BCS stream of consciousness

OSU FootballUhh… seen the latest BCS standings?



Ferrell’s exclamation probably typifies the reaction of most OSU fans after watching this weekend’s chaos.

11-12-10-8-4-3-1. No, that’s not another “secret” code from a lame nighttime TV soap opera. That sequence represents OSU’s rise to the top of the polls from preseason to week 7. Buckeye fans will take it, but it’s not how we really wanted it. We wanted the team to sneak their way into the title game, like in 2002, or like Florida did in 2006. Still, though, the ranking is here, and time will tell if the young Buckeye offense can handle being the hunted week in and out.

“Yeah, but OSU hasn’t played anyone. It ain’t fair. LSU, Oklahoma, and California are probably better; and they’ve played against better teams.”
Perhaps that’s true. However, there’s something to be said about rewarding a team that did exactly what it was supposed to do, week in and week out, and punishing those who didn’t.

Besides, LSU, OK, and Cal didn’t lose to good teams, they lost to crappy ones! (Or at least ones that were mediocre at best). OSU has buried every similarly-tough team it’s faced this season. OSU has done what it was supposed to do. OSU is playing the most consistent football in the country. The other teams haven’t, and that’s why OSU is ranked above them.

Another consideration is “point differential” — the difference between a team’s total points and the points it gave up — which is as big an indicator as anything else of a team’s overall strength. Ohio State has a +204 differential. Oklahoma is nearly similar with +213. LSU’s is another tier down with +175. South Florida is +117.

Not been tested?
At any rate, the idea that Ohio State hasn’t been tested this season is arguable. For example, Washington is much, much better than its record reveals. The Huskies just drew the short end of the stick with an insane schedule in 2007 – playing against OSU, USC, Cal, Oregon, etc., etc. In addition, Purdue, Minnesota, even Northwestern came in with high-flying offenses, and OSU shut them all down easily. Even lowly Kent State came into the horseshoe with the #11 rushing offense in the country. Each time, the Silver Bullets have been totally dominant.

How dominant? The Buckeyes have not given up a single touchdown at home all season. Not one. We all know that Ohio State leads the nation in scoring defense — allowing only 6.6 points per game (ppg) — but what isn’t mentioned is that number includes a safety and a kickoff return for TD, points that the offense and special teams gave up. Not counting those 9 points gives the OSU defense a 5.3 ppg average.

Furthermore, if you were to discard two or three “garbage” scores in the final minute (about 17 points’ worth across three games), their performance is even more impressive. This is scary dominant. Historical dominant. NCAA record dominant. Time will tell whether any offense is good enough put up significant numbers on the Buckeyes this year.

So, when people say “the Buckeyes haven’t played anyone,” what they actually mean is that the Ohio State offense hasn’t been tested yet. We already know that the OSU defense can make it a game with anyone else in the country. What is unknown is how the OSU offense will respond when faced off against a team that has an effective defense.

When will we know?
That will be answered in two weeks, when OSU travels to Penn State to play against the Lions’ top-five scoring defense. OSU fans: if the Buckeyes leave Happy Valley with a victory, then it will be time to allow yourselves to get excited. This is the game when we will finally know how good the Ohio State Buckeyes are. Are they elite yet again, deserving of a BCS title shot? Or are they just “really good,” like LSU, USC, and the like?

Some interesting BCS trivia to note: in the ten years of the BCS, one of the teams ranked 1 or 2 in the first poll of the season has always made it to the BCS title game. In other words: if history is any guide, either OSU or South Florida will be playing for the title.

Is it too late to buy stock in antacids?


  1. Woo!!!! Rematch with Florida. Revenge time for January and March.

    What? South Florida? You mean a rematch with Miami? Sweet a second title win against those whiners will be sweet.

  2. Nicholas Eckert says

    No, he means there is a team in Division 1-A called the University of South Florida, and they just happen to have a good defense like we do; hence, they’ve also gone undefeated with an early key win, and thus find themselves in the #2 BCS slot.

    I really want to be optimistic at this point. I like that our conference is soft this year. I do not have to like that we have five games through the heart of it remaining, nor that the Team Up North is quite ready to be done with the App State and “Tressel drives a Carr” jokes. I also am uneasy when teams start getting allergic to the #1 ranking en masse.

  3. Good breakdown. I agree on almost everything you’ve said.

    Clearly, there is no dominating #1 team this year in college football.. it’s a battle of survival, and we have survived as well or better than anyone else so far this year. Have we proven that we’re #1.. Not at all.. but we’re the best option out of a bunch of teams with a loss and some johnny-come-lately teams.

    I too was hoping that we could stay on the periphery of this whole thing until the end of the year when we could sneak in.. but now that we’re here, we will see what this team is made of for sure.

    If I was a betting man, I would bet on us going 4-1 over this ending stretch and going to the Rose Bowl.. but I think we have 5 very winnable games in front of us.

    Let’s see what we’re made of.

  4. Excellent title to this post, you could have also went with “Boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast”. That’s what this weekend seemed like. It was like oh LSU lost … what? Cal too???

    Anyway though, I think Michigan State is going to be just as hard as any game remaining, you can’t tell me Dantonio hasn’t had this game circled all year. If Illinois loses again, I bet they will lose all their steam. The Zooker isn’t all that great of a motivator.


  5. I really do not know how Tressel does it. He is so calm and cool and is able to get these kids seem to go out and get the job done. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.

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