Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ohio State Plays Dangerous Game Today

The worst thing that my Ohio State Buckeyes could do is look past this afternoon's game against Kent State's Golden Flashes. That would prove fatal to the dim but brightening chances the team now has of actually competing in the BCS National Championship game.

But it could be easy to look past Kent. After facing the Flashes, 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the Mid-American Conference, the Buckeyes have a challenging remaining Big Ten schedule to address, with a home date against improving Michigan State, a road game against the dangerous Penn State, two home dates (Wisconsin and Illinois, currently rankes 19 and 18, nationally), and then the annual trip to play the school up north in Ann Arbor.

Kent hasn't been very impressive so far. That doesn't bode well for the team from northeast Ohio. As points out:
The Buckeyes have been winning their games by an average of 26.5 points, while the Golden Flashes are 0-8 all-time against the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes should win. But after a second consecutive week of David and Goliath upsets in college football--which helped Ohio State move to fourth in the national rankings, Coach Jim Tressel will no doubt have alerted his players as to how dangerous this game is. To turn that should win into an actual W, every Buckeye will have to show up tomorrow. In the middle of a season holding so much promise, going through the motions just won't do.

Go, Buckeyes!

For more, go here.

UPDATE: Obviously, Coach Tressel wasn't about to let his team look ahead to next week. The last five games of Ohio State's regular season will be an absolute bevy of landmines, as shown above.

All of which raises an interesting question. Sometime last week, I heard Lou Holtz predict that there would be no undefeated teams among the BCS-eligible schools this season. Given the parity that exists these days, as evidenced by the bunch of upsets we've already seen this season, he may be right.

But what happens if a team loses later in the season? Conventional wisdom has said that losing later, when teams have fewer chances to redeem themselves with wins and watch other teams that are ranked higher than them lose, was more deadly than losing earlier. This year, that seems all the more the case.

In spite of the derision it cost them to lose first to Appalachian State and then to Oregon, at home for their first two games, those two losses may hurt Michigan less at the end of the season than two stumbles by say, LSU, in the next few weeks. Even though LSU will be playing tough SEC opponents and Michigan's losses are to a lower-divisioned team and a Pac 10 also-ran, respectively. The timing of losses is important in the two major polls.

This has implications for my Buckeyes, too. Let's say they lose one of the next five games on their schedule. Although right now, they appear poised to be in one of the top bowl games, maybe even the national championship game, that one loss could take them out of a BCS-berth. (Even in writing that, I'm reminded of how, in August, resigned I was to this being a successful, but a rebuilding, year, I'm stunned.)

Now more than ever, we need a playoff system in big-time collegiate football!

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