Big Sports Wins in Michigan Yesterday

Yesterday the Detroit Tigers clinched a spot in the World Series. It is too early for any team to clinch a spot in the college football national championship game, but Michigan’s victory over Penn State yesterday did place Michigan in control of their destiny, and makes the Michigan vs. Ohio State game one of the biggest ever.

Prior to starting the misnamed Bowl Championship Series (as it is not a series but a number of individual match ups), there would be arguments over who deserves the national championship. More than one team which won their bowl game could have a valid claim. The BCS was developed to attempt to give a more definite result by matching the number one and number two teams. The problem is that, if it was not always totally clear who deserved to be number one after the bowl games, it is also not totally clear who deserves to be number one and two after the regular season. If there are more than two undefeated teams, or if the championship game includes one game with a single loss while others with the same record don’t go, the result remains controversial.

While it may change by the end of the season, this year there remains several undefeated teams and the possibility exists that a team can remain undefeated but still not make the championship game. Last week Michigan was ranked 4th and 5th in the two major polls, and faced the prospect that it could remain undefeated and possibly still be shut out of the championship game.

Assuming that the BCS Poll mirrors the results of the AP and USA Today Polls, Michigan has now moved up far enough (2nd and 3rd respectively) where this is unlikely. Even a number three ranking gong into the Michigan-Ohio State game, assuming Ohio State remains number one, would virtually guarantee them a spot in the championship game by defeating Ohio State.

The big loser may be the Rose Bowl. Before the BCS was developed, the Rose Bowl had one of the best bowl games every year with the champions of the Big Ten and Big Twelve conferences. If things remain as they are, the Big Ten champion (winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game) would play USC. While a lot can change, most likely as has already happened in recent years, the Rose Bowl will lose at least one of the two conference champions from their traditional match up.

If the results for the Tigers and Wolverines weren’t good enough news, The Detroit Free Press reports on a surge by Jennifer Granholm in the polls.

Kerry Goes After Bush, And Looks Towards 2008

Today’s Washington Post reports With Eye On 2008, Kerry Goes After Bush. I’ve previously posted the specifics of Kerry’s latest criticism of Bush, but this article is of interest for its discussion of Kerry running for the 2008 nomination. They note the obstacles, such as Hillary Clinton’s lead, but are somewhat misleading when quoting one poll placing Kerry forth and ignoring others that place him as high as second.

Those of us who recall the fall of 2003, when everyone said Dean was unbeatable between his lead in the polls, his netroots support, and growing list of endorsements, and recall how Kerry even trailed Al Sharpton in some polls, are not going to be concerned about today’s conventional wisdom. Nor will Kerry allow this to dissuade him:

None of this seems to discourage the Massachusetts senator. He said he has been getting a far different sense from conversations with Democrats during his travels this fall. “I’m very encouraged,” he said in an interview a few hours before his speech. “I know what the conventional wisdom is, and it’s had a good record of being wrong.”

Kerry believes he was defeated in 2004 in large part because of what he calls two lies from his opponents: one about the way America went to war in 2003, the other far more personal — the Swift Boat veterans’ attacks that challenged his Vietnam War record, crippling his campaign in August 2004.

Democrats still fault Kerry for failing to fight back against those charges, and he says he regrets that he was not more aggressive. “We thought the truth was understood,” he said. “We should have done more.” But, Kerry added: “I don’t think that should disqualify you from being president of the United States, necessarily.”

What is disqualifying, he believes, is the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy. “This war is utterly disastrous,” he said. “It’s without parallel in modern American foreign policy history in the incompetence and in the lack of effort to bring elders of both parties together and create an atmosphere of solving it. And I am incensed that young Americans are losing their lives because these guys are arrogant and incompetent.”

Those kinds of comments have drawn instant rebukes from critics in the Republican Party, and even Democrats have been reluctant to follow Kerry’s recommendations for changing policy by setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces. He predicts that more of his colleagues in the Senate will move his way after the midterm elections.

Kerry said those who have encouraged him to run again believe he can be a viable candidate. “Are there enough people who believe that?” he asked. “Can we put that together? Have I learned the lessons of getting kicked on my butt and dusted up, and can I bring a better experience to the table? I think I’ve learned a lot of lessons. The question is, can you convey that to people? I don’t know. Those are the imponderables.”

The Washington Post also has an interview with John Kerry previously conducted by Bob Woodward.

Update: Transcript of John Kerry’s appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Related Story: The Case for Kerry 2008