Phil Miller's Big Ten Football Insider: Postseason ban stops Ohio State title talk

  • Updated: November 15, 2012 - 9:19 PM

Ohio State would be part of the national championship discussion, but its postseason ban squelched that dream.

The decision wasn't Urban Meyer's, but the Buckeyes coach is living with the repercussions. In fact, he's doing such a great job of pulling Ohio State out of the ditch it crashed into last year, Meyer is making the school's choice not to sit out a bowl game more painful by the week.

Had the Buckeyes self-imposed that punishment last fall, in the wake of the memorabilia-for-tattoos mess that cost Jim Tressel his job, and passed up what turned out to be a depressing 24-17 Gator Bowl loss to Florida, perhaps the NCAA would have allowed Meyer to take this year's team to the postseason. Imagine how the landscape might look now.

Even Meyer, Mr. Next-Game's-My-Only-Focus, has. "You know, I could lie to you and say that I don't. Every once in a while -- but not as much as I thought -- I'll hear it and read it ... and I'll think for a second," Meyer admitted Monday during his weekly news conference. "But then I go back to knowing exactly who we [are]."

Who are they? One of only four unbeaten squads in Division I, the sixth-ranked team in the nation at 10-0, a would-be heavy favorite to play in the Rose Bowl and perhaps the national championship game.

On the other hand? "We're pretty fortunate where we are," Meyer said, and Ohio State's narrow escapes against Cal, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue prove his point. The Big Ten's national profile this year is one of mediocrity, so the Buckeyes would be fighting a strength-of-schedule debate this month, although closing with Wisconsin this weekend and Michigan the next gives them an opportunity to prove themselves.

But it's all just a painful daydream in Columbus, because athletic director Gene Smith gambled the NCAA would not impose a penalty as serious as a postseason ban.

That doesn't mean there is nothing for Ohio State to play for. After all, a successful Buckeyes season is one in which they beat Michigan, and they'll be gunning for payback after last year's 40-34 loss. And an undefeated season would be only the sixth in Ohio State history.

Then there's the Associated Press poll, which has bestowed its own national championship since 1934. The Buckeyes might not be eligible for the BCS championship, but the 60 writers who vote in the AP poll (including myself) are under no such restriction.

So could Meyer win his third national title this year? "At some point, that might be worth a discussion," Meyer said warily on the Big Ten coaches conference call. "Certainly not now."

The Buckeyes would be an intriguing title candidate if they were bowl-eligible, But according to an informal survey of AP voters conducted by the Toledo Blade, a significant portion of the electorate (once again, including myself) would not vote for the Buckeyes as champion, even if they are the lone remaining unbeaten team.

The reason is simple: Without a significant January hurdle to clear, as every other team will face in a bowl game, they cannot be judged to be the best.

It's unlikely to matter, given that three undefeated teams remain, and three SEC teams have only one loss. The BCS Championship Game will undoubtedly feature a strong matchup, and its winner will be a deserving champion.

It's just a shame that we'll never know if the Buckeyes are, too.

  • related content

  • Phil Miller's Big Ten power poll

    Thursday November 15, 2012

    1. Ohio State (10-0; at Wisconsin)

  • Phil Miller's Big Ten short takes

    Thursday November 15, 2012

    • As if this season wasn't going badly enough for Kirk Ferentz, now there's a sex-harassment scandal emerging at Iowa. The Hawkeyes coach had no role in the misconduct --...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 58 3rd Qtr 8:16
Denver 62
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 3rd Prd
Minnesota 2
NY Islanders 1 3rd Prd 16:49
Dallas 1
Anaheim 2 2nd Prd 4:09
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 2 1st Prd :15
Edmonton 0
San Jose 3 1st Prd 7:07
Vancouver 0
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 40 2nd Half 9:10
Clemson 33
Texas A&M 31 2nd Half 10:12
Florida 39
Kentucky 43 2nd Half 15:13
Georgia 39
West Virginia 44 2nd Half 13:45
Kansas 35
Auburn 47 2nd Half 7:52
Missouri 46
Michigan 46 2nd Half 5:26
Northwestern 45
Villanova 34 2nd Half 17:52
Creighton 33
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 55 2nd Half 7:12
Air Force 34
San Jose St 62 2nd Half 4:20
Boise State 81
Nevada 48 2nd Half 5:12
Colorado State 52
UNLV 36 2nd Half 9:17
San Diego State 54
Wyoming 56 2nd Half 2:00
Utah State 52
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question