Following the release of the first BCS standings of the 2013 season, what some of us have been assuming for the past few weeks became a reality—the now No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes need some chaos and some help from a team from the Legends Division.
Only, unlike most people assume, that help from the Legends Division is best coming from Nebraska and not Michigan.
So, breathe easy OSU fans, you don't need to hope Michigan does good the rest of the year (and I know some of you wouldn't dream of doing that ever to begin with).
Yes, Michigan is ranked No. 22 and Nebraska No. 24 in the first BCS standings, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. The Huskers have more to offer the Buckeyes as the season progresses and here's why:
A one-loss Huskers team squaring off against an undefeated Buckeyes team in the Big Ten Championship (the only way these two teams could meet) would be a better BCS scenario for OSU than the alternative with Michigan.
Think about it, what help would it be to Ohio State's chances of a berth in the National Championship game if it ends up with back-to-back wins over Michigan to finish the regular season and the Big Ten Championship?
That would leave the Wolverines with three losses, likely free-falling in (or right out of) the BCS standings right when OSU could need a boost the most.
Currently, OSU suffers from a huge deficit in the BCS formula to No. 3 Oregon. Since the Ducks have three games left against currently ranked opponents, OSU needs the strongest possible opponent on its schedule at the end of the season to give itself a fighting chance.
A Wolverines squad losing a second straight game against Ohio State doesn't accomplish that goal—plain and simple.
Let's also not forget that while Nebraska has a loss to UCLA on its record, the Bruins' ranking in the BCS will only help matters when discussing the Huskers' strength of schedule and thus their overall BCS ranking.
Can Ohio State Overcome Deficit in BCS Rankings?
So, while some assume Michigan would be the team to best help OSU's BCS efforts, the reality is the hated rivals to the north won't do as much to help OSU as the folks from Lincoln could do by playing in the Big Ten championship game this December.
Unfortunately, all of this won't matter if the three teams currently in front of them in the BCS standings remain undefeated.
No matter how impressive OSU's win streak is or how big the challenges it overcomes in 2013, the release of the first BCS standings of the year puts the Buckeyes' predicament into clear focus.
Ohio State needs to not only take care of its own business, but it also needs a lot of help. The Big Ten version of that help could be for Nebraska, not Michigan, to keep on winning on the other side of the conference.
*Andy Coppens is the Big Ten Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.