The Ohio State Buckeyes secured a perfect season with a 26-21 win over Michigan in the season ending rivalry game this past Saturday.The Buckeyes are ineligible for post-season play after the NCAA levied sanctions against the team stemming from violations during the last days and of the Jim Tressel years.
For a moment let’s forget the sanctions and ask the obvious question: How would the Buckeyes fare against the current BCS Top Five?
Ohio State has pushed through a handful of top-level opponents this season and survived two overtime games to stay undefeated. Close calls against Purdue, Indiana and UAB have led to questions about how good this team really is.
A 63-38 win over Nebraska shows that the Buckeyes have the ability to be the real deal. Here is a look at how Ohio State would match up against the BCS Top Five.
The Oregon Ducks are one of the most prolific offenses in the country this season bringing the No. 2 scoring offense to the field on a weekly basis. They have been able to score over 43 points in all but one contest this fall. The Ducks last win came against Oregon State with a score of 48-24.
The Buckeyes have played well defensively this fall, but they don’t have the skill players to match up against the Ducks. While the game would be close to start, the Ducks would outscore Ohio State by the end of the fourth.
Braxton Miller would be able to make plays against the Ducks, but he can’t win this game alone. It would take a top level defensive performance to shut down the explosive Oregon offense and notch a win.
Final Score Prediction: Oregon 42, Ohio State 28
The Florida Gators have been a very inconsistent team this season marching to a No. 2 ranking by mid-October. A loss to Georgia ended the Gators run at a national title, but they have since climbed back into the Top Five.
The Gators have produced spotty offensive play all year, but their defense has been among the best in the country.
How could the Buckeyes fare against an SEC level defense? This year they have struggled with scoring against top Big Ten teams and nothing indicates that would change. The key would be the Buckeyes defense.
This game would depend on how flawless the Gators could play offense. That favors the Buckeyes nine times out of 10.
Final Score Prediction: Ohio State 24, Florida 17
Georgia has worked its way into the national title discussion this fall after winning the SEC Eastern Division.
The Bulldogs have mounted an impressive offensive attack this season with Aaron Murray guiding Georgia to an 11 win regular season. The Bulldogs have also played lights out on defense, mounting the No. 22 total defense in the country.
The Bulldogs are especially dangerous against the pass, producing the No. 9 pass defense in the country.
Ohio State doesn’t rely on the pass to produce a ton of yards, but Braxton Miller would have to test this stingy Georgia defense through the air to earn the win. Nothing this year has shown that he could be up to the task.
Final Score Prediction: Georgia 28, Ohio State 17
Alabama is the most talented roster top-to-bottom in the country this season. They are fielding a nasty defense and find ways to produce big plays on offense with regularity.
The Crimson Tide may have one-loss, but they are still considered by many to be the top program in the country. Against Ohio State they would have the shot to prove that belief to be true.
The Buckeyes would rely on a game plan similar to Texas A&M to pull of this win. If Braxton Miller could make plays on the fly and find connections when plays breakdown on the Ohio State offense they could challenge Alabama in this match up.
The Buckeyes defense would earn stops, but the unit couldn’t do enough to win the game for Ohio State. Miller is good, but he hasn’t shown he has the poise of Johnny Manziel and would be unable to shoulder this victory.
Final Score Prediction: Alabama 24, Ohio State 10
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have marched to an impressive 12-0 season securing a spot in the BCS National Title Game at years end.
The Irish have pushed through a tough schedule with opportunistic offense and elite level defense. Manti Te’o has been a major part of the Notre Dame rise to the top this season from linebacker.
Ohio State would have to play its best offensive game of the season to earn a win over Notre Dame. The Irish have proven time and again that their front seven is among the best in the country.
Add in the growth that Everett Golson and Notre Dame has shown on offense and this team has become the undisputed No. 1 program in the country for 2012.
While the Buckeyes would push this game deep into the second half, the Irish would grab the win late with a defensive turnover and ensuring a game sealing score.
Final Score Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Ohio State 13