Ohio State's Chances at Competing for a Big Ten Title are Slim, But Urban Meyer Wants His Team to Know it Still Has Something to Play for

By Eric Seger on November 25, 2015 at 8:35 am
Urban Meyer wants to be sure his team knows it still has plenty to play for Saturday.

Urban Meyer is a worrywart. He's concerned about what happens with his football team on a daily basis more than even the craziest fan could imagine.

"I worry about everything," Meyer's often said, even when a specific topic is brought up to him by a reporter.

He worries about recruiting, unrest among his players and about winning. Always about winning.

"Someone else should be standing here if there's some other purpose of our job," Meyer said Oct. 17 after the Buckeyes defeated Penn State, 38-10. "And that's, first of all, I care about these players. And you try to win a game at whatever cost. However you can do it."

Meyer's team fell for the first time in 24 games last Saturday, dropping a 17-14 result at the hands of a very good Michigan State team. Ohio State's performance was extremely woeful when it comes to the standard Meyer's instilled in what is now his fourth season.

With how the schedule fell in 2015, however, the Buckeyes hardly have any time to sit in their angst and think about how poorly they played against the Spartans. A game against their most hated rival, Michigan, is less than a week away. With some help, the Buckeyes could still win the Big Ten East Division.

"Any time you lose a game, maybe they think they’re not playing for what they were playing for before and that’s not true; there’s a lot of football left to be played," Meyer said Tuesday on the Big Ten teleconference.

Welcome to the worry of the week for Ohio State's head coach.

“Any time you lose a game, maybe they think they’re not playing for what they were playing for before and that’s not true; there’s a lot of football left to be played.”– Urban Meyer

"My concern is just getting ready to play this team and focus on that," Meyer said. "That's the biggest thing: Just got to go forward and got to go forward fast."

The Buckeyes can still win the division by beating Michigan and then hoping Penn State does the same against Michigan State Saturday. The odds are working against them, but it is not impossible.

"Crazier things have happened. We have no idea what could happen," defensive end Joey Bosa said Monday. "We could still get a chance to play in the Big Ten championship. That is a big goal of ours every year."

Meyer preaches to his players the importance of being in position to compete for championships in November. His players talk about that in earnest as a season churns along. Ohio State's best chance at doing that now after losing a game is by winning Saturday at Michigan Stadium, beating the Wolverines for the fourth consecutive year.

"That’s a huge deal," senior linebacker Joshua Perry said about the chance to go 4-0 against Michigan. "It’s just something to brag about, something you can always talk about and something people around here through all eras of Ohio State football can really appreciate. National championships come around every so often but you play that team every year."

Michigan is wishing for the same outcome as Ohio State, too: Win, and wish for a Michigan State loss to the Nittany Lions. If that happens, Jim Harbaugh's crew will head to Indianapolis to face Iowa in the Big Ten title game.

If the Buckeyes lose, a chance at a New Year's Six bowl game is all but eliminated. It all plays into whether or not they want to finish strong or potentially have the season spiral out of control down the stretch due to a lone loss.

So even though the Buckeyes are no longer undefeated, they still have plenty to play for outside of just a rivalry matchup.

Whether or not they know it come Saturday at noon is the cause of Meyer's angst this week.

"You have to show them that one is done," Meyer said. "You have to move forward and get ready to play a good team."

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