The early end to the regular season looks to be benefiting the Buckeyes yet again as the natural flow of upsets floats the team higher into prime bowl contention. Of course, the flip side is the rust-accumulating 50 day layoff, but as instant gratification nation, we like. WE LIKE.
The Civil War quickly became the War Against Tackling (seven senior starters on defense -- just sayin'), USC took care of Notre Dame and groupthink now has Ohio State in very good position to earn their 6th BCS bid in the last seven years1.
While the dicing of the Beavers is the key instrument in the boost, the Buckeyes also witnessed losses by the three teams ranked directly behind them in the BCS: Georgia (11), Oklahoma State (12) and Missouri (13). That never hurts.
This is what we know:
- Penn State, USC, Florida, Cincinnati, Oklahoma (most likely) and BC/VT get automatic bids for winning their conference championships.
- Utah gets the automatic bid over Boise State. The Broncos will not get an at-large bid.
- The SEC and the Big 12 will land two teams each.
- Ohioans enjoy leaving Ohio in January and those that don't or can't love them some television.
We speculated that Ohio State could be Arizona-bound again last week and here's why:
- Oklahoma leaps Texas in the BCS, beats Mizzou in the Big 12 championship game and meets Florida or Alabama in the MNC.
- Penn State and USC are in the Rose Bowl. Penn State, behold the fury that is Big Game USC.
- BC/VT is locked into the Orange bowl and with the last at-large pick, most likely playing Cincinnati. Nationally, that's a pretty shitty game, but the folks in Miami will at least get the big one a few days later.
- The Fiesta and Sugar bowls will both get replacement picks for losing their host teams (from the Big 12 and SEC respectively). Both are expected to take solid seconds from their host conferences, the Fiesta going with Texas and the Sugar going with loser of the SEC championship game.
- The order for the open selection is then: Fiesta, Sugar and, finally, the Orange Bowl. The Fiesta grabs the Buckeyes, the Sugar invites Utah (the thought of thousands of Mormons on Bourbon Street has me gripped) and then the Orange is obligated to pickup Big East champion Cincinnati.
Of course there's still some football to be played. A Missouri win in the Big 12 championship game, which is not out of the questions if the history of that game is any indication, would throw a bit of a wrench into things, but if anything that would only help Ohio State's position. It's not like the Big 12 can place three teams into the BCS, after all.
How will fans feel about yet another trip out to to the Phoenix area? The Buckeyes are 3-0 in the Fiesta bowl, but the last time the team played a January game in the 480, things didn't exactly work out. And by not work out, I mean 82 yards of total offense.
But how fitting would it be for this senior class to get one more crack at Texas, the team that factored so heavily into their national championship aspirations when they were freshmen and sophomores.
1 As crazy as six BCS bids in seven years sounds, USC is one stomping of UCLA away from earning their 7th-straight.