Monday, November 19, 2007

What You Wouldn't Expect

On the way home from work this evening, I heard some guys on the local ESPN station yappin' about the possible scenarios for Ohio State to get into the BCS Championship game. While it is true that if West Virginia, Missouri, and Kansas all lose Ohio State could be ranked #2 by season's end...I just hope it doesn't happen.

Yes, you read that right. I hope Ohio State does NOT play for the national championship on January 8.

Why? I'll give you two main reasons with sub-reasons mixed in for good measure.

1). Their Schedule

Of the 12 teams they played this year, 3 (Big Ten teams) were unranked, two of them are in the MAC, and 1 is a division II school.

At no point did OSU play a team ranked higher than 20th in the BCS rankings. Their toughest opponents were (in ascending order) Purdue, Michigan State (only because of turnovers), Wisconsin, Michigan and of course Illinois. All lost by 16, 7, 21, 11 points respectively save for the Fighting Illini. Penn State was no test at all (lost by 20) and the Northwestern Wildcats were kidnapped before game time and replaced by the South Korean Soccer Team...whom they promptly beat by 51(Since when does a Jim Tressel team beat ANYONE by 51).

The Big Ten is going through some rough times right now what with Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and, to an extent, Penn State and Purdue all having rather disappointing seasons. While the future of the conference is looking brighter thanks to the resurgence of Illinois and Wisconsin, the recent surge from long time whipping-boys Indiana and a few strong showings late in the season from Northwestern -- it still has a long way to go before it can ever hope to climb back into the discussion as one of the top two conferences in college football.

Fact: It isn't Ohio State's fault the Big Ten had a downer year.

Also Fact: ...but it didn't help boost their legitimacy in the eyes of the voters either.

2). Better Teams Exist

When you get to stand on the mountain as King of College Football, you should be rather confident in proclaiming that you are the nation's best team. While the Buckeyes may be ascending to the pinnacle (I did not say climbing*), they cannot say with any degree of certainty that they are, without question, the best team in the country.

To prove this assertion, I will list the teams that most likely would beat OSU were they to be matched up one-on-one. [Do remember that I bleed Scarlet and Gray]

They are, in no particular order:

LSU has demonstrated a very clear dominance on the field. To be able to go through their tough SEC schedule with only 1 loss speaks volumes. Flynn is not a quarterback who can consistently beat you with his feet, but throws an accurate ball and makes good decisions. Dorsey has proven himself to be down right dominant on the D-line, even with his knee injury. I'm not even going to get into their backfield.

OSU vs. LSU: Ohio State would hang tough through the half, but would wear down half way through the 3rd quarter.

The Florida Gators have three losses. So what. Tim Tebow, this year's Heisman-elect, is just as dangerous (if not more so) this year as he was last year. Ohio State would have no problems with staying motivated for this game and wouldn't dare let themselves tire out but have no answer for a legitimate dual-threat quarterback.

OSU vs. Florida: It would be closer than last year's NC game, but the result would be the same.

When Illinois danced a jig out the Horseshoe this year, it wasn't so much a celebration of what they had accomplished as it was a celebration of where that program is headed. Coach Ron Zook has gotten his team united. Juice Williams has bought into what Zook is trying to do in Champaign and it has rubbed off onto the rest of the players. As their successful recruiting continues, so will the habit of winning games.

OSU vs. The Fighting Illini: This game would be a 10-14 point win for U of I.

This was much more of a lock when Sam Bradford was healthy but I still think that this team has everything going for it. Without Bradford I'm not so sure that the Buckeyes would lose this game but considering that the NC game isn't for another 50 some days yet, the quarterback situation will take care of itself. Time has a knack for healing wounds.

OSU vs. OU: Relying on their defense to hold down the air attack, the Bucks would kill themselves on Pass Interference penalties. Advantage OU.

I had to listen to a bunch of yahoos prematurely elevate WVU to "Could beat OSU" status four years ago when Rasheed Marshall was still flinging the pigskin. I threw up in my mouth every time someone wearing an Eers t-shirt came up to me and started flappin' his jaws. Not so this year. Pat White is a smaller, yet butterfingered, version of Tim Tebow and would keep the defense on their heels all night. And when he got tired, he could always hand the ball off to Schmitt, Devine, or Slaton. Oh, yea...and he could throw it too.

OSU vs. WVU: Scary. Think Florida in last year's National Championship Game.

For more than obvious health reasons, it is too bad Dennis Dixon is out for the rest of the season. Without him on the roster, Oregon loses all of its heart. I was going to omit the Ducks from this list but they have been a high-energy offensive powerhouse all year long. It would be no different save for Dennis' unfortunate injury.

OSU vs Oregon: Dixon successfully executes 2 Statue of Liberty's against a defense that is a pushover for dual-threat quarterbacks.


Thanks to a stronger Big Ten and a trip to USC for game 3, next year's squad will be a true contender for the BCS championship...just not this year.

(*climbing refers to earning their way to the top. Ascending alludes to being helped by other teams losing and making way for an unworthy team.)


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