Ohio State Football: Should OSU Be Concerned About Its Drop in the Polls?
After coming into the season ranked No. 2, Ohio State has slipped in the AP poll in consecutive weeks despite posting blowout victories over Buffalo and San Diego State.
Ohio State looked sloppy in its season-opening victory over Buffalo, but the Buckeyes responded with a 35-point rout of San Diego State without the services of Braxton Miller, who suffered a slight MCL sprain seven plays into the game.
It was Oregon that hopped the Buckeyes after Week 1, and Clemson got the nod over the Buckeyes on Sunday behind the near-consensus top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
Even the USA Today football coaches poll, which makes up one-third of the formula used to calculate the BCS standings, dropped the Buckeyes from their preseason No. 2 spot to No. 3 behind Alabama and Oregon on Sunday.
It would be concerning if it weren't so early.
Consider this: At this point last year, teams such as USC (which was ranked No. 2), West Virginia (No. 9) and Michigan State (No. 10) appeared to be legitimate contenders. All three finished the season with a 7-6 record and outside the Top 25.
The college football season has a way of not only weeding out the pretenders, but identifying the true contenders.
Over the last decade, only once has there been a season when three teams from automatically qualified conferences finished the season undefeated. Outside of that 2004 season, every team from a BCS conference that finished the year unbeaten—and without a postseason ban—went on to play for the national championship.
If the Buckeyes can run the table, history would suggest they'll be bound for Pasadena to play in the national title game this January.
Concerns over Ohio State's strength of schedule should fade as well. Despite a weak nonconference slate, the Big Ten has looked good in two weeks of action.
The conference has five of its 12 teams (Ohio State, Michigan at No. 11, Northwestern at No. 17, Wisconsin at No. 20 and Nebraska at No. 23) ranked in the AP Top 25 and teams such as Penn State, Michigan State and even Illinois have improved the Big Ten's stock.
Hypothetically, if Ohio State manages to go undefeated in 2013, it would have beaten Northwestern and Michigan on the road, Wisconsin and Penn State at home, and a divisional champion in the Big Ten title game.
That would give Ohio State a 25-game winning streak going into the bowl season.
Frankly, it's hard to imagine that scenario ending with Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes being shut out of the national title game.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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