Measuring the Buckeyes for the BCS
By Rob Ogden
Back-to-back blowouts of Big Ten foes didn't do much for the Buckeyes' BCS hopes. Maybe a bye week will finally give Ohio State the boost that's needed.
Forget style points, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer likely knows that the Buckeyes' best chance to move up in the polls will come this weekend when three undefeated teams face top-13 opponents.
That's why Meyer said he'll be watching intently when No. 3 Oregon faces No. 5 Stanford and No. 6 Baylor faces No. 10 Oklahoma Thursday night.
With the Buckeyes off, Saturday's matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 13 LSU is of obvious interest to Meyer, as well.
The reason being, though hard for many Buckeye fans to swallow, is that Ohio State simply does not and will not have the resume to get into a BCS title game over an unbeaten Alabama, Florida State or Oregon.
A sad reality though it may be, in the BCS world in which we live, the Buckeyes can't make a case convincing enough to leapfrog the aforementioned teams no matter how many Big Ten bottom-feeders they obliterate.
This is not an indictment not of Ohio State — for all anyone knows, the Buckeyes are the best team in the country — but of the league in which it plays and of the schedule it navigates.
When next year's four-team playoff arrives, this will no longer be a worry. But for now, the Buckeyes better hope for upsets to cause a BCS shakeup.
To see why, simply take the names of the teams and look strictly at the resumes.
'Team A' is outscoring its FBS opponents 379-132. It has wins over two top-20 opponents and has game against a top-5 team remaining on its schedule. Team A is second in the nation in points for and eighth in points against.
'Team B' is outscoring its FBS opponents 355-99. It has wins over three top-25 teams and has two wins over top-10 opponents. It has no ranked teams remaining on its schedule. Team B is third in the nation in points for and fourth in points against.
'Team C' is outscoring its FBS opponents 358-153. It has wins over two top-25 teams, doesn't have a win over a top-15 team, and doesn't have a ranked team remaining on its schedule. Team C ranks fifth in the nation in points for and 10th in points against.
'Team D' is outscoring its FBS opponents 285-75. It has wins over two top-25 teams including one top-10 team. It has games against two top-15 teams remaining on its schedule. It ranks 11th in points for and first in points against.
All four teams are impressive and all four rank in the top 11 in the nation is both points for and points against per game.
The difference in the teams lies in that three of them have had or will have the ability for a marquee win over a top-10 team, while the other one will not.
As you may have been able to guess, Team A is Oregon, Team B is Florida State, Team C is Ohio State and Team D is Alabama.
Looking at each team's resume gives very little indication of how exactly the four teams would fare against each other, but is the only resource pollsters have off which to base their opinion.
In a just world, Ohio State wouldn't be penalized for playing in a perceived weaker conference, but
the fact of the matter is that the Buckeyes' resume simply doesn't stack up to that of the other three teams because of their weak strength of schedule.
Ohio State can't control the strength of the conference, but it did itself no favors in scheduling an underwhelming slate of non-conference opponents, as well.
And yes, I'm well aware, Vanderbilt was originally on the schedule, but last time I checked, beating the Indiana of the SEC wasn't going to score many points with the voters.
The main argument for the Buckeyes seems to lie in their 21-game winning streak.
It is almost absurd to believe that the Buckeyes could be on a 25-game winning streak and yet be excluded from the national championship game for the second-consecutive season.
But the fallacy in the winning-streak argument is that it takes into consideration what Ohio State has done over the past two seasons, when in reality, only this season matters.
Yes a 21-game winning steak is incredible. In more than 100 years of Ohio State football, it's the second longest of its kind in school history, and deserves just recognition.
But when arguing the Buckeyes' case for the 2014 BCS Championship game, only nine of those 21 games matter.
Just as Nick Saban's championship rings shouldn't factor into the Tide's 2013 fate, neither should the Buckeyes' 12-0 season from a year ago.
Last season doesn't matter. If it did, the 2002 Buckeyes would never have had the opportunity to play in the championship game after their 7-5 finish of 2001.
These Buckeyes are 9-0, not 21-0, and if they win out they'll be on a 13-game winning streak, not 25.
And right now, that might not be enough.
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