Offensive tackle Taylor Decker doesn't believe that Ohio State is an underdog to Oregon in the national championship game Monday.
In fact, Decker refuses to recognize that anything so outlandish is even possible.
"I know Vegas or ESPN or whatever has us as a seven- or nine-point underdog or something like that but we are not," Decker said, clearly agitated. "We are not an underdog. Ohio State is never going to be an underdog, and that is just how it is."
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have the Ducks as a 6½-point favorite, a spread driven up from an initial straight-up pick by bettors backing Oregon. Many TV pundits also like Oregon to grab the inaugural playoff crown.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes take it personally, privately and sometimes publicly seething while awaiting a chance to prove people wrong in a third consecutive game — the third of four games this season Ohio State will play as an underdog.
Wisconsin was favored over the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game. The Badgers did not cover the 3½-point spread, however, losing 59-0. Then, Alabama was an eight-point favorite pick to win the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day against the Buckeyes. Ohio State came out on top 42-35.
It's been a driving force all season for Ohio State: Somebody puts them down or praises an opponent and next thing you know, the Buckeyes are celebrating when they leave the field.
That was the case in their biggest win of the regular season, when they were 3½-point underdogs traveling to No. 8 Michigan State on Nov. 8, then beat the Spartans by 12 points.
"Everyone chose us to lose. We took that to heart. We went out there and played," said Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington. "It was a good thing to carry over throughout the rest of the season."
The Buckeyes, like Oregon a winner in 13 of 14 starts, have won a nation's best 12 games in a row since a dismal 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech in its second game.
They're 9-5 against the spread this year (compared with Oregon at 10-4 against the spread), and face two big elements swaying public perception toward the Ducks in the national championship game, gambling expert R.J. Bell of Pregame.com said.
Report: Snyder in Hall
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder reportedly was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The results will be announced Friday in Dallas. Snyder became eligible as an active coach when he turned 75 in October.
Snyder took over one of the worst programs in the history of major college football in 1989 and turned it into a national contender. He briefly retired in 2005, but returned three seasons later after the program had fallen on hard times.
Snyder is 187-94-1 at Kansas State.
•Iowa named C.J. Beathard its starting quarterback, replacing two-year starter Jake Rudock. Beathard, who will be a junior next season, was 52 of 92 passing this season with five TDs in relief of Rudock. Rudock, who will be a senior, threw for 2,436 yards and 16 TDs this season.
•Michigan hired D.J. Durkin as its new defensive coordinator, reuniting him with new coach Jim Harbaugh. Durkin was on Harbaugh's staff at Stanford from 2007-09.
•Illinois fired special teams coach Tim Salem, a former Gophers quarterback, and defensive line coach Greg Colby.