If we're being perfectly honest with ourselves, Alabama is probably going to beat Notre Dame in the BCS national championship. Badly.
Yes, I'm fully aware that neither team has clinched its trip to Miami, but it seems like the most likely scenario by far. When that happens, the Ohio State Buckeyes, assuming they beat Michigan, will be left as the only undefeated team in the nation.
The BCS national championship is out of the question due to NCAA sanctions. But the AP title? Fair game. That just comes down to the voters. If the Associated Press thinks Ohio State is the best team in the nation at the end of the season, they have every right to vote them as No. 1.
I don't personally think Ohio State is the best team in the country (that distinction belongs to the evil empire in Tuscaloosa), but I think if everything holds up they deserve a share of the title. Let me explain.
We'll begin by looking at their résumé. The Buckeyes are one of the few teams to have elite units on both sides of the ball. Their offense has averaged 38.2 points per game to go along with the 23 points per game the defense gives up.
While the Buckeyes didn't go through a brutal SEC slate unscathed (which is apparently a prerequisite for the title nowadays), the Big Ten isn't exactly a cakewalk. Michigan State, Nebraska and Michigan are all currently ranked, and that doesn't include perennial powers and Buckeye-victims Penn State and Wisconsin.
Braxton Miller is a legitimate Heisman candidate. While the award looks like it belongs to Johnny Manziel, Miller will almost certainly make the trip to New York. He will be among the favorites to unseat Manziel next year.
All of those things are well and good, but don't exactly mean much in our SEC-centric world. At the end of the day most people will probably just blindly vote for Alabama if they win the BCS title, but I would like to point out the hypocrisy involved in that.
While we've seen this several times in the past, I'll use this year's example as our precedent. A very simple rule has been established among voters: no one-loss team, no matter what their résumé, can be ranked ahead of an undefeated team from one of the big four conference (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12).
It's a ridiculous rule in my eyes, especially if we're acknowledging the SEC's dominance, but it's an unwritten rule nonetheless. Even though the eye test told us that Alabama was far and away the best team in the country, they had to fall down to No. 4 because there were three undefeated teams from major conferences (Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame [even though they technically don't belong to a conference]).
Well now—assuming Alabama wins—there will be no undefeated major conference teams. Except for Ohio State. Why then, would this previously established rule not count for the Buckeyes?
Remember, Ohio State is not playing with a competitive advantage. If anything, they are at a disadvantage considering they have a new coach and NCAA sanctions. Yet they are in line to be the only major college football team to go undefeated.
If the AP poll's sole duty is to rank the teams based on their resumés, and Ohio State is the only team with one that is flawless, then why don't they deserve to be ranked No. 1?
I imagine none of this will matter. College football is a complete anachronism in how it decides its champion and how it operates as a whole. Traditionalist voters aren't going to sniff the Buckeyes because of those pesky sanctions.
Hopefully, the few who do realize that by the unwritten rules of the rankings system Ohio State deserves to be No. 1. At the very least, they deserve your consideration.