Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dead Men Walking: Buckeyes Still Alive in the BCS Championship Game Hunt?

By HD Handshoe

In a word, ABSOLUTELY.

At 5-1, Ohio State still has their fair share of detractors that believe they shouldn't be ranked in the top 10, let alone be in line to play in another BCS bowl game, or Heaven forbid, the BCS title game.

"Who wants to watch the Buckeyes embarrass themselves again in another big game on the national stage," they say.

It's true that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but recent history clearly suggests that the Buckeyes are on the cusp of breaking through on the national stage.

Take for example the respective three point losses in the final minutes against USC this season, and to Texas in the 2008-2009 Fiesta bowl. Ohio State played stride for stride with then-No.3 USC, and then-No. 3 Texas and held late leads, only to lose to each on the final drives.

It appears that those who are not fans of Ohio State prefer to ignore those games and the fact that OSU nearly won them both.

Instead they prefer to live a bit further in the past and dwell on the 2006 and 2007 BCS title games that Ohio State lost to Florida and LSU, or the 2008 regular season loss at USC.

That's no real surprise though since the Texas and USC games from 2009 are more of an indicator of where the Buckeyes truly rate among other elites nationally.

Contrary to the popular belief of so many of these ill-informed Ohio State haters, and much to their dismay, the Buckeyes can still make a run at the 2009 BCS Championship.

Here's how.

First, and most importantly to the BCS powers that be, and the BCS conference presidents, the BCS bowls are about one thing—money. To make as much money as possible, the bowl games need to sell tickets.

Ohio State is the largest public university in the country and they have more Alumni, and fans nationwide than any other school.

That means, unless they lose at least three games, or lose in the last week or two of the season, they are going to get a BCS invite.

Look at the Orange bowl last season. Cincinnati and Boston College played in front of a crowd that resembled that of an NAIA football game. Like it or not, this is the system we have for now, and the Buckeye put bodies in seats.

Secondly, with the season being half over, the Buckeyes could lose another game and still receive a BCS bid, but will need to win out to secure a possible chance at the BCS title game.

The first BCS standings will be released on October 18. As of right now, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Virginia Tech, USC, and Boise State are the teams ranked ahead of Ohio State.

Even if Boise State wins out and ends up 12-0, their strength of schedule will be their downfall, and Ohio State among others can, and will jump ahead of them. The Broncos should be a BCS at-large bowl team, but they have zero chance at the BCS NC game.

USC beat Ohio State 18-15 in week two. That makes jumping them slightly more difficult, but not impossible. USC lost in week three to Washington so they are essentially only ranked ahead of OSU by a measly three point win.

Another loss, or a couple of unimpressive and/or close wins for USC would allow the Buckeyes to sneak ahead of the Trojans by season's end. I believe USC will lose one, if not two more games, so there's the open door for the Buckeyes to step on through.

Virginia Tech has upcoming games with Georgia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and possibly the ACC Championship game. At least one loss is not out of the question. I personally feel it could come this week at Georgia Tech. That would move the Buckeyes up to No. 4.

The Longhorns have not looked like a top three team and they haven't even played a decent team yet. Call me crazy, but I believe Texas will lose to Oklahoma and either Missouri or Oklahoma State. One loss might be enough for Ohio State to move ahead of Texas. Two will be enough for sure.

That leaves Alabama and Florida. It looks like Florida will likely go 12-0 and play in the SEC title game. Alabama has to play South Carolina and LSU so a loss is possible but I wouldn't bet big on it happening.

So, it looks as if these two teams are on a collision course for the SEC title game which means one of them will lose in the final week of the season. Which means, you guessed it, Ohio State slides up to No. 2 in the final BCS standings, and if you're not a Buckeye fan, your nightmare will have come true.

In the 2007 Ohio State-LSU BCS Championship game I mentioned earlier, LSU was ranked No. 7 going in to that final week of the season. Several upsets later, the Tigers found themselves jumping from No. 7 all the way up to No. 2. Ohio State is currently No. 7 with six games to go.

No, I'm not making any guarantees or promises here. I'm simply letting all college football fans that read this know how and why Ohio State is not out of the 2009 BCS title chase just yet...

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  1. I definitely agree that OSU still has a chance at the MNC Game. However, I am hesitant to even want them there due to their offensive inconsistency...the last thing we need is to go into another title game with an SEC opponent and get crushed. Although looking on the bright side if that were to happen; if it happened and we lost for the same reasons we lost to Texas, USC, and Penn State recently (not having a competent offense), it may force Gene Smith's hand to forcibly make a change with regard to our offensive coaches (no pun intended).

  2. I agree with with you but, if your going to commit on a past game please get the teams right UC played Virgina Tech NOT Boston college in the Orange Bowel last year.

  3. People forget USC came into the Shoe with an untested freshman QB early in the season. It's not like they won by 3 points they crushed OSU's season and any chance of the Bucks getting invited to play in the BCS. Besides OSU still has to beat PSU in Happy Valley to even get looked at and we know how the Bucks play against equal talent and a respectable coaching staff. If you think USC will lose then that hurts OSU who should never be ranked ahead of them.

  4. lol at PSU having equal talent, that cracks me up.


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