We’re one week away from the final BCS standings, and your Buckeyes sit at No. 2 in the country. It’s been a hard road that included watching three different teams jump the Buckeyes in the standings despite winning each and every game on their regular season schedule.
All season fans of the Scarlet and Gray had to defend their team while the national media churned out a different “Ohio State doesn’t deserve it” narrative week-after-week. Now, faced with just two remaining undefeateds, the spin machine is running out of fuel, but that doesn’t mean it won’t attempt to run on fumes.
In years past, this would be an open and shut case. Two teams from major conferences with undefeated resumes would go to the national championship game. That’s how the BCS works. That’s how the BCS has ALWAYS worked. Yet there are some who choose to ignore all precedent and boldly claim a one-loss team should jump the Buckeyes because S-E-C!!!! To be clear, this won’t happen. If the Buckeyes take care of business in Indianapolis next week they’re headed to Pasadena for all of the marbles. But next weekend is an eternity from now, at least it will feel that way after you’re forced to listen to talking heads on national networks discount the Buckeyes and all they’ve accomplished.
So, in order to survive this final week of #narrative I’ve compiled a handy list of common arguments you might encounter over the coming week complete with cogent counter-points to fend off any and all trolls. Let’s get to it.
Ohio State Hasn’t Played Anyone
First and foremost you’ve got to remind the troll that schedules are made years in advance. When Cal was placed on the docket, they were a legitimate team. Playing them in Berkeley should have been a premiere matchup. Of course it wasn’t but that isn’t the Buckeye’s fault. Over the past 10 years the Scarlet and Gray have led the way in terms of scheduling quality out of conference opponents (see Texas, Washington, USC, Miami). You’d be hard pressed to find a national power anywhere else in the country consistently scheduling better prime-time out of conference games. Most of these have panned out…Cal didn’t, but that’s Cal’s problem.
The B1G is also down, there’s no denying it. But again, this isn’t the Buckeye’s fault. You can only play the teams on your schedule and they’ve handled every single opponent. Time and time again their schedule has been blasted in the national media, yet Florida State skates by in a weak ACC without scrutiny.
To put things in perspective, the B1G is pegged higher than the ACC in ESPN’s power rankings. If Florida State beats Duke next week they will have beaten the No. 20 team in the country and the No. 13 team in the country. If the Buckeyes beat Michigan State next weekend they will have beaten the No. 21 team in the country and the No. 10 team in the nation. Those potential quality wins are nearly identical. The conference strength is nearly identical. Yet Florida State is a world-beater and Ohio State has to deal with talk of an unprecedented scenario in which a one-loss SEC team would jump them. Again, it’s not going to happen if the Buckeye’s win out, but it is a great segue into the next argument.
A one-loss SEC team should jump Ohio State
Never in the 15-year history of the BCS has a one-loss team jumped an undefeated team from another major conference to go to the national championship. Hasn’t happened, wont happen. This is all you really need to come with, but if the troll is still throwing shade your way remind them that it’s not impossible to go undefeated in the mighty SEC. Three teams have done it over the past five seasons, and those teams have gone to the national championship.
I know it’s hard for the South to believe, but before their run of dominance there were 7 years of non-SEC BCS national championship winners and 5 years where an SEC team didn’t even play in the game. College football wont go into a seizure and die without them. Bottom-line, take care of your business on the field and you’ll have a shot. So far Ohio State and Florida State have. Auburn, Missouri and Alabama haven’t.
Ohio State’s Performance Against A Terrible Michigan Squad Was Reason Enough to Drop Them From Consideration
The Ohio State Michigan game is the greatest rivalry in all of sport. Records go out the window in this one. Fans who don’t understand that aren’t well-versed in The Game, so here’s a history lesson: over the past 44 years, the underdog in the UM/OSU rivalry has won 40% of the time. #STAT.
The Game is a season disguised as four quarters of football. Players at both schools are measured both by their overall win-loss record and by their victories in The Game.
In this particular edition, Michigan had nothing to lose, and they were playing in their own house. No one should be surprised OSU got their best effort of the season, and in a game full of adversity the Buckeyes were able to prevail. Style points aren’t a part of this equation. Winning is all that matters.
Ohio State is All Offense and No Defense
Since when has this been an impediment to getting into the national championship? The media was salivating at the thought of putting Baylor or Oregon in the final game this season. The only difference being defenses were able to down those prolific offenses. Tom Herman is still searching for the team capable of beating his. The Buckeyes are second in the nation in rushing yards, third in the nation in points-for and sixth in the nation in total team offense. That's about as good as you can get. Sprinkle in a defense that bends but doesn't break (coming in at 18th in the nation in points against) with the exception of the Michigan game (which we've already covered) and you have a pretty damn good football team.
The Buckeyes don’t pass the eye test
After all other arguments have been soundly thwarted, the troll you’re dealing with will have no choice but to resort to the dreaded “eye test” angle. This is a cowardly maneuver because it can’t be disputed with fact. It’s purely subjective and it will sound something like this: “Ohio State has won, but they don’t look good doing it. They just don't pass the eye test for me.”
Here’s a team that won ugly all year but went on to win the national championship against one of the best college football teams in history. Here’s a team that looked unstoppable all season then got their a#$es handed to them in the national championship.
The "eye-test" is a fairy-tale. All that matters is winning. How you look doing it is a non-issue.
If the Buckeyes win they're in, I can't stress that enough. If Auburn was going to jump Ohio State it would have happened this week based on the knee-jerk reaction of voters and a still un-public Coaches' Poll. Even with the improbable win Auburn remains behind the Buckeyes in both the human and computer polls. A relatively comfortable lead in the BCS, a public Coaches Poll (we see you SEC coaches...no funny stuff) and most importantly a top-10 victory against Michigan State will be enough to get the Buckeyes to the big one in Pasadena.
You're going to encounter a lot of people who have a problem with that so keep this document close...and your trolls closer.