With all the drama we witnessed in fashionable Hoover, Alabama last week, it’s easy to forget that the SEC wasn’t the only conference busy entertaining the media. The Big Ten held its media bash last week as well, and though the focus was no doubt on RichRod, there was another story to consider: how will the conference’s best team fare in the national title hunt?
Make no mistake about it, Ohio State has two very strong things going for it this season, as College Football News highlights – a loaded, experienced team and a favorable schedule.
It’s just that there’s this nagging bit of baggage trailing after these guys.
Tired of scarlet and gray in the national championship game? You might not be alone. Ohio State’s poor showings in the past two BCS title games could have reached critical mass with the pollsters.
At least that was the opinion of Buckeyes quarterback Todd Boeckman on Friday at the Big Ten media days. This might be news to those in Ohio, but Ohio State has been ripped by critics after being dominated by Florida and LSU in the final game.
Asked if his team would get the benefit of the doubt from voters if they are in position to play for the championship again, Boeckman said, “If it comes down to it, probably not because of where we’ve been in the past.”
Obviously, OSU will start in the top five in the polls this year. Beat Southern Cal and the Buckeyes can start shopping for sunscreen to pack for Miami. But what if they lose in LA? What if they lose in a close one in LA and run the rest of the table? Or alternatively, what if they win in LA, but drop a conference game? Where does a one-loss Ohio State team fit in the mix and how long are voters’ memories, anyway?
Those will be interesting questions to follow all year, particularly if in the end there are no undefeated BCS conference teams in D-1 football again.
6 responses to “If at first you don’t succeed, will they let you try, try again?”
There should be no doubt that Ohio State has a very good football team this year. Perhaps not good enough to go through a difficult schedule, but possibly good enough to make it through the 2-3 games where the other team has comparable athleticsm. They are good enough to upset USC, although I see USC winning a pretty close game. Should they get by the Trojans, they have an excellent chance of running the table. Given their Top 5 starting position, an undefeated OSU would almost certainly make it to the Orange Bowl. Defensively they are very solid, and the Big 11 offenses do not offer much of a threat. Only USC has the offensive scheme to outscore OSU’s average offense, imo.
I do think OSU will have to be undefeated to get another shot at the BCS title game this year. A one loss OSU with their weak schedule (and their performance in the last two BCS games) would have to yield to another team. A one loss UGA, Okie, Mizzou, USC, LSU, UF, or even WVU would have a better case with voters.
I, too, have wondered if Ohio State may get unfairly dinged in the polls this season for being a good team with some ugly MNC baggage, but at the same time they may benefit from an opposite situation: Getting credit for playing in a conference that has a mighty brand name but is nevertheless going to suuuuck this year.
In other words, whatever “Yeah, they’re good . . . but they sure crapped the bed in their last two BCS bowls” sentiment on the pollsters toward season’s end is likely to be balanced out to some extent by “Well, they won the Big Ten, so what the hell” thinking from those same folks. Even though the Big Ten might end up being only the fourth-best conference in I-A this year.
For that reason, I think a one-loss tOSU team, particularly if that one loss is the Trojans, would still be a mighty attractive MNC participant. Then again, you never know what kind of last-minute machinations the voters might take part in if it looks like the MNC is shaping up to be a USC-tOSU rematch. Certainly they’ve had no qualms the past couple years about gaming the system to ensure a specific matchup (even if the eventual MNC winners did turn out to be completely deserving both times).
I know this is out of place so you can delete it, but I wasn’t sure how to contact you. Didn’t know if you saw this or not, but an interesting read: http://onlineathens.com/stories/072708/business_tailgate.shtml
I’ve got a topic posted about it over at Dawg Sports.
I think I’ve mentioned that I live in Michigan amongst the Wolverines, Sparties and Buckeyes. Michigan even has a resort town named after Brutus the Buckeye (seriously). I have Georgia stickers on my car, I fly my Georgia flag out front, anyone who’s ever spoken to me knows I’m from Georgia y’all AND, I live in fear that if Georgia meets up with one of these teams in a bowl game my tires will get slashed. (BTW, not to jinx it or anything, CMU on the schedule this year does NOT concern me, but I think I heard some Wolverines make that same statement prior to the Appalachian State game).
Anyhoo, being unwillingly steeped in Big Ten B.S. up here and knowing what I know about the S.E.C. the only comment I have about Ohio State and their ranking is this….Strength of schedule boys. Strength of schedule.
And that will be that, and we’ll move on to more pressing matters.
There’s an X-factor at work, here, though — Kirk Herbstreit. Maybe the last two years counteract that, maybe not, but if OSU is in the mix, it goes without saying that one of ESPN’s top two analysts (and thus, one of the two most prominent opinion-makers in college football) will be on the Buckeye Bandwagon. Don’t underestimate that.
That said, if OSU goes 12-0 and convincingly beats USC, they deserve a title shot. If they don’t do both, then — deserving or not — I bet they’ll spend New Year’s in Pasadena not Miami.