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Nebraska vs. Ohio State: With Nothing to Play For, OSU Is Even More Dangerous

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. Ohio State won the game 17-16. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 6, 2012

They say the most dangerous guys are always the ones who have nothing to lose.

Ohio State is undefeated and quickly approaching a Top 10 ranking. But due to a postseason bowl ban, the Buckeyes could run the table, finish as the No. 1 team in the country and be lucky to receive a pat on the back from the rest of the college football world.

The goal since head coach Urban Meyer took the job was to go undefeated this season. Since the team can't participate in a bowl game or win the conference championship, the players and fans want to enjoy a perfect regular season.

It would send the seniors on their way with something to remember and instill fear in the rest of the Big Ten about what is to come in 2013.

But does it really matter?

Sure, an undefeated season is always a great accomplishment. It would be the first for this program since 2002. But that season ended with a national championship victory, an accomplishment that is being denied the Buckeyes.

So while a 12-0 record, including a victory over Michigan, would be nice, there will always be something missing from that success.

Which makes Ohio State and Meyer that much more dangerous, not just for the matchup Saturday against Nebraska, but for the rest of the season. After all, the Buckeyes have nothing to lose.

Nebraska is the team that is fighting to stay alive in the Big Ten and remain relevant in the Top 25.

There isn't a pretty bowl location waiting for Ohio State. There's no extra television time. There won't be that one last game that the seniors get to enjoy before they move on. Once the regular season is over for the team in Columbus, that's it until next year.

Meyer has never been the Les Miles type who calls bizarre plays at the most insane times. But you can't rule it out when he has absolutely nothing to lose. He has already gone for it three times on fourth down and has converted on two of those attempts.

Meyer has always been about putting his team in the best position to succeed, but he is also about winning. As a coach, he has won two national championships and 82 percent of his games.

His formula is simple: Play great defense, execute in the red zone, avoid turnovers and don't make crucial mistakes.

Meyer and the Buckeyes have done a good job of that so far, but if things turn sour, you can expect to see a more desperate coach who is more willing to take risks.

Consider what Meyer said after a game in 2010 when he was the head coach at Florida. When asked about if he had issues with the Gators' play-calling, according to Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel, Meyer said:

No. I think we’re alright. I think we had to do what we had to do to find a way to win that game. It wasn’t a beauty pageant; if it was we would’ve lost. We had to find a way to win that game. Everybody saw what you saw. It was a mess. The ball was on the ground, a lack of perimeter blocking, and just the mechanics of the game. We had to find a way to win the game. That meant calling a couple of plays that maybe… we had to do what we had to do. I gave our whole staff a plus on that. I give us a minus on other things, but a plus on that.

It is all about winning when it comes to Meyer. He will do whatever it takes to win, especially when his team has absolutely nothing to lose.


Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.

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