Even without taking the field in Week 7, the Ohio State Buckeyes have come away as one of the weekend’s biggest losers.
Sure, it’s unfair to fault a team on its bye week. However, losses by Michigan and Northwestern only weaken an already weak strength of schedule.
More importantly, it’s a severe blow to Ohio State’s BCS title hopes.
Behind Alabama, Oregon and Clemson in the latest AP poll, the Buckeyes were already at a disadvantage. But playing a schedule without too many tests—one that likely may not feature a single ranked team come next week’s poll—could be the fatal blow against Ohio State.
Before the season, college football expert Phil Steele ranked the Buckeyes No. 67 in strength of schedule. Among the Top 20-ranked teams in the AP poll, only Louisville (98th) has an easier schedule.
If that has hurt the Cardinals’ credibility as a national-title threat, why shouldn’t it do the same for Ohio State?
OK, I get that the team has the nation’s longest current winning streak at 18 games. However, teams are only judged on what they’ve accomplished this season.
And according to BCSguru.com’s simulated BCS standings through Week 6, the Buckeyes don’t even belong in the top five:
While Stanford’s 27-21 loss to Utah should only benefit Ohio State, it’s worth noting that only one of the six computers used in the BCS formula consider the team deserving of a ranking better than eighth.
Don’t expect that to get any better following losses to unranked teams by the Michigan Wolverines (43-40 to Penn State) and the Northwestern Wildcats (35-6 to Wisconsin).
Thus far, the Buckeyes biggest wins on the year come against Northwestern and Wisconsin. Two teams already with a pair of losses.
Not exactly something to brag about to the pollsters.
Furthermore, Ohio State’s six remaining opponents have a combined record of just 20-15. Out of the four that were in play Saturday, three lost.
It doesn’t look any better the other way around, as the six opponents the Buckeyes have beaten are only 14-15.
With all that said, the team’s only shot of reaching the BCS title hung on every other undefeated team dropping a game. Either that or Michigan had to enter the two team’s showdown on Nov. 30 undefeated.
So much for option No. 2.
Sure, watching the Wolverines’ season unravel by way of an embarrassing 33-yard field-goal miss may bring joy to Ohio State fans. However, it really shouldn’t.
Because when Brendan Gibbons pulled his kick left, he didn’t just cost Michigan the game; he also put the Buckeyes’ BCS title hopes in jeopardy.
Talk about a double-edged sword.