The bye week is over and the Buckeyes now await a home matchup on Saturday against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The second half of the season is about to begin and we’ll look ahead to what needs to happen for the Buckeyes to make a trip to Pasadena to play for the National Championship. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
The Hawkeyes come into the Shoe on Saturday well rested having sat through their own bye this past weekend. The last time they saw action was a 26-14 loss to Michigan State in Iowa City. Overall they come in at 4-2 and, to be honest, nothing really impresses you or stands out about Kirk Ferentz 2013 Hawkeye team.
The Hawkeyes not being anything special means the Buckeyes lose a shot at a quality win. Quality wins and strength of schedule are what goes into those BCS numbers that will determine if an undefeated Ohio State team gets to play for the crystal ball. I realize this is a foreign concept to a lot of people, but it is a real possibility that the Bucks could wind up 13-0 and on the outside looking in. At this point it actually seems like the likely scenario after the conference championship games are played and the bowls are selected.
For the Buckeyes to be invited to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl National Championship presented by Orange Juice, LED Televisions and God knows what else, they must obviously finish unbeaten. Another thing that Buckeye fans seem to dislike is winning with style points i.e. running up big point totals. And the Buckeyes would definitely be well advised to take advantage of any opportunity whereby that is an option.
Breaking it down, how I see it
Ok, so if the Buckeyes going undefeated and being left out of the championship game is looking more and more like a likely scenario then who are the teams that will be holding them out? I decided I’d break it into some groups…
Controls their own destiny: Alabama and Oregon
Currently ranked 1 and 2 in all of the polls, the Ducks and Crimson Tide need only win out and they will meet in Pasadena for the National Championship. The nation seems to be in love with the possibility of Oregon getting their shot after being left out last year for an undefeated Notre Dame team. The last time the Ducks played the SEC for all the marbles was on January 11th, 2011 in Glendale against Auburn, a game they lost on a last second field goal 22-19.
The Buckeye factor: Regarding these two teams, there isn’t one. The Buckeyes can go 13-0 and win every game by 25 points and they will still sit home and watch undefeated Alabama play undefeated Oregon.
Needs just one slip up: Clemson and Florida State
The Tigers and the ‘Noles will meet this Saturday in what essentially becomes an elimination game in the national title chase. The winner moves (or in Clemson’s case stays) to number three and waits for the Ducks or Alabama to slip up.
The Buckeye factor: This for me is where things get murky and complicated. I think Ohio State stays at number 4, provided they handle their business and remain unbeaten. The problem will be making a case for Ohio State to go ahead of Clemson or Florida State if one of the top two fall.
It all comes down to strength of schedule and national perception on voters.
Clemson will stand before the jury and show their win over Georgia (SEC), South Carolina (SEC), Florida State (ACC) and either Miami or Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.
Florida State will show their wins over Clemson (ACC), Miami (ACC), Florida (SEC) and either Virginia Tech or Miami again in the ACC championship.
Ohio State will have to contend that road wins at California, Northwestern and Michigan coupled with home wins over Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State throwing in a Big Ten championship Game win over Nebraska are a greater achievement than those of the Tigers and Seminoles.
Be honest with yourself and tell me which one is more impressive in the comment section below.
It doesn’t matter, they aren’t going
This table for one is reserved for Louisville. Barring some incomprehensible end of the world type scenario whereby the Buckeyes, Seminoles, Tigers, Ducks, and Crimson Tide all wind up with a loss, Louisville still won’t be invited. When the crowning achievements of your season are wins over Central Florida, Memphis, Cincinnati and Kentucky… fuhgeddaboutit.
Outside looking in, but may be the wild card in all of this
Don’t look now, but LSU is creeping back up the polls and looked pretty good jacking up Florida last weekend. The Tigers have some big games left to play, and if they win out could leapfrog an undefeated team aka Ohio State. While the experts will point out that an undefeated team from a major conference has never been left out of the championship game in favor of a one loss team, I would point out to them that the BCS has only been controlled by ESPN for a couple of years now and they didn’t have a chance to get their hands involved back then. Go ahead and laugh, but search your feelings, you know it’s true. (nerds love that stuff)
If LSU and the Mad Hatter finish their season with wins over ranked Florida, ranked Mississippi, ranked Auburn, ranked TCU in Texas, over top ten Texas A&M, on the road at number 1 Alabama and then win the SEC championship game over a top ten ranked Missouri, South Carolina or Georgia, and their only loss is by 3 points in a shootout between the hedges in Athens against Georgia… You think “the powers that be” won’t jump LSU over Clemson, Florida State or Ohio State to play Oregon for the national championship to make sure all those SEC eyes are tuned in? Next you’re going to tell me how honorable the world of college football is and how everyone gets a fair shake and things like that could never happen. And if you believe that, I have Johnny Football autographed pictures to sell you that he didn’t make a penny off of.
The Buckeye factor: The Buckeyes would be the recipient of one of the all-time greatest screw jobs in the history of sports. That is in the Guinness Book of Records, look it up. (Not really)
Still undefeated, it is entirely conceivable that the Miami Hurricanes and/or the UCLA Bruins could be playing in the national title game. The problem for Miami is they would have to beat Florida State and then Clemson or Florida State again. The Bruins still have Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Arizona State as well as a PAC-12 championship game rematch with either Stanford or Oregon. And they’re coached by Jim Mora, so there’s that.
The Buckeye factor: This would be bad for Ohio State. That said, while there is no way to tell how the computers would go in this unlikely scenario, what is likely is that those same “powers that be” would make sure the Buckeyes were in the title game for TV ratings and travel.
How do I see it playing out?
Strictly based on what I see on Saturday’s, putting aside the “any given Saturday” mantra and the fact that it always seems like the favorites trip somewhere, I think we see an Alabama vs Oregon national title game.
In the final season of the BCS before a four team playoff begins, we get the ultimate in chaos as Alabama, Oregon, Clemson and Ohio State all finish undefeated.
How do I REALLY see it playing out?
Follow me on this…
I think Clemson cancels out Florida State on Saturday night. They’re at home with a senior quarterback in Tahj Boyd whom I hope the Cleveland Browns move hell and high water to get in the 2014 draft and are just too good in Death Valley under the lights. Their defensive line is fast and strong and they frustrate Jameis Winston and beat the Noles thus eliminating them.
The problem is that Clemson just can’t help themselves, they have to wet the bed somewhere. Look for it to come in their regular season finale at South Carolina or against a one loss Miami team in the ACC championship letting it all hang out with nothing to lose. I think they’re better than both those teams and by a lot, they just always seem to find a way to blow it.
With the Noles and Tigers out, the Buckeyes need only worry about the Crimson Tide and the Ducks. If you’re counting on one of these teams to trip in the second half of the season, it’ll be Alabama before it is Oregon. The Ducks offense is too good and quarterback Marcus Mariota is my mid season pick for the Heisman Trophy. The kid is next level good messing around in the PAC-12. The Tide must beat LSU and then win the SEC championship against likely Georgia who will be hungry to avenge the 2012 loss in Atlanta.
Of course there is always the LSU situation lurking. And if they upset ‘Bama in Tuscaloosa that drum is going to beat loudly. This is the wild card.
As for the Buckeyes, I see them running the table and looking strong in the second half. A blowout in prime time at home against Penn State announces to the country that they are in this thing for the long haul and aren’t going to just stand back and watch someone take their place amongst college footballs elite.
On November 30th we celebrate their win over TSUN and a week later, after watching Georgia shock undefeated Alabama, watch them decimate Nebraska in prime time in the Big Ten Championship. We anxiously await official word the next evening that the Buckeyes are headed to Pasadena to meet the Oregon Ducks for the BCS National Championship.
Wrap it up
This is going to be an intense couple of months. With one eye we’ll be watching for improvements and style points, hoping we see a team ready to take on the world. With the other eye we will be watching the rest of the college football world and a national championship chase unfold where all our heroes can do is win them all and hope for some help. Until next week, Go Bucks!
Metallica track of the week
The movie Metallica Through the Never is steamrolling through IMAX and 3D cinemas across the country. Last week watched a promo video for the movie to the classic Master of Puppets. This week we take a look at the second released promo video, this one featuring another classic, Fade to Black!