Ohio State Vs. the SEC: A Closer Look at 0-9

Chip MinnichCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2008

A recent article caught my attention regarding how Ohio State should not be in this year's BCS Championship Game.  One of the key points that the article made was how Ohio State's loss to LSU last year in the BCS Championship Game dropped Ohio State's overall bowl record to 0-9 against teams in the SEC.

While nobody can dispute the historical fact that Ohio State is 0-9 against SEC opponents in bowl games, I believe a couple of things should be pointed out for the sake of balance.


1. The majority of the bowl losses to the SEC occurred under John Cooper's tenure as Ohio State's head coach.

If you read below, you will see which SEC team defeated Ohio State, in which bowl game and year, and what the score was.  While it is convenient for people around the country to bash Ohio State or Jim Tressel as ill-prepared to handle the mighty SEC, you can see Jim Tressel is only responsible for three of the nine losses.

Two of Coach Tressel's losses came in the BCS Championship Game.  As an Ohio State fan, I completely believe I would rather be losing in the BCS Championship Game than not be in the game at all.

Another thing: No matter how bad Ohio State was defeated the last two seasons, neither game was as bad as what Oklahoma suffered to USC (55-19) in 2005 (a 36-point differential, compared to Ohio State's 27-point loss to Florida or 14-point loss to LSU).

Last time I checked, Oklahoma had lost their last four BCS Bowl Games—yet I fail to see too many articles supporting a ban of Oklahoma from BCS consideration.

1978 Sugar Bowl: Alabama 35, Ohio State 6 - Woody Hayes

1990 Hall Of Fame Bowl: Auburn 31, Ohio State 14 - John Cooper

1993 Citrus Bowl: Georgia 21, Ohio State 14 - John Cooper

1995 Citrus Bowl: Alabama 24, Ohio State 14 - John Cooper

1996 Citrus Bowl: Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14 - John Cooper

2001 Outback Bowl: South Carolina 24, Ohio State 7 - John Cooper

2002 Outback Bowl: South Carolina 31, Ohio State 28 - Jim Tressel

2007 BCS Championship: Florida 41, Ohio State 14 - Jim Tressel

2008 BCS Championship: LSU 38, Ohio State 24 - Jim Tressel


2. Florida fans should get on their hands and knees and thank the gods for UCLA in 2006.

The reason why?  USC was ranked ahead of Florida and headed to play in Tempe against Ohio State until UCLA upset the Trojans.  Even Michigan, who Ohio State defeated that season, was ranked ahead of Florida prior to USC's loss to UCLA, but the coaches and media voted Florida ahead of Michigan to give the Gators their title shot.

What is my point, you ask?  The SEC superiority displayed by Florida over Ohio State in the 2007 BCS Championship Game would never have happened if not for some unlikely assistance from voters and a surprising USC choke job in their rivalry game.


3. Ohio State was not supposed to be playing for the title in 2007.

After losing so many key players (Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, Antonio Pittman), Ohio State was picked to finish third in the Big Ten behind Michigan and Wisconsin.

By comparison, LSU was routinely picked to play for the BCS Championship Game last season—like Ohio State, they were truly fortunate that both West Virginia and Missouri lost their last game of the regular season, allowing them to move up to play for the title.


4. How "neutral" are these bowl sites for Ohio State?

Even more fortunate for LSU—how about playing for the BCS Championship Game in your home state?  How about the last time an SEC team even played north of the Mason-Dixon line was in 1991?

I will give credit to Tennessee for scheduling a home and home with Ohio State for 2018 and 2019, but even then, those games are in September.  Let's see how dominant a SEC team is in late November in Ohio Stadium, when it is raining or snowing.


I will concede that right now, from top to bottom, the SEC is the toughest conference in college football.  That being said, some of the arguments I have made regarding Ohio State when compared to the SEC should also be considered when people start arguing about keeping Ohio State out of the BCS Championship Game.

Rest assured, if Ohio State loses to USC on September 13, SEC fans will have nothing to worry about as it relates to another BCS Championship Game appearance by Ohio State.