Alone in the Dark

By Ramzy Nasrallah on November 13, 2012 at 1:00p
Ohio State: Loving Penn State white outs since 2007

Ohio State dropped a spot in the AP poll over the weekend. That's the price of being both undefeated and inconsequential in November.

It's the third time they've dropped in the poll this season. One more slide without the benefit of an actual loss and the AP will send Urban Meyer a set of hardship steak knives. Poll descent #3 occurred following a weekend when the Buckeyes didn't even play. OUTRAAAAAAAAGE. Outrage. Outrage?

Our fan base is in peak condition for seeking out and finding bias in every corner from where it may lurk, but this one hardly qualifies. This isn't Kirk Herbstreit dropping the Bucks three spots after beating Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl and then stubbornly defending that utter stupidity while chastising fans.

This latest slide is more margin of error shifting than anything else. Besides, the AP – like the 2012 Buckeyes – has no bearing on the BCS. Ohio militia: You may stand down until next season.

Nonetheless, times are frustrating here on Disrespect Mountain. Every successive Ohio State victory elicits more and more mouth flatulence from the HURR SHOULDN'T HAVE CHEATED crowd. But skirting destiny is a double-edged sword.

That postseason purgatory might not only be saving the Buckeyes from an unkind January fate against a superior team – there are at least five of them according to the AP this week – it's probably also insulating us all from the agony of being shut out of a title bid in spite of being just 120+60 minutes away from a perfect season.

You can't exclude what's already extinguished. This pre-emptive strike may actually go down easier than being eligible and uninvited. Polls don't matter this year – this is supposed to be a one-year sabbatical from hating them anyway.

It's not literally Ohio State against the world (Braxton Miller even at his most slippery wouldn't be able to outrun seven billion people) but there is no degree of sympathy – either from the looming shutout or the ban that renders it moot. There's no emotion in either direction, really.

And that sets the table for the final roadie of the year in Madison, where you're already being told that the Buckeyes have struggled historically. Wisconsin is actually favored. Next you'll be informed that the BCS bowl-winningest program can't seem to win BCS bowls either (this is just taking the year off; it will be back in 2013).

Ohio State has won four of its last five with the Badgers and has dropped a total of three games in Madison going back to when Barry Alvarez made them a modest pain in the ass two decades ago.

Saturday the Buckeyes are trying to convert Wisconsin's fading share of the Leaders Division title into their own. It would send the Badgers to Indy beneath a cloud of shame and asterisks.

Meyer's team clinched its own share over the weekend while doing nothing except sliding down the AP poll, again. At the same time, Wisconsin clinched Leaders Division representation in the B1G title match despite trying to avoid a fourth loss this weekend, which is all you need to know about the state of the conference in 2012.

"Hey, you're going to be in an ESPN commercial!"A fan thanks Aaron Henry for not considering Devin Smith.

What we're left with in the absence of implications and postseason carrots is raw entertainment, which is what Wisconsin provided last season in delivering Buckeye fans the solitary Saturday of 2011 worth remembering.

It will be Senior Day in Madison, and coupled with the macabre memory from last October the Badgers will have plenty of non-paper incentives. The Buckeyes, playing the first game of their imaginary Final Four tournament, are already good to go in that department.

But it's hard to remember any time when the public at large cared less about the outcome of an Ohio State game. There hasn't been much incentive to root against the Buckeyes, either in their current 10-0 form swatting aside pedestrian competition while stuck in the NCAA stockade, or back when it limped its way to 6-7 during that implied purgatory season.

And that indifference has consequences: Mark May recently said that he doesn't consider Braxton Miller to be a Heisman candidate because Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason. Yes, the Heisman is awarded a full week before bowl games even begin, but Fat Urkel – intentionally or otherwise – actually illustrates a valid point: Right or wrong, Ohio State isn't allowed to matter this year, and it might be difficult to prevent that perception from bleeding into individual award consideration.

While this postseason ban may shelter Ohio State from either a rude New Years or the agony of title game exclusion, the real sting of the NCAA's punishment is now evident: The Buckeyes have been playing their own parallel college football season the whole time while the rest of the FBS participates in the real one. 

The Buckeyes won't get to prepare for a traditional, tension-filled season until these last two games are behind them. In the meantime Ohio State is focused exclusively on ensuring the conference issues only one Leaders Division Champions paperweight while restoring the natural order of the universe the Saturday following Thanksgiving. 

You'll be happy to learn that neither of those noble endeavors requires those unforgiving polls. Their relevance will just have to wait until next year.


Comments Show All Comments

Philly White's picture

The FedEx man arrived with my shipment of bourbon while reading a piece by Ramzy. Well played, bourbon gods.

Abe Froman's picture

Buckeyes Bizarro world to be sure....

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

bassplayer7770's picture

I think you may have forgotten the word 'next' in that last sentence.
Nice piece as usual, Ramzy.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

No idea what you're talking about. Blink a few times and look at it again. It's there. Keep blinking.

pcon258's picture

It feels like this team isn't as good as the oregon's and kstate's of the world, but it's a shame the bowl ban is this year. I feel like this team might just have found a way to pull out a big BCS win against a team like georgia, or maybe even Notre dame. 
We're going to have to settle for just pummeling michigan, and celebrating our defacto national championship

Bucksfan's picture

Another point of consideration, Ramzy, is that even if Ohio State were eligible for the post-season this year, the state of the B1G could keep them out of the National Title if they go undefeated.  I have a hard time seeing them jumping Oregon or K-State on S.O.S., and I'm not sure that the OSU defensive liabilities from earlier in the year were easily forgotten.
So, it could very well be that Ohio State would be in the Rose Bowl at 13-0 to play a multiple-loss Pac-12 team or ND, or something.
It's just a weird year.  I tried not getting drawn into the poll b.s., but I couldn't help it.  I think it's attrocious that they're ranking Ohio State behind 2 1-loss SEC teams.

aboynamedtracy's picture

Ummm... he already considered it:
"That postseason purgatory might not only be saving the Buckeyes from an unkind January fate against a superior team – there are at least five of them according to the AP this week – it's probably also insulating us all from the agony of being shut out of a title bid in spite of being just 120+60 minutes away from a perfect season."

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Actually, they already are ahead of K-State based on strength of schedule.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Bucksfan's picture

Aboy, ah, I sort of breezed through that statement, so good catch...but I do think it's the most important consideration worthy of a bit more than understatement.  It isn't just a bitter pill we'd all have to swallow...if an undefeated Ohio State can't win a national title, the sport is a failure of catastrophic proportions.  The sun might actually explode.  The seas will turn red with blood.  Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky.  Seas boiling.  Dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!
Nova, according to Sagarin, which by no means is a perfect barometer, has Kansas State with the 29th-ranked strength of schedule.  Ohio State is sitting at 62nd.  So even if it's as biased as the polls, the two aren't even remotely close on the scale....unless you were talking about something else.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Ah, there it is!

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

CC's picture

It would be great to have a final game against USC in the Rose.  No way we would be in the NC game without lots of help.

The one positive is that at the end of next year if we are fortunate to be undefeated a 25 game winning streak and a heisman contender make for a pretty compelling case to get into the NC.  A long way away but fun to think about in the land of no bowls.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Brutus the red nosed reindeer - couldn't play in any reindeer games! 
Oh well, at least we can humiliate Bret, Flounder Hoke and the boys just for hell of it!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Bucksfan's picture

You guys playin' cards?

buckeyedude's picture

I didn't even realize who that was at first. It's John Belushi!!!!!!



Arizona_Buckeye's picture

F@#$ing beautiful!!! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

osubuckeye4life's picture

Kent Dorfman: Uh, what's my Delta Tau Chi name?
Bluto: Dorfman, I've given this a lot of thought. From now on, your name is Flounder.
Kent Dorfman: [Pause] Flounder?

Borrowed Time's picture

Well articulated points. OSU being the underdog against Wisconsin is laughable. 
Seriously considering betting on a sports game for the first time ever.

jthiel09's picture

We would suffer the undefeated season fate that Auburn had in 2004. I'm not comparing the teams at all, just the sole fact if we remain undefeated and would be bowl eligible even a 1 loss team could get in the title game before us because of the whole "respect" thing. 


Doc's picture

Screw the polls and the talking heads.  We know what has gone on this year, we know the Buckeyes are the cream of the B1G crop, we know next year is going to be ours.  Let Fat Erkel keep his opinion, it means nothing to me.
Beat Bert and Flounder like they owe you money Urban.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

nickma71's picture

Actually, Mark May doesn't want Ohio State to matter.

scrotieMcboogerballs's picture

wow, that Fat Urkel comment is dead on....can't stop laughing...

"Who do you think you are?!?!...I am!!"  -Pete Weber, bowling legend and dominator of the English language

jestertcf's picture

I give all credit to RAMZY for the fat urkle comment being coined.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

RBuck's picture

......wears women's underwear.

Long live the southend.

Rfahncke's picture

This is why "Fat Urkel" hates Ohio State...

"Have you earned your buckeye today?"

gumtape's picture

I don't get it, we beat Notre Dame twice when Lou holtz was still their coach and he doesn't hate us.
Fat Urkel, too funny. Haters gonna hate.

High and tight boo boo

Baroclinicity's picture

But then he beat us twice.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

tennbuckeye19's picture

As a Gamecock no less.

faux_maestro's picture

Holtz also was an assistant on the 1968 MNC team.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

osubuckeye4life's picture

Exactly, Lou respects tOSU unlike Fat Urkel. 
Fat Urkel is just butt hurt from Coop steam rolling his beloved panthers 72-0 in 96.

OSUBias's picture

If Mark May has a Heisman vote, that priviledge should be revoked based on that quote. Part of our punishment was not that none of our players would be allowed to win post season awards. If he is going to make his own rules and regulations above and beyond the real ones, he can lose the priviledge of impacting a real award.
I understand that some of his incessant trolling is just his way of feeling like he matters, but he makes me more frustrated than any other analyst throwing out their opinion on a weekly basis. He comes across as condescending and stubborn, without a ton a support for his positions. I hear a ton of "I don't care about [insert meaningful data point here], they are not a good football team" type of statements from him. Meanwhile, someone should tell him that yelling out your poorly thought out position does not make it a better argument. It just makes you more annoying and wrong, but in a louder voice.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

Bucksfan's picture

Bias, I tried voting you up, but my iPhone fcked it up. I'll get you back with an upvote soon.

Baroclinicity's picture

Did it for ya.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

OSUBias's picture

I can keep venting about May if you want another shot, ha! I've got plenty to spew on him.
No worries, glad you enjoyed the rant!

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

WC Buckeye's picture

Pitt douchebag never has gotten over being butt hurt that Woody didn't recruit him.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

sb97's picture

I hope that a lot of people listen to May and others like him.  I want these Buckeyes to feel slighted at every turn coming in to next season and I want them to take it out on the rest of College football. 

timdogdad's picture

what i like about this unique season is that it is definite.  it's 12 games, no card shuffling to see where we end up, etc.  we can be 12-0 and that is it.  win every game.  like a jv football or b-ball season. no tourney or playoffs.   just 12 games and hopefully lots of 12-0  2012 undefeated t-shirts and hats sales..    and some serious optimism for 2013.  

OurHonorDefend09's picture

The sad part is I wouldn't mind getting shut out of the NC if it meant a chance to completely defecate all over ND in the Rose Bowl and I assure you, that is what would happen if OSU played perhaps the worst top 5 BCS team, ever.
I realize I probably am only saying this because any bowl game is a lot better than no bowl game this year, which ironically, is the opposite of last year. However, if OSU wins @Wisky and completely drops a bomb on TSUN, I can consider my senior year as a Buckeye a success. The only thing that could make a 12-0 season better would be if OSU ended up as AP#1, creating the most epic troll of all-time.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

tennbuckeye19's picture

May is a douche-nozzle for sure, but he's not the only one who is leaving OSU out (intentionally or not). I think Braxton is and should be a contender for the Heisman and yet is being left out of serious consideration because of our postseason ban. Not only that, but it seems that many are acting like this season doesn't even count for OSU. I know we're not in the BCS discussion folks, but we're still playing football. Case in point; on Saturday after Bama lost to A&M and Louisville lost to Syracuse, I heard several pundits say some version of "And now we're down to 3 unbeaten teams."

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

If we're undefeated at this same time next year, we'll be in the conversation for the national championship. Just like ND this year (who have hardly overwhelmed in very many games this year, whomever the competition), it would be hard to keep us out of the top four.
Instead of gnashing our teeth about the petty practice of voting one and two-loss teams ahead of us this year, though, I'd rather envsion the sweet irony of us possibly being the only undefeated team at year's end. No matter what the bigwigs at NCAA corporate say now, that would not be the optimal outcome from their point of view.

thatlillefty's picture

Totally agree. What's the point in stressing polls that have no impact on this or next season. Let's win these last two games, stay hungry and come out firing next year.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

"It's not literally Ohio State against the world"

Pfft. Then that would make my name pointless. I can't accept that. :o

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

BoFuquel's picture

Wait till next  next year is correct.If we go 13-0 it's still gonna be the Rose Bowl for us, no matter what we do next year.That will end up just being part of the punishment.Our SOS sucks next year,everyone in the B1G is going to be even worse.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

I hate to say it, but you are correct ... we may very well run into the same problems next year. The only way to avoid it would be to literally destroy everyone we play.  Now, if we are only 1 of 2 undefeated teams, no problem, we're in the NCG.  But, if there are three or four others from major conferences, we might be in trouble again due to the fact we decided not to play a single marque team next year.  
I suppose we could be saved by the B1G actually performing well this bowl season and looking better in the early non-con next year, but I have very little faith in that. 

bassplayer7770's picture

"Decided" not play a marquee game next year?  When Cal was scheduled, they weren't this bad.  Plus, SDSU was added recently out of necessity, but, on the upside, they will be members of the Big East next year!

toad1204's picture

Brax def deserves an invite especially if you put up the numbers next to eachother.  Hate how ESPawN is playing down our season which is only hurting his chances.  If St. Penn was undefeated I could see them being all out for touting BOB and McGloin as the feel good story of the year.
Fat Urkel... Well done Ramzy... I smell a new shirt coming out to replace the current Mark May is a d0uche.  I'd hot link if I wasnt at work.  Look it up if you dont know what I'm talking about.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

cjkanski's picture

Hopefully if the team is hearing any of  the "They don't count this year" BS, then they use it for added motivation to go out and stomp Wisky & Mich.  Go 12-0, blow the roof off the stat chart, and force Furkle to say Braxton Miller for Heisman.

"I could *BLEEP* forever. *BLEEP until I drop" - The Count


Maestro's picture

What irks me is when a team like UF eeks out a win over a Sun Belt team and doesn't drop.  Not one spot.  Just chaps me.

vacuuming sucks

buckeyedude's picture

Are you the real Maestro, or the Faux Maestro?



osubuckeye4life's picture

Exactly, what is with that? I know they beat LSU but c'mon man!

AltaBuck's picture

The biggest benefit from the Bowl Ban and an undefeated season is recruiting.  Excluding quiet and dead periods until LOI day, I expect Urban and this coaching staff to have 110% focus on recruiting while highlighting an undefeated season during that timeframe. My hope is that the bowl ban's negative impact is more than offset by steller 2013 and 2014 recuiting classes that equate to future NCs.

I am Groot - Groot

LABuckeye's picture

Ramzy, I love your writing. The only issue I have is that you have forever changed the meaning of "walrus" for me. This isn't a joke: my office assistant sent me a "Request for Proposals" for a study on walruses today, and the first thing that popped into my mind was not the animal...

BrewstersMillions's picture

I'm really just excited the "Hey you guys should be playing in a great bowl...oh wait" jokes to stop. In about 288 hours that joke is officially retired.

bstadnik's picture



Go Bucks!

buckeyedude's picture

Unfortunately, I think May would be flattered by that shirt. I want one!



osubuckeye4life's picture

Exactly, he would see it as a walking billboard. How about "Fat Urkel is a Douche" :)

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Up a thousand!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

joel121270's picture

I love it Fat Urkel....
If I ever hear something positve come out of his mouth about TOSU I might just die.
Get over the butt whuppin Pitt took God knows how many years ago FE.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Can someone please explain to me why Fat Urkel thinks B-Rax shouldn't win the Heisman because of the postseason ban when he was ready to give it to Matt Barkley himself last year?

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Bucksfan's picture

Skinny Urkel would be very displeased with his fat counterpart's logic.

WC Buckeye's picture

Exactly! This sort of insipid double standard is what chaps me about the WWL all the time - they gravitate to what they consider to be newsworthy seemingly as long as it doesn't involve tOSU. I remember the bandwagon BS they were spewing before the 2002 national championship game - Miami's speed, the winning streak, the Miami players, blah, blah, blah - and I get peeved when I see on this board that others don't. That we only "perceive" the WWL's bias.
Nonsense. ESPN used to show USC's ranking when they were on probation, and it wasn't their BCS ranking. How else would anyone believe that USC wound up getting the AP championship vote, even though it supposedly didn't mean anything?

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

AC1972's picture

That Brax to Smith clip never gets old.  The only thing that ruins it is the end when the video coordinator has his hands all over Braxton. I want to yell at the screen, "Hands off our QB!  Your failure funk will rub off on him!"

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Another excellent piece, Ramzy.

But it's hard to remember any time when the public at large cared less about the outcome of an Ohio State game.

And it's hard for me to remember any time when I cared less about what the public at large thinks about the outcome of an Ohio State game (not to mention a few other things).

. . . the real sting of the NCAA's punishment is now evident: The Buckeyes have been playing their own parallel college football season the whole time while the rest of the FBS participates in the real one.

Yes, I did feel a sting at first, but then the numbing pleasure kicked in. This season reminded me that the true joy of college football - for me - never resided in the eSECpn-sanctioned College Football Countdown© and BCS Selection Show© universe. Every Buckeye football season is special to me, whether it lines up with the eSECpn-sanctioned season, or takes place in a parallel realm. Obviously, I want the Buckeyes to win national championships and so forth, but what's meaningful about cfb has almost nothing to do with the eSECpn realm. So, in the past, when I became fixated on that tawdry "parallel" realm, naturally it only made me feel empty.  

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