The Ohio State Buckeyes are the Rodney Dangerfield of the college football landscape - they get no respect.
They own the longest winning streak in the country at 18 games, and have yet to lose a game under head coach Urban Meyer. Despite this, it appears OSU is on the outside looking in when it comes to contenders for a spot in the BCS National Championship.
They sit fourth in the Associated Press poll behind Alabama, Oregon and Clemson. A win this weekend by Florida State would knock Clemson from the Top 3, but in all likelihood result in the Seminoles taking their position. When the first BCS rankings are released on Oct. 20, Ohio State could slide even further due to their poor strength of schedule.
In the NCAA, your opponents are your worst enemies until the final whistle blows. At that point get your pom poms out and start cheering. Every win they accrue boosts your standing, and every loss they suffer makes your result less impressive. Last week Ohio State was on their bye, and still came away as losers when both Northwestern and Michigan lost. They haven't even played Michigan yet, but they needed that game to a battle of two top ranked teams to give them a chance and that'll no longer be the case.
The current conference rankings in some order have the SEC, Pac 12, ACC and Big 12 in some order. The BIG 10's inability to crack that quartet is the main reason for the Buckeyes dilemma. Any perfect teams from those conferences will get an invite to the big game before a BIG 10 champion, even if they don't have a loss.
OSU didn't schedule any tough out of conference opponents and their BIG 10 slate doesn't offer any substance. Even wins over Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan mean little if none of those teams finish the season ranked.
Ohio State has the sixth best offence in the country and the 24th ranked defence. But without some help from their competitors they'll continue to be saddled alongside Louisville as the teams who could've been great, had they played some real competition. And that's the shame, with Urban Meyer on the sidelines coaching top end talent in QB Braxton Miller, RB Carlos Hyde, LB Ryan Shazier and CB Bradley Roby the Buckeyes might be the best team in the country but we may never get a chance to find out.
One interesting thing that could work in their favor is last years suspension from the post-season. Having not played in a bowl game last season, there is a building curiosity for what they may be capable of. Last year they likely would have faced Notre Dame in the National Championship had they been eligible. A second straight season with a '0' in the loss column may sway some voters but the fact of the matter is, Ohio State not only needs some upsets to happen at the top of the rankings, but they need their fellow BIG 10 teams to step up and win some games.
Up next for the Buckeyes is Iowa at the Horseshoe - another match up that has OSU as three TD favourites.
Other notes from around the NCAA:
- Oregon beat Washington by three touchdowns cementing their spot as the Pac-12 elite, at least until their showdown with Stanford. The win over the Huskies makes it 10 straight years with a win against Washington.
- Utah got their programs first win over a Top 5 program when they upended Stanford. The star of the game was RB Bubba Poole who had 186 combined yards.
- Florida lost to LSU in what looked like a classic SEC matchup. One of the coolest stats of the season as we reach the midway point...The Gators have yet to give up a passing touchdown.
- UCLA and Cal both like to spread the ball around but their contest took sharing to a whole new level. Twenty-one different players recorded a reception in the Bruins' 37-10 win.
- Penn State and Michigan played the game of the season to this point needed four overtimes to settle things. The Nittany Lions' win was the first four-OT game for either program.
- Two streaks continued when Northern Illinois squeaked past Akron 27-20. The Huskies extended their NCAA best home winning streak to 23 games. As for the Zips, they lost their 30th straight on the road.
- Ole Miss and Texas A & M combined for 1,049 yards in their see-saw affair which included 41 points in the fourth quarter alone. Johnny Manziel suffered a knee injury, and was "held" to 470 total yards and two touchdowns.