Since the Ohio State Buckeyes were not eligible to play for the 2012 BCS National Championship, we will never know how good the 12-0 Buckeyes truly were.
But one thing from this season was pretty clear: despite its record, OSU was not one of the two best teams in the country.
Braxton Miller was outstanding, but the Buckeyes had too many flaws throughout the roster to really be considered a serious national championship caliber team if they were able to play for a title.
Do Notre Dame and Alabama have flaws? Without a doubt.
Ohio State, however, had significant flaws in that it had trouble sustaining a consistent passing attack and its defense was extremely inconsistent, especially in giving up the big play.
In games against Wisconsin and Purdue for example, their defenses found a way to shut down the Buckeyes' offense which had big games against teams like Nebraska. They showed no respect for OSU's passing game, and the Buckeyes failed to take advantage due to Miller's inaccuracy.
The Buckeyes finished the regular season ranked No. 115, proving they still need to find a consistent game-breaker at wide receiver. Urban Meyer's offense thrives on speedy playmakers, for which OSU has few if any at this point.
OSU's rushing offense was ranked No. 27 and out-gained its passing yardage by an average of 54.2 yards per game, an unusual stat in today's game.
Meyer's offense is certainly a running offense, but the lack of a consistent passing game is something a more talented team like Notre Dame can exploit.
Defensively, Ohio State's back seven continued to be a major problem that even its talented front four wasn't able to overcome.
Time and again, big plays killed the OSU defense, whether it be because of blown assignments or missed tackles. The most egregious example was at Michigan State when about seven or eight Buckeye defenders missed tackles, allowing Keith Mumphery to score a touchdown.
The presence of Zach Boren at middle linebacker helped stabilize things tremendously, but it was little more than a band-aid.
Starting safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant were wildly inconsistent all year and weren't tremendous in pass coverage to begin with. That combination is a problem that requires internal improvement or new personnel to fix it.
Like most top teams, Ohio State won games it didn't deserve to win, especially against Purdue when Miller was knocked out of the game at the end of the third quarter. The problem is it happened against weaker teams like Purdue, Indiana and Cal.
There is something to be said about pulling out close games and winning every single one of them. Going undefeated is something to be commended, whether it leads to a title shot or in OSU"s case, ends its season.
But OSU can make a case for being a team that wasn't as good as its 12-0 record indicated. That's a tribute to great coaching on Meyer's part.
However, to say OSU would've won a national championship is reaching. The Buckeyes never looked like a championship-caliber team, and may have just been a year away.
We'll never know of course because the Buckeyes' season is over due to NCAA sanctions.
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