How Ohio State and Louisville's Schedule Hinders Their Standing in the BCS
With college football's Week 8 comes the release of the first BCS standings of the year, and with the BCS, of course, comes controversy.
This year, that controversy is headed straight for Ohio State and Louisville.
The Buckeyes and the Cardinals are both the favorites to win their respective conferences and likely finish the regular season unblemished, at 12-0.
However, therein lies the problem.
OSU and UL are both heavily favored to take their league crowns because neither has a single team ranked in the AP Top 25 remaining on their schedule.
The AP poll has already given a preview of what will happen to these two teams once the BCS is released.
The Buckeyes debuted at No. 2 in the preseason poll but have actually dropped two spots to No. 4, despite winning all six of their games. They do have two wins over ranked teams, Wisconsin and Northwestern, but neither were ranked in the Top 15 and thus, neither were all that impressive.
The Cardinals have gone up one spot to No. 8 since being slotted at No. 9 in the preseason. However, in the long run, they are worse off than the Buckeyes.
Not only does UL not have a ranked opponent on its slate, but it also hasn't beaten a single ranked foe all year.
Also, while OSU will benefit from an appearance in the Big Ten Conference title game, likely against either Michigan State or Nebraska. Whichever team wins the Legends Division has a great chance at being ranked for the Big Ten title game.
Despite the potential for a quality Big Ten title matchup, the Buckeyes are on a sinking ship thanks to their schedule. The Cards are also on a sinking ship, but their vessel is taking on water much quicker.
In fact, to find a team with a schedule worse than UL's, you'd have to scroll all the way down to Houston at No. 56. The Cougars, the Cards' American Athletic Conference brethren, have a slightly weaker schedule that rates 135th.
Several small conference teams, including BCS hopefuls Fresno State and Northern Illinois, have stronger slates than UL and so do a number of FCS teams. North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Villanova and Eastern Washington are among the numerous FCS squads with tougher schedules than national title hopeful Louisville.
Which team would deserve a BCS title berth?
OSU is slightly better off at No. 87 in schedule rank. However, the lack of marquee matchups will haunt the Buckeyes later in the season, especially if multiple undefeated teams remain.
Without a chance to impress voters or computers, it will be impossible for the Buckeyes to pass up teams like Alabama, Oregon and the Clemson-Florida State winner. Even though they might be just as talented as any of their Top Five comrades, they won't have a chance to show it.
Even Baylor, which is No. 12 in the AP poll and 105th in Sagarin's schedule rank, is better off than OSU and UL. The Bears haven't faced tough competition yet, but they have three ranked opponents still looming on their schedule and the potential for a fourth in Texas.
Ohio State will have to hope for either Michigan, Nebraska or Michigan State to run the table from here out. Each has just one loss so far and can make major strides in the polls by winning out. A late win over a one-loss Michigan in the season finale or a one-loss Big Ten title game opponent is the best thing the Buckeyes can hope for, aside from the current contenders to lose.
Louisville, meanwhile, can hope for one thing and one thing only: for as many highly-rated teams to lose as many games as possible.
There are still a million-and-a-half scenarios that could play out from now until December, but right now, the outlook is cloudy in Columbus and Louisville.
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