Why Isn't Ohio State in the Top 2? Just Take a Look at Week 12 in the Big Ten

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor INovember 18, 2013

Nov 16, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde (34) crosses the goal line for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State has won 22 games in a row and is averaging nearly 50 points a game, but it still can't crack the top two in the BCS Standings. 

A resume that reads like the Buckeyes' does would normally be enough to be one of the teams set to make the BCS National Championship Game. 

So why can't OSU break into the top two spots? Week 12 of Big Ten action should be the only answer you need.

It was as brutal a slate as we've seen in the conference in a long time. Sure, Ohio State has to play Illinois and Wisconsin has to play Indiana, but on the same weekend?

Unfortunately, Week 12 has happened far too often this season in the Big Ten and the conference is in danger of becoming irrelevant down the stretch—just when Ohio State could use some help and some eyeballs tuning in too.

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05:  Kain Colter #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats is grabbed by Ryan Shazier #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 40-30. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Gett
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Last weekend, Michigan versus Northwestern was supposed to be a Top 25 matchup, but both teams have fallen on some hard times in conference play and the game was a brutal field-goal fest until overtime.

The only saving grace was a battle for the Legends Division title between Michigan State and Nebraska. But even that turned into a disastrous matchup, thanks to a comedy of errors by the Huskers.

For nearly the last month, the Big Ten has failed to produce a game that anyone, outside of the fanbases of the teams involved, cares about.

Wisconsin hasn't seen a ranked opponent since Northwestern came to town on October 12 and will see just its third ranked opponent this weekend when it travels to Minnesota to play for Paul Bunyan's Axe. 

That game is the marquee matchup of the weekend in the Big Ten, getting 3:30 p.m. ET billing on ABC. But, again, will anyone care outside of Big Ten country? 

Even worse is the case of Ohio State, who hasn't seen a ranked opponent since October 5. It most likely won't see another one until the Big Ten Championship game either.

It's not as if the "Border Battle" draws the national attention that say a Stanford-USC or Auburn-Georgia drew just this last weekend alone. 

The rest of next weekend's slate is just as brutal as Week 12, with Ohio State taking on Indiana and Michigan State versus Northwestern on the docket.

Who can't wait for the mighty Illinois-Purdue matchup, either? 

Overall the Big Ten hasn't had a Top 25 matchup since Michigan versus Michigan State two weeks ago. In fact, there have been just three games in the Big Ten that featured Top 25 teams going against each other. 

The Badgers versus Gophers will likely be the last time two Big Ten teams meet as Top 25 opponents until the Big Ten title game. 

Nov 16, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (4) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter past Indiana Hoosiers defensive back Tim Bennett (24) at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Spo
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It's almost as if you can see Ohio State's computer rankings slipping right between the hands of a Nebraska running back. 

Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan all having down seasons really doesn't help the cause either. All three are historical names in college football, and all three of them being at or near the top of the conference only helps the reputation of the league. 

Only Nebraska has been able to really stay in the picture for the better part of conference play, but it blew its chances by fumbling away the Michigan State game in Week 12. 

Last weekend was so bad that three of five games were complete blowouts nearly from the word go. Those three games ended like this: 51-3, 60-35 and 45-21. 

Just how overmatched is the rest of the Big Ten versus the Badgers, Buckeyes and Spartans?

The Badgers lead the Big Ten in margin of victory during conference play, winning by an average of 30.2 points a game. Ohio State averages 26 points more than its opponents in conference play and Michigan State beats opponents by an average of 19.2 points a game.

When Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin are winning games by nearly three touchdowns or more on average, that's an issue—an issue for the rest of the conference to fix.

When you, as the Big Ten, are losing the perception battle, you can't afford to not put up competitive games. 

The Big Ten has been pretty devoid of close matchups and intrigue almost all season. Northwestern, sitting at 0-6 in conference play, has lost five of its six games by 10 points or fewer. The rest of the league has managed just six games that ended at 10 points or less.

What do blowout wins on a nearly weekly basis do for the top of the conference? It sure doesn't build up the resume. 

As the BCS Rankings come out on Sunday night and the Buckeyes find themselves on the outside looking in again, look no further than the rest of the Big Ten for the reason why—it's all their fault.


*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.


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