April 23, 2014

Perfection in reach for Ohio State

THE Ohio State Buckeyes are two wins away from an undefeated season, and the sports world is barely talking about it. Since the Buckeyes aren’t bowl eligible, people are giving this team less respect than Houston received last year during their 10-0 start. Around the country, the Buckeyes aren’t even being given Boise State treatment, in which at least a minority were questioning if the Broncos were legitimate national championship contenders. Ohio State cannot go to a bowl game, cannot be ranked in the coaches’ poll, and cannot be ranked in the BCS. This leaves the final AP poll as this team’s second trophy to chase besides the Big Ten Leaders Division Title.

Not since 2004 has there been a split national title in college football, but the possibility is more real than ever.1 Alabama, Notre Dame, and Oregon all have tough tests remaining on their schedule in terms of rivalry or conference championship games, and is not to too farfetched to think each could fall by season’s end. ‘Bama will most likely face Georgia in the SEC championship, Notre Dame heads to Southern Cal the last week of the season, and Oregon will face undefeated, rival Oregon State and could possibly face the Trojans of USC in a Pac 12 title game. Kansas State should cruise through mediocre Big 12 teams and find itself undefeated heading into the bowl season. The opportunities for the top teams to lose are there, the Buckeyes may just need to turn into the Luckeyes.

The bowl season, a time where Ohio State will be idle and all the other top teams will be in action. A prime opportunity for each of the four teams ahead of Ohio State in the AP poll to lose.2 Ideally, for Buckeyes fans, the season ends with a one loss team winning the BCS title game and all hell breaking loose.3 This would be the Buckeyes only shot at a split national title. While Ohio State may need a lot of help to get to the top of the polls, let us remember the last weekends of the 2007 season when OSU jumped from 5th to 1st in the polls in just two weeks.

Regardless of whether or not this season ends in championships, the truth of the matter is the Scarlet and Gray is only two wins away from a perfect season. Perfection is what we’re all taught to strive for, but at the same time we’re taught that perfection is impossible. My good friend Julius Campbell says it best in Remember the Titans.

“Now, I ain’t saying that I’m perfect, ’cause I’m not. And I ain’t gonna never be. None of us are. But we have won every single game we have played till now. So this team is perfect. We stepped out on that field that way tonight. And, uh, if it’s all the same to you, Coach Boone, that’s how we want to leave it.”

Despite all the outside distractions, sanctions, and critics the Buckeyes have faced, this team can still be perfect.

There’s been some less than perfect moments throughout the year. The comeback against Purdue, close calls against Indiana, Sparty and Cal, but the bottom line is that this team 10-0.

10 wins, 0 losses, and 2 games remaining. A trip to Camp Randal Stadium in Madison, and a visit from the Wolverines are all that stands in the way of perfection. No matter the year, winning either of those games is never an easy task. However, Ohio State is sure to be favored in both games with Wisconsin and Michigan fielding average football teams.

Just those two wins can take Kenny Guiton from being Joe Bauserman to being Craig Krenzel. Two wins and Braxton Miller will be 12-0, a feat not achieved since Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. Two wins and Urban Meyer becomes the most famous man in Ohio.4

Just two wins against traditional rivals, several losses from the best teams in America, and changing the minds of college football writers stand in the way of a Buckeyes’ national title. It’s not likely, but if it all worked out, wouldn’t that be just…well…perfect?

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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Footnotes:

  1. Sounds sexy doesn’t it? []
  2. Unfortunately this could be a time for one loss teams to jump OSU. []
  3. Any scenario described as “all hell breaking loose” I am completely on board with. []
  4. That’s a lie. Everyone knows Drew Carey will always be Ohio’s favorite son. Sorry Urban. []

  • Chris

    nice article. unfortunately espn has never seemed to care too much for osu, especially when compared to SEC teams, oregon, and USC. nowadays you flip on college football live and its as if there is no OSU season–it’s just braxton’s heisman campaign update with no regard for whether the bucks won or lost. I think that the buckeyes can hope for only a handful of AP champ votes assuming the BCS winner has one loss. It would be interesting, but it’s probably the only way ES(ec)PN gives the buckeyes any meaningful attention.

  • Grif_E

    I think you’re delusional if you believe that the AP voters will let Ohio State be on top over what will likely be viewed as the best one loss team when/if the time comes. It’s just not going to happen. “They didn’t play in a conference championship or any bowls, so nope” end of story.

  • Steve

    The main reason Ohio St is getting less respect is not bowl eligibility, but the schedule they have faced. A terrible non-conference schedule and a weak Big Ten leave Ohio St right where it deserves to be – last among the undefeateds (now that Louisville has lost) whose only hope is that all the top teams stub their toe somewhere. The Buckeyes probably should have lost to both Cal and Purdue, and looked far from impressive against Indiana and Michigan St. Kudos for being 10-0, but I am scratching my head at the thought of someone who has actually watched this team suggesting they might be voted #1 overall.

  • slbeef

    Perfect season? With no post season play? And how does a team that had to go to overtime against Purdue and gave up 49 points (!) in a shootout with INDIANA get a vote for #1? Come on. Undefeated would be great, even impressive, but this is not a top ten football team this year.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    The 2002 team had a lot of close calls… needing OT to beat a bad Illinois squad at home, Holy Buckeye at Purdue, a bunch of other close calls against average teams… and look at what happened to them!

  • NoVA Buckeye

    UCF has a lot of wins despite being ineligible…

  • Kildawg

    Next year, the Bucks should definitely start as a top-10 team, if not top-5, and talks about a national championship game being a real possibility. Urban Meyer is a good coach, possibly great, especially when you consider the guys he’s sent to the NFL (need I list examples? Anyone here could list at least three.)

  • CJJ

    THE Ohio State Buckeyes, National Champs again ! I like the sound of that. It is really not that far fetched. Remember, the AP writers hate the BCS. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

  • Steve

    I think having to say that Ohio St was good enough (while certainly not being overly impressive) to beat a good Conference-USA team sums up the argument that Ohio St should not be getting any #1 overall votes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJ7HLF5EEEYWQT2U7RUX66ADCI threadogg

    I’ve read next season the Buckeye’s will be deficient on defense with the departure of several key seniors. That would seem to be the concern, welcome any thoughts on that?

  • mgbode

    worry about next season when this one is over. still a chance at a perfect record and still have The Game coming up.