Multiple Undefeateds

hooverbad112's picture
September 3, 2013 at 8:33a

It's early, no doubt. But the good (well, really, bad) thing about college football is that for any moderately great team you can write off half the schedule before it even begins. It's 4-5 games that define your season. Either way, this could be a tricky year for Ohio State if they're to make the title game.

With the team ranked No. 2 preseason, we all assumed they'd be a shoe-in if they ran the table, but it already seems like there are, a) some other very good teams out there and b) a contingent of the AP (and likely the coaches too) looking for any excuse to knock OSU off that perch. 

This is a real "counting our chickens" situation here, but let's take a look at the Buckeyes' potential competition if they are to go the distance:

  • SEC - Realistically, the only scenario an SEC team doesn't get into the title game would be if every team in the conference had 2 losses or more. Likely, the only way that happens is if the winner of the West (LSU/Alabama) goes into the conference title game with 1 loss and loses to a 2-loss team from the East. But a) it's unlikely the winner in the West won't be undefeated going into that game just b/c that division will be so competitive, and b) with South Carolina not playing Alabama, LSU or A&M it's unlikely they go into the SEC title game with 2 losses unless they lose to Florida or Clemson at home and Georgia on the road. 
  • Pac 12 - This is potentially the Buckeyes' biggest challenge. The winner of the Oregon/Stanford game has a good chance of going undefeated and their conference slate (at least this year) seems comparatively stronger than (or at least equal to) the Big Ten with Washington and UCLA both looking good and USC there as well. Oregon also would have a win over Tennessee in the non-conference and Stanford would have Notre Dame, of course. Not to mention the media has a love affair with Oregon.
  • Florida State / Clemson - Both of these teams have some big games to win before even thinking about a national title berth, but if they did run the table they'd be in, no doubt. In addition to the ACC title game, Florida State would have wins over Miami, Clemson and Florida, while Clemson would have wins over Georgia, Florida State, & South Carolina. I doubt either of those will happen, but we're just prognosticating here. .
  • Oklahoma State / Texas / Oklahoma - It's such a cluster in the Big 12 I can't imagine anyone goes undefeated, but if they do that team would have quality wins over 3 of Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU -- all teams who should be ranked all year long AND they don't have a conference title game to worry about. However, the only team in that trio with the opportunity for a big non-conference win would be Oklahoma beating Notre Dame. Other than that, they'd be relying on their conference wins. So, unlikely.
  • American - Louisville should coast through this league but there's no compelling win there. Even an undefeated L'ville team might be bypassed by 1-loss teams from any of those scenarios above.
  • Notre Dame - They have to get by Michigan, Michigan State, USC, Oklahoma and Stanford (brutal), but if they do, no question they're in.

Long story short, IF the Buckeyes are fortunate enough to run the table there's (of course) likely only one spot available because of the SEC. Going into the year the assumption was that -- starting at No. 2. -- that was their spot to lose, but that might not be the case if the voters turn on Ohio State or get infatuated by Oregon, Clemson, Florida State etc. Sooner rather than later I wouldn't be surprised to see some of -- or perhaps all of -- those teams ahead of the Buckeyes in the rankings and Ohio State needing them to fall off one by one if they're looking for a shot at the title.

But I'm guessing the team is more worried about their linebackers than being on the outside looking in on a title race 12 weeks from now...





cplunk's picture

I wouldn't assume the SEC gets in. Based on what i saw over the weekend, their best team is LSU. LSU is starting fairly low in the rankings.
If out of Ohio State, Clemson or Florida State, and Oregon or Stanford, two teams go undefeated and Bama loses, it is very easy to see the SEC champ ending the season ranked behind all those teams.
This is because:
OSU would move to #1 when Bama loses
An undefeated Oregon or Stanford who beat the other would likely be #2
Clemson, if undefeated, would have given the current next SEC team (#6 SC) a loss
I could easily see the SEC champ ranked #4 when the season ends.
Voters have jumped a #3 SEC champ into the game, but would they jump a team two spots? Not so sure.
There are two spots open this year, not one.
I actually think our biggest worry is that the SEC is out, but Clemson is in (having beaten Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida State) and so is Oregon/Stanford (having beaten the other). If we're undefeated, I could definitely see us jumped by Clemson in that scenario, and there would be a big argument for use being jumped by the Oregon/Stanford winner.
We could see a year where both the SEC champ and an undefeated OSU are left out.
That said, there is SO MUCH SEASON LEFT. College football is crazy. Tons can happen between now and then.

TMac's picture

It's way early - Injuries, Luck, Targeting....who knows
However I disagree that a 1 loss SEC champ is in IF there are multiple undefeated teams - they could be, but that isn't a sure thing at all

ONE Not Done!

jeremytwoface's picture

SEC - Realistically, the only scenario an SEC team doesn't get into the title game would be if every team in the conference had 2 losses or more.

I would say a very real possibility would be Ohio State and Oregon/Stanford both going undefeated.
If that's the case, I don't see a 1-loss SEC team getting in over two undefeated teams unless one of those teams is Louisville...

But a) it's unlikely the winner in the West won't be undefeated going into that game just b/c that division will be so competitive, and b) with South Carolina not playing Alabama, LSU or A&M it's unlikely they go into the SEC title game with 2 losses unless they lose to Florida or Clemson at home and Georgia on the road.

The SEC being so competitive is exactly the reason why there could be a SEC Championship with 2 teams with losses. And I could DEFINITELY see SC losing to Florida, Clemson or Georgia. Actually, If they get through those games with 2 wins, I would call it a success.
I really can't see anyone coming out of the SEC undefeated. It's just such a gauntlet of a schedule. If ANYONE does it, I think it would be Alabama just because they don't have the tougher teams on the schedule this year. As of right now, they only have two ranked teams on their schedule (and obviously a 3rd if they make it to the SEC Championship). Ohio State has three (and probably 4 if they get to the B1G championship).
Everyone says how OSU has such a weak schedule, but Bama's isn't too much better.

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.

buckeyestu's picture

Speaking of weak schedules, i do not see how louisville would be considered for a spot in the national title game, even if louisville went undefeated, which looks like a great possibility given the fact they do not play one top 25 team this year.

jeremytwoface's picture

Yeah I agree... It would be tough for them to get in. 

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.

hetuck's picture

Also no conference title game.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Jeeves's picture

Looking closer at the sec schedule it really isn't much of a gauntlet at all. The best teams from each division tend to miss each other's cross divisional peer during the season. I think it was last year that the top 7 sec teams went undefeated against the bottom 7 sec teams. That speaks to a conference that is currently unbalanced and fortunate to avoid regular season games like bama v florida. If there are two bcs conference teams that are undefeated they will pay each other leaving out a one loss sec team. If not there should be an insurrection amongst the rest of the bcs conference administrators and athletic directors.

jeremytwoface's picture

Well it depends who you think the best teams are....
According to the polls (grain of salt taken), Alabama is the best in the West and South Carolina in the East.
Like I said, Alabama's schedule is fairly easy in the West. They play LSU and A&M which are the second and third best in the West. So if they go undefeated, that automatically knocks out LSU and vice versa. Either way you look at at, at least two of these teams will have at least one loss. The winner of Bama vs. A&M will have the inside track because both of their schedules are a little easier. LSU still has Georgia and Florida on top of Bama and A&M.
If A&M gets past Bama, they still have to go to LSU later on... Not many people walk out of there with a win.
If Bama gets past A&M, they have LSU at home which isn't a cakewalk by any means.
In the East, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia are the favorites.
Well, Georgia already lost.
South Carolina has to go to Georgia AND play Florida AND play Clemson... I don't see them getting through those 3 games undefeated.
Florida has to go to LSU and South Carolina, and play Georgia and Florida State at home. I would bet a lot of money that they don't go undefeated through those 4 games.
So yeah, I would say that the only teams that I would even consider going undefeated are Alabama and Texas A&M... and they play each other. So that knocks one of them out.
I just can't see an undefeated SEC team at all.

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.


If Baylor didn't beat K-State or Oregon would've beaten Stanford the SEC would've gotten shutout of the NCG last year. Don't always assume this streak will continue forever. I just hope that when the new playoff comes we don't see an all-SEC Final Four or three of the four. I have some hope that the selection committee can somehow have some democracy to it.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

45OH4IO's picture

Yeah, it's easy to forget the past, but basically a one loss SEC team would not be able to jump multiple undefeateds. The only one that I could see getting jumped this year is possibly Louisville. Any Pac-12, ACC or B1G team that went undefeated (or Notre Dame) would not get jumped. Period.

CUBS's picture

Can definitely see Louisville, Clemson/FSU, Bama/Texas A&M/LSU, Stanford/Oregon, and Ohio State going undefeated. Clemson and FSU are really the class of the ACC. I think the SEC is the SEC and I wouldn't be surprised if none of the three teams i have listed are unbeaten as they could each beat each other. I think Bama loses to Texas A&M btw. Stanford and Oregon are pretty comparable and are really the only teams in the Pac-12 in my opinion and Ohio State just has to avoid shooting itself in the foot. I think the game against Cal, the Wildcats, and Michigan (x2) are really all that stand in the way of OSU this season, assuming Michigan wins their division. Cal's defense isnt very good and Ohio State should be able to move the ball but it will really come down to the Ohio State secondary. Goff is a hell of a QB. I think Ohio State can handle NW, but the small-stadium environment and being a little arrogant could bite OSU in the butt in Evanston (similar to what seems to be the Buckeye's issue with Purdue). And then Michigan is Michigan. I think this year we will see three unbeatens, at least on paper: Louisville, Ohio State, Oregon. I think on paper, the national title game will be Ohio State and Oregon with Louisville on the outside looking in. Alabama has a lot of work to do up front and their offense isnt spread so they cant really use those short quick passes that Oregon employs constantly. I think Bama's defense is extremely good but will be prone to big plays when they play Texas A&M and I think Texas A&M beats them at Kyle Field. I think Bama beats LSU at home and LSU beats Texas A&M. The other teams in the SEC that could go unbeaten in Florida and South Carolina have to play eachother and I think Florida loses a few games this year. I think if South Carolina can somehow get by UGA and Florida, I think they lose in the SEC title game to LSU (not sure how tiebreakers work in the SEC, but Im going with an "other than Bama" pick and I have LSU beating Texas A&M). I think you'll see OSU/Oregon in the national title game, LSU/Louisville in the Sugar, Texas A&M/Stanford in the Rose, Oklahoma State/Florida State in the Fiesta, Clemson/Notre Dame in the Bama in the BCS for me, bold, maybe unwise, but I'll stick with UL/OSU/Oregon for undefeateds and those picks as my subsequent BCS predictions

Jeeves's picture

Good post but if Michigan only has two losses there is no way in Hades Michigan ( or any other Big Ten team with ten wins) isn't chosen as Ohio State's replacement in the Rose Bowl.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

I can't wait for the playoffs so we don't have to worry about this.

Bucksfan's picture

An undefeated B1G, BigXII or Pac-12 champ will trump a 1-loss SEC team.  The only time the SEC team will get the benefit of the doubt is when its champion is tied with other teams.  I know it seems like it, but previous polls would indicate otherwise.  There is no way a 1-loss Alabama team would have jumped an undefeated OK-State team in 2011, LSU was all but out of it in 2007 until everyone lost 2 games, etc., etc.  There are way too much coaching politics in play for that to ever happen.
So, relax for now.  However, your assessment of the Oregon/Stanford game and its threat to the Buckeye's trip to play in the 2nd Pasadena game is well-noted.  It is my biggest concern for this season.

BlockO's picture

The good thing about going 1-0 iis the chance to go 2-0....I believe we will win it all this year but let us take it one game at a time.

"faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum)

ScarletGray43157's picture

Very rational comment.  Rare on a fan-driven site, but I like it.  I agree as well.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...