest ranked team beaten by the Wolverines was #12 Ohio State, by six points in Ann Arbor.
5. Other close calls for Michigan included a touchdown victory over unranked Notre Dame and a four-point victory over ultimately unranked Iowa.
6. Nebraska also trounced two other ranked teams they faced at Washington (27-14) and versus Texas A&M in San Antonio (54-15).
7. Las Vegas oddsmakers said they would make Nebraska a ten-point favorite over Michigan on a neutral field. In fact, they said that 3rd ranked Florida State would also be favored on a neutral site over the Wolverines. Most computer polls following the season told a similar story.
Michigan's strongest arguments were margin of victory over a couple of opponents. Of course, the Wolverines faced the schools in Michigan while Nebraska faced those teams on their campuses. Michigan also might get an edge if you look at where teams were ranked when games were played versus final rankings. So was the Colorado team that Michigan faced really that much stronger because it was the opening game of the season and hadn't been exposed as a fraud by the time they played NU 3 months later?
Then there's the miracle at Missouri where NU won on what some would call an illegal play. That one's in the eye of the beholder and therefore an argument neither side can win. The officials ruled it legal, when perhaps they shouldn't (if they deemed Wiggins kick deliberate). But for those who want to go too far down this road, I refer back to #3 above. The Wolverines benefitted from a borderline call as well that could have changed the outcome of their game as well.
Let's not forget Scott Frost's words following NU's Orange Bowl victory over Tennessee: "My plea is to the coaches," Frost said. "If your job depended on playing either Michigan or Nebraska, who would you rather play?" Apparently, those coaches liked their changes of beating Michigan just a wee bit more.