COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State schedule, as they say, “is what it is."
In the age of big-money deals made between schools where schedules are inked a decade in advance, there is no crystal ball prognosticating how competitive those games will be or if there will be national championship implications when the games are played.
For Ohio State, California looked good on the Buckeyes’ schedule when the game was scheduled 10 years ago and Aaron Rodgers was under center for the Golden Bears, Vanderbilt was the coveted SEC school added to the schedule until the Commodores backed out (enter FCS filler Florida A&M), and Big Ten conference rivals haven’t held up to they’re end of the deal this season (see Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northwestern).
So when the first BCS rankings were released this week and the Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) fell in line behind Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon, it was clear No. 4 Ohio State would need some help to get into the national championship picture despite the strong possibility of going undefeated this season.
I emphasize “strong possibility.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer addressed the issue in his weekly press conference Monday.
“We had our first state of the union address yesterday and it's the first time that I do talk about polls,” he said, “and my comment was that we are — indeed — in the mix and to embrace it. In the mix for what? Don't worry about it. We are in the mix, though."
He added, “People think very highly of you. Maybe some people don't. You just have to go out and be the best team on the field on Saturday, not in the country. I addressed it. We did talk about it. Somewhat briefly, but at least it was addressed. That was the first time I did that.”
History tells us, since the BCS system was adopted in 1998, that each season works itself out and two undefeated teams (or one-loss teams in a lot cases) are playing in January for the crystal football. Only once has an AQ school gone undefeated and not had a chance to hoist the hardware: Auburn in 2004. The Tigers were undefeated but finished No. 3 in the BCS standings while USC cruised past Oklahoma, 55-19, in the title game.
Auburn settled for a 16-13 Sugar Bowl win over No. 9 Virginia Tech.
Considering Ohio State’s remaining schedule, a repeat of '04 is a strong possibility this season. The Buckeyes could be undefeated and left on the outside looking in without a little help.
Here is a look at the teams Ohio State fans need to be rooting for to slip into one of the top two spots in the BCS rankings…