The Soft Bigotry of Lowered Expectations

By Jason Priestas on October 20, 2008 at 2:00p
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It's that time of the year again. The time when nerds across the country cook up scenarios in which their team can get into the national championship game. When our conversation turns to who really is getting a raw deal and who is receiving too much love. Ladies and gentlemen, it's BCS season.

The first release (PDF) of the official BCS standings came out yesterday and thanks to the BYU loss and the win over Michigan State, the Buckeyes find themselves 9th, right behind Texas Tech and just a hair ahead of the Gators.

The computers -- all of them have Ohio State as a top-six team -- are the reason that they're in front of Florida, because the humans certainly don't agree. In fact, it will probably take splitting Lake Erie for the voters to even consider putting the Buckeyes back into the championship game.

After getting pummeled by USC and falling from 5th to 13th in the AP poll, the Buckeyes have strung together five victories, three of which sit firmly in the quality column, and are just now sniffing that 10th spot in any poll generated by humans. The Blogpoll, perhaps sadly the most susceptible to emotional ordering, has consistently put the Buckeyes three spots below the AP and Coaches Poll. At times that may have seemed justified, but as upsets and close calls keep piling up, not so much anymore. One of the top players in the nation healthy again and a game-breaker at quarterback, you say? Who cares, it's the Suckeyes!

The two BCS collapses and the loss to Southern Cal are barriers to the team getting any sort of benefit of the doubt and honestly the Buckeyes don't have anyone to blame but themselves for that. Welcome to a mid-major's life for this season, at least. Collecting wins, but there's still that "but it's X", when discussing the team. Even the Michigan State victory was soon spun as the Spartans perhaps being overrated.

Buckeye fans know that the team that takes the field against Penn State is a much different team than the one that made the trip out West last month. IF -- and that's a big if -- the Buckeyes play Penn State the same way they did Michigan State this past weekend and continue to play like that, there's no doubt in my mind that they could play with any team in the country.

But they won't get the chance to prove it.

And I can't blame people for not wanting to see it.

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