The Spread, Week 12: Spoiler Alert

College football fans are getting nervous, and certain fanbases are downright panicked, that the regular season may end with more than two undefeated major conference teams, meaning that someone is going to be left out of the final BCS championship game by no fault of their own.

Ohio State fans are extra-jittery because we’re all pretty sure that’s going to be us. We think we can make it at least to the Big Ten championship game unscathed and probably survive that one too. But we need help, and we’re not sure where to find it.

We’re looking at Alabama’s domination of LSU (and everyone else) and wondering who’s left that can possibly beat the Tide. Florida State’s schedule offers similarly little hope, and Baylor just demonstrated that they are more than just a pretty offense.

Two of those teams are going to need to lose for us to get a spot in the title game. Even though Baylor is sitting behind us now, they will absolutely jump us if they cruise through the rest of their slate, which is far better than what they’ve played so far.

The thing is, we shouldn’t be worried. This time last year, there were still five major unbeatens (Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State) and within two weeks, it was down to us and the Irish and there were still a couple of weeks to go.

It’s not always obvious who that spoiler team is going to be. Last year, Kansas State went on the road as a 12-point favorite against a 5-loss Baylor team and lost. Alabama and Oregon suffered their first defeats at the hands of 2-loss teams. In 2011, Oklahoma St. was a 28-point on the road against Iowa State and also came away empty-handed.

What games fit the bill this year? Well, it’s interesting that both Kansas State and Oklahoma State lost on the road in night games as heavy favorites. All game times are obviously not set yet, but Alabama plays at 4-5 Mississippi State this weekend and is currently favored by over 24 points. Baylor’s at home Saturday, but is a huge favorite over 7-3 Texas Tech and the game is at night.

Florida State’s next road game is at Florida, with no time set. Alabama’s season-ender at Auburn is a good bet for a prime-time feature, especially if the surprising Tigers keep winning. Baylor goes on the road against Oklahoma State next week, another candidate for night-time action.

The point is there are still plenty of opportunities for every undefeated team to lose, including our own Buckeyes. Recent history shows us again and again that you can never let your guard down, no matter how bad your opponent supposedly is. Hopefully, a couple of those other teams haven’t been paying attention.


  1. I know this isn’t a popular opinion or line of thinking, but I’d only be mildly chuffed if we were left out of the BCS title game. A Rose Bowl against a very beatable Stanford team would be a nice way to end the season and enter 2014 with a lot of team still intact. I’d feel for the seniors, of course, but going 26-0 isn’t too shabby, either.

  2. Since the BCS is on its way out anyway, I totally agree with you. As long as we end up 14-0, I’m good. It’s still an absolute travesty, but one that is already in the process of being fixed. We will simply be yet another team burned by a stupid idea.

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