Even when No. 4 Ohio State blows out its opponents, the Buckeyes still lose ground in the rankings, and in turn, the race for the 2013 national title.
Ohio State is coming off back-to-back routs of Penn State and Purdue, with an average margin of victory of 52.5 points. But following each win, the gap between the Buckeyes and the top three teams—Alabama, Florida State and Oregon—has only grown.
Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer writes that over the last two weeks, the Buckeyes have taken a step back in the coaches poll, which makes up one-third of the BCS rankings:
With dominating wins over Penn State and the Boilermakers, Ohio State has seemed to make more of a case to maybe be thought of with the top group of Alabama, Oregon and Florida State. Instead, the Buckeyes are backing up toward No. 5 Baylor.
That step back was reflected Sunday night when the the latest BCS standings were released. Ohio State is still ranked fourth, but the Buckeyes are trailing the No. 3 spot (held by Oregon) by a margin of .0715, as opposed to last week's difference of .0371:
Gap between OSU and No. 3 in BCS nearly doubled this week— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 4, 2013
On the flip side, Baylor remains nearly a tenth of a point behind Ohio State—which is a significant margin—but the Bears have the kind of schedule that could put some heat on the Buckeyes.
Baylor will face three ranked opponents in consecutive weeks. No. 10 Oklahoma visits Waco, Texas this Thursday, No. 15 Texas Tech comes visiting the following Saturday and then the Bears travel to Stillwater, Okla. for a matchup with No. 18 Oklahoma State.
Ohio State, however, doesn't have a ranked team remaining on its schedule, and only one of the teams it beat already—No. 24 Wisconsin—cracked the latest BCS rankings. That weak schedule is acting like a weight around the neck of the Buckeyes as they try to climb the polls.
Michigan would likely crawl back into the rankings if it wins out, but that seems unlikely after the Wolverines' lethargic performance against Michigan State last Saturday.
If the Buckeyes do end up playing for it all this January, it would only be the result of upsets to at least two of the teams ranked ahead of them. Ohio State will also have to keep its foot on the gas and blow teams out to keep Baylor at bay.
The good news for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, though, is that November usually produces a number of upsets:
Just a reminder this time last year Bama, Oregon, KState and ND were all undefeated, and ND was the only one people thought would lose.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 4, 2013
According to Michael Marot of the Associated Press, Meyer just wants his Buckeyes to focus on the next opponent, not their standing in the polls.
"I have to make sure that's not something we discuss," Meyer said. "The goal of this team is to come back faster and stronger than when we went into the bye week."
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.