Rooting Interests Abound for OSU Fans this November

By Jeff Beck on November 11, 2013 at 1:15p
Just Do It

Like it or not, Ohio State’s 2013 BCS championship future is not entirely in their hands. A down B1G and significant media spin have made it so. Despite a 21-game win streak, the Buckeyes could be left on the outside looking in if both Alabama and Florida State run the table. 

For Florida State, winning out is looking more and more like a done deal. With just Syracuse (5-4), Idaho (1-9) and a reeling Florida (4-5) left to play before facing either Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game, the Seminoles are a near lock to punch a ticket to Pasadena. 

That leaves Buckeye fans with two rooting interests for the rest of the season: the Scarlet and Gray and Alabama’s next four opponents; Mississippi State (4-5), Chattanooga (8-2), Auburn (9-1) and the Crimson Tide’s SEC championship opponent. No disrespect to the Bulldogs or the Mocs, but Bama will likely roll both, leaving the Fighting Sabans just two W’s away from their third straight BCS Championship appearance. 

But all is not lost Buckeye faithful. Alabama’s final two games of the season present the toughest challenge of any of the un-beatens to end the year. So, let’s take an in-depth look at the potential pit-falls for the Crimson Tide.


The Tigers are riding high after winning their last 6 games including victories over #24 Ole Miss and #7 Texas A&M.  First year head coach Gus Malzahn has lead an unbelievable turn-around taking a 3-9 team from 2012 and converting them into a 9-1 squad this season. Malzahn is of course the former offensive coordinator from Auburn’s 2010 championship season. After a brief stint at Arkansas State, Malzahn was hired back at Auburn, this time as the head man. 

Scary SabanHe can be beaten, just don't look directly into his eyes.

Malzahn runs an up-tempo offense and he found just the player to power it in athletic QB, Nick Marshall. Marshall is a JUCO transfer from Garden City Community College who has rolled up 1,301 yards and 8 TDs through the air, but it’s his legs that make him such a dynamic threat. Through 10 games, Marshall is averaging 7.1 yards a carry with 734 yards and 7 TDs. Couple that with explosive junior RB, Tre Mason (1,038 yards and 16 TDs) and you have one of the best rushing teams in the nation, currently third in terms of total rush offense.

Of course, Auburn hasn’t faced a D like Alabama’s yet this season. Currently ranked fifth in the nation in rush defense, Bama is giving up just 95 yards a game. However, athletic QBs like Marshall have consistently given Saban’s defenses trouble, so the chess match between Malzahn and Alabama defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart should be quite a thing to watch.

If Alabama gets through Auburn, they’ll likely be faced with either Missouri or South Carolina in the SEC championship game. Neither would be a cake-walk, so let’s take a closer look at each of those potential opponents.


The 9-1 Tigers currently hold the No. 1 position in the SEC East. If they win out, they’ll be all that stands between Alabama and another BCS Championship appearance. Much like Auburn, Missouri is experiencing a turn-around of their own. Coming off of a 5-7 2012, the Tigers found their SEC-legs (see what I did there) this season only faltering once in overtime against South Carolina.

Much of that success can be attributed to senior QB, James Franklin. Troubled by injuries throughout 2012, Franklin was never able to find a rhythm. 2013 appeared to be a different story as Franklin looked spectacular in his first 6 starts piling up 1,577 yards and 14 TDs to just 3 INTs, however the injury bug bit him again in the team’s seventh game against Georgia. Forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, Franklin was relieved by freshman, Matty Mauk who filled in admirably, helping the Tigers to a 41-26 win.

Franklin warmed up before the team’s last two games and took five snaps in the waning minutes of Missouri’s beatdown of Kentucky last Saturday. The team has a bye this week and the extra time-off should only benefit Franklin who is expected to start against Ole Miss the following week.

But the success hasn’t all been because of Franklin, Missouri has a trio of gigantic wide-receivers in 6’4’’ L’Damian Washington, 6’6’’ Dorial Green-Beckham and 6’5’’ Marcus Lucas. The three huge targets have racked up nearly 1,800 yards and 20 TDs and could present a problem for Bama’s defensive backs, none of which top 6’1’’.

Here’s hoping a healthy Franklin and a hungry WR corps could topple mighty Bama, making it the second time in two years a former Big 12 team handed the Crimson Tide a loss. But, the Tigers still have Johnny Manziel on the schedule to end the year, so a Missouri title game appearance isn’t a lock, which brings us to…

South Carolina

If Missouri falters down the stretch it's likely the Gamecocks who will get a shot at Bama. Currently 7-2, South Carolina has been a hard team to figure out this season. Capable of beating Missouri, yet falling to lowly Tennessee the week prior, Steve Spurrier’s group is inconsistent at best. Still, they field one of the best defensive lines in the SEC lead by junior Kelcy Quarles (7 sacks and 11 tackles for loss) and Jadeveon Clowney (2 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss).

On the offensive side of the ball, senior QB Connor Shaw has been nothing short of superb tossing for 1,655 yards and 18 TDs with just 1 INT. The things Shaw has been able to do through the air have been a nice complement to the heroics sophomore RB, Mike Davis has been able to accomplish on the ground. The diminutive Davis (5’9’’ 215 lbs) has eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark rushing for 1,058 yards and 10 TDS averaging an impressive 6.4 yards a carry.

Should South Carolina face Alabama in the SEC Championship game, it will be the first time the two teams have squared off since 2010, a 35-21 Gamecock’s victory.

Of course all of this is speculation. Florida State looks destined for Pasadena, while Alabama has a few potential pitfalls on their road to the crystal trophy. All Buckeye fans can do is root for the Scarlet and Gray to continue to win, while hoping against hope that Alabama and Florida State’s remaining opponents find a chink in the armor. As we all know, there’s a reason they play the games.

So go Buckeyes, Orangemen, Vandals, Gators, Bulldogs, Mocs, Tigers and any potential championship opponents. It’s November and there’s still plenty of football to be played.



jeremytwoface's picture

Auburn looked tough this last weekend. 
Missouri will be better when Franklin is back which should be after their bye this week.
I think both teams have a chance to take out Bama. Auburn has them at home and has a lot of confidence so I will give them the best chance.
Like you said, Florida State should win out the rest of the year... But they can be good for a slip up every once and a while.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

RedStorm45's picture

No profiles on UF or ... other ACC team ...
I haven't seen Auburn this year.  Is that QB a dual-threat like Johnny Football?  Perhaps Auburn or Mizzou could pull it off - Mizzou has some stud receivers.  I don't think Bama's offense is that much of a threat so if either team can get a couple drives together, it could be trouble for the Tide.

cinserious's picture

I would much rather face Alabama for the championship than Florida State. To be the best I want to beat the best and I don't think FSU is the best. I think 'Bama would beat them by at least 2 TDs, while Ohio State would put up a much better fight if not win it.
Don't get me wrong, I would still love to crush FSU for the title, but beating an SEC team especially Alabama would be that much more special. When Urban began 'The Chase', he was specifically talking about catching and beating Alabama and Saban.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

sivaDavis's picture

For some reason, my blind faith tells me Florida will surprise us all, play the greatest luckiest game of the season and beat FSU in that game, Muschamp keeps his job and Ohio State ends up playing Bama in the NCG if they can win out. Then all Florida fans will be arrogant and say "Well Urban needed our help to get there" which I'm entirely okay with. Call me a Buckeye homer all you want but I truly think that's what happens. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

Citrus's picture

I agree, Florida has some talent on the roster. The game is in the Swamp and a win would partially salvage the season. I think Florida has a chance. Both FSU and Bama have 3 games left, that is six chances to stumble. 

TommyWayne's picture

I want this to happen.
After watching a full Alabama game for the first time of the season on Saturday, I really think the Buckeyes would match up well -- something we should get a glimpse of with the Buck's O vs Sparty's D.
FSU seems a little scarier, and the win against Bama would actually go a long way in getting the Buckeyes out of the media doghouse.
I can see it if they play FSU and win -- "Well, the ACC wasn't particularly tough this year -- we all know the SEC team left out is the real winner."

cinserious's picture

@TOMMYWAYNE: I agree with everything you said, except that Florida State would be scarier. Alabama is the better team period. They don't have as prolific an offense but I guarantee they are better in: coaching, offensive line, running game, pass pro, D-line, run defense, pressuring the Qb, LBs, DBs, Alabama's cometition is better.
FSU (might) have a better WR corps, thats it. FSU to an extent is like Oregon, smoke and mirrors. All style and no substance. Those two teams (and their conferences) have been propped up by the media all year long. If Mariotta can get rattled by Stanford's D, imagine what would happen to a freshman Jamies Winston facing Alabama or Ohio State's defense?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

BenArazi4's picture

FSU is not like Oregon, they've got a very good defense too and their Offense leans more towards a pro style type.  They are not a fluke, I personally think they would cream Bama.  Bama is not the real deal this year, lots of holes in their defense and offense is not the most prolific.  Bama will be exposed by FSU if they meet in the Championship game but if we were to play in it I hope we get Bama for two reasons:  1) To get the SEC monkey off our back 2) Because FSU is the only true elite team in the nation this year IMO and our offense would have to keep up with their's which we could do but at the same time our O hasn't seen a D like their's/Our D would be in for a long day




TommyWayne's picture

That's what I've been seeing based on recaps, stats, and the few times I've watched the teams (and what I based my non-professional opinion on). FSU appears to have the ability to run away with things and get on a roll and not stop. Bama looks strong on the lines and some of the defensive backfield. That coupled with the paper tiger SEC this year (relatively -- compared to years past), Bama is not nearly as challenged or polished as they have been the past couple years.
Looking at it this way -- two Big 12 teams (middle to upper-middle class any given year) have come in and were able to claim their Big 12 standing or higher in the SEC pecking order. That's why Bama - OSU would be best. OSU could have a non-asterisk SEC bowl win and it would knock the SEC down a bit to start next year, setting up a power vacuum for some other conference to take over because, you know, the media has to make it about which conference is the best.

cinserious's picture

If that happens(Florida winning) , I will personally rent a dump truck and put the Gator's team in it (including Muschamp) and back it up into the B1G championship game to show them how real football is played and how to win championships.


One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

mtharp's picture

i dont event know what that means... something about a tiger and a bird and... SEC!

Ethos's picture

I also hope we play alabama.  Just to shut up the SEC trolls even for 15 minutes.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

osubuck57's picture

Dorial Green-Beckham can jump to the moon. Kid reminds me of Megatron(Calvin Johnson). Saw him get some crazy balls over the weekend. Think Mizzou will be Bamas' biggest threat this year. Auburn can run the ball, but not sold on their QBs.


Maestro's picture

I just don't see Bama losing before the NCG.  I also don't see FSU losing.  Therefore, I think it will take some shaky performances by the Seminoles against UF and in the ACC Championship Game to give the Bucks a chance.  A USCe beatdown of Clemson would be an added bonus.
Buckeyes will need to roll Illinois and Indiana by a combined score of roughly 100-30.  Then a firm woodshedding of the Skunk Bears by 3 TD's will be needed before taking down an 11-1 Sparty.

vacuuming sucks

m5987usus's picture

Regardless of fsu winning by 3 or 30 they will still be ahead of us as long as they win out. Zero chance osu jumps fsu regardless of the point scores. I would love osu to jump fsu but it just won't happen.


cinserious's picture

We should beat Illlllllinois  and Indiana at least by a combined 130-14 with all 14 going to Indiana.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

yrro's picture

Is it just me, or compared to recent years, are the schedules of all of the possible title contenders kind of pathetic?
I feel like with the larger conferences, it's become easier for the top teams to skate along without facing any of the good teams.

slippy's picture

Duke can still win the division.

Thajinn's picture

Not only does Buckeye fans need to root for those team foes to beat them, but also to keep a head of Balor and Standford got to root for past/ future opponets Buckeyes faced and hope they move up in the poll or make them. On top of rooting for Balor's and Standofords past and future opponets do awfule. Gosh can't wait till next yr and a playoff...and in 4 or so yrs till it gets a 8 team playoff which is all we need.

TommyWayne's picture


Man, that Cal game looked good a few years ago.

justanotherbuckeye22's picture

Georgia  tech  plays  Clemson  if they lose, Duke wins out there in  ACC championship game.

Seattle Linga's picture

Let's hope that whoever FSU plays - gives them a whale of a game