For Ohio State, undefeated football season might not be enough

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 6, 2013 - 6:58 AM

Ohio State carries a 12-0 record and 24-game winning streak into the Big Ten title game. Yet the Buckeyes’ flaws could derail their BCS title chances.

hide

Quarterback Braxton Miller leads an Ohio State offense that averages 48.5 points per game, which ranks third among major college teams.

Photo: Tony Ding • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

The trip to Ann Arbor was bumpy. The bus ride back to Columbus turned unforgettable.

Ohio State escaped Michigan with a 42-41 victory last Saturday, only after stopping a last-minute two-point conversion attempt. Riding home relieved, the Buckeyes knew they still needed an opening to reach the BCS Championship Game.

Then it came.

With the Buckeyes nearing campus, the televisions in their buses showed Alabama kicker Adam Griffith lining up his 57-yard field goal attempt. Like the rest of the country, Ohio State watched in disbelief as Auburn’s Chris Davis returned that too-short kick 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

“It was absolutely nuts for 15 minutes,” Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said.

The next day, while heated arguments raged over Ohio State’s worthiness for a BCS title berth, Meyer said his team’s focus was on one thing only — beating Michigan State in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game.

“The bottom line is Ohio State’s not in any conversation unless we can figure out how to move the ball against the number one defense in America,” Meyer said.

The debate has raged for weeks. No. 2 Ohio State might be 24-0 in two years under Meyer, including 12-0 this season. But with the Big Ten’s national respect level sagging, many have suggested an undefeated champ from that conference is less deserving of a BCS title game berth than a one-loss Southeastern Conference champion.

The SEC has produced the past seven BCS champions. Third-ranked Auburn will meet No. 5 Missouri on Saturday night in the SEC title game.

“It would be, quite frankly, un-American for us not to get a chance to go to Pasadena [for the BCS title game] if we’re able to beat Missouri, and I believe the same about Missouri,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs told ESPN.

Back at full strength

The Buckeyes feature the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense, at 48.5 points per game. Quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde were nearly unstoppable over the second half of the season.

Miller, whose Heisman Trophy hopes plunged when he missed two nonconference games because of a knee injury, quickly regained his footing and just received his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award.

“He’s made a lot of great plays with his legs, and I think he’s improved a lot with his arm,” Buckeyes offensive tackle Jack Mewhort said.

The 6-foot, 242-pound Hyde has made even bigger strides. Suspended from the season’s first three games because of a disciplinary issue, the senior averaged 166 rushing yards over the final seven games.

“He’s really hard to bring down,” Meyer said. “He’s playing as good as any tailback, I’ve ever watched.”

The Buckeyes’ skeptics point to their nonconference schedule, filled with easy victories over Buffalo, San Diego State, California and Florida A&M. Ohio State’s best win came next — 31-24 over Wisconsin — but the value of that victory decreased Saturday when Penn State upset the Badgers.

  • related content

  • Chart: Ohio State at a glance

    Wednesday December 4, 2013

    OHIO STATE AT A GLANCERecord: 12-0, 8-0 Big TenRanking: No. 2 BCS standings and in the Associated Press poll.Key players:...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close