Ohio State football, in case you'd forgotten, is undefeated.
After having dispatched the various and sundry refuse of the Big Ten and the MAAACUSA, the Buckeyes are 6-0 and the darlings of the discerning college football fan. Sure, your Alabamas and Oklahomas might be meatier fare, but Ohio State is an interesting, unexpected, and engaging team with just a soupçon of a deal with the devil.
Yeah, that's right! We're evil!
At least for one weekend, because while Ryan Day and company sit in reclining sofas drinking Shirley Temples and being fed grapes by trained orangutans from the Columbus Zoo, today the rest of college football will be trying to eke out a meagre existence on the edge of competence and victory. And that includes a number of Ohio State's fellow top 10ish teams.
Which, frankly, is their own damn fault. For example, if No. 11 Texas (who has played exactly one team with a pulse and lost to them) or No. 6 Oklahoma (who has not yet played a team with a pulse but still allowed Kansas to drop 20 points on their heads) players are feeling a bit of anxiety going into the Red River Showdown, that's a result of poor advance scheduling and crappy conferences. Which is completely out of their control, but I hope they both look like butt anyway. I give this matchup two horns down, which apparently is the greatest insult one can give to a Longhorns fan, causing them to melt into a puddle of their own frothy spittle and tears, especially after a loss would effectively destroy their playoff hopes.
No. 1 Alabama isn't going to lose to No. 24 Texas A&M, but the nice thing for Ohio State fans is that a Crimson Tide win will likely knock the Aggies out of the top 25 for a good long while, paradoxically making Alabama's already garbage schedule look even worse. The ideal scenario here is a completely terrible, unwatchable game that ends up being 17-12 or something and is just a gigantic waste of everyone's time. Being an SEC game, there is about a 33% chance of this happening.
But wait! It gets even more advantageous and therefore fun!
The No. 5 Fighting Joe Burrows play the No. 7 Florida Gators later tonight, which should be great if you're a fan of watching one team attempt to deconstruct the sport of football into a tiny, extremely boring, component pieces and then take three and a half hours in real time to rebuild it.
Plus, there's some Big Ten action, which, if we're being honest with ourselves, is nature's greatest sleep aid. No. 10 Penn State playing No. 17 Iowa could be fun, but it won't be. We know it won't.
Ideally we'd see a ton of crazy upsets in the top 10 to help solidify Ohio State's position in the top 4, but they're not needed. The Buckeyes will likely shine while being under a rock. No one would or should care about Alabama twisting the knife against TAMU, and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bolwsby is probably praying for a decisive Oklahoma win, because anything less weakens their playoff push considerably.
Likewise, the loser of the LSU/Florida tilt will be in some serious trouble, particularly if they're the Florida Gators (which... yes, that's most likely what's going to happen).
What makes this weekend great despite the Buckeyes watching from the sidelines is that there is a huge opportunity for their stock to rise and be solidified in the minds of pollsters, mainly by not having to play yet another team of sub-par moxie. And even that joke in of itself is a bit of a misnomer, because the sports media at large is starting to pick up on the fact that Ohio State's schedule so far is much better than similarly-ranked teams.
So pardon me if I spend this Saturday laughing maniacally as the Buckeyes make the winning move by not playing, which is the ultimate goal of any elite college football team: play as little actual football as humanly possible while still appearing dominant in the eyes of pollsters and the pubic. As it turns out, you can rest on the laurels of a win against Michigan State for a hell of a lot longer than should reasonably be allowed.
Evil? Maybe a little bit. And in 2007, karma ended up biting Ohio State in the ass as they were matched up in a national championship game against a team that outmatched them in a number of critical ways. The difference as I see it is that because of a contentious coaching change, a new quarterback, more difficult than expected opponents to start off the season, and the distinct disadvantage of not having Billy Davis around anymore, this is an Ohio State team that has earned the right this weekend to laugh and Tweet and post dumb stuff on Instagram about how 'Bama Ain't Played Nobody because dammit, they haven't!
It's the perfect weekend of college football. Numerous top 10 teams will see their playoff hopes destroyed in a single afternoon, Ohio State will solidify its position in the top 4, and we know all of those ahead of time without the prerequisite angst that we bathe in during the first half of the season. It's smooth sailing from here on out.
For two weeks.