Ohio State's clobbering of Florida A&M didn't change voters' perspective. The 56-0 win over Purdue last week didn't do anything. And a 9-0 record over mediocre competition hasn't convinced anybody that Ohio State is a legit national championship contender.
The Buckeyes needed help, and lots of it if they were going to climb up the national championship ladder.
Well, they got it with Stanford upsetting Oregon 26-20 in a game that really wasn't as close as the score indicates. The Ducks will go from being ranked third in the BCS to easily out of the top five and pretty much out of the crystal football conversation.
Enter Ohio State.
Urban Meyer's team will go from being fourth in the BCS to at least third. I mean, there's no way a one-loss Stanford team is going to jump an undefeated Ohio State, right? And ironically enough, that one loss came from Utah, the same program that Meyer coached before he became a household name and began winning prestigious hardware.
Funny how stuff like that just happens.
The win over Oregon was fantastic, but the loss to the Utes still plays in the back of everybody's mind. It would be shocking if the Cardinal leapfrog any of the remaining undefeated teams in the BCS. Maybe if Stanford had lost to UCLA, but Utah? Yeah, that's an ugly loss for a team looking to build a case against flawless competition.
Will Ohio State play for the national championship?
That now leaves only two teams in the way of Ohio State: Alabama and Florida State. Both are clearly the front-runners to play one another for all of the marbles and control their own destiny. However, with Oregon now out of the way, it cracks the door open for the Buckeyes.
Before Stanford shocked the college football world, that door was slammed shut, and the key had fallen in the crack of a hardwood floor. Nobody was giving Ohio State a chance with three powerhouse teams that had better resumes left on the board. Now, the key has been found, the door is unlocked and Ohio State can peek its head in.
Help is still needed. Ohio State can't make up much ground with Illinois, Indiana and Michigan on the schedule. But chances are looking a lot better for the Buckeyes than they did about 24 hours ago. Only two teams in the way is a lot better than three.
Alabama still has a tough road with LSU, Auburn and the SEC Championship Game. Florida State has an easier path, but matchups against Florida and possibly Miami in the ACC Championship Game are no cakewalks. Believe it or not, one of those giants could fall in the remaining weeks, and the team that everybody counted out will actually clinch a bid to the biggest game in town.
Of course, none of that would have been possible without Stanford taking care of business.
Ohio State, be sure to send a fruit basket to your friends out west.