If not for Ohio State University being on NCAA probation, the national championship game of college football might very well be the Buckeyes against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both finished their regular seasons with perfect 12-0 records. The Irish are ranked number one in the BCS polls and have clinched a spot in the title game. The Buckeyes are ineligible for post season play and ended their season Saturday with a 26-21 victory over the arch rival Michigan Wolverines.
If Ohio State were eligible, they would have had to play Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game for a chance to play Notre Dame. A win in that game would have made the Buckeyes and Irish the lone undefeated teams in major college football.
It would have been hard for many outside of the Southeastern Conference to accept, but Ohio State and Notre Dame would have met for the championship. They may not have played as tough a schedule as Alabama, Georgia and Florida, but finished with no losses while each of these SEC powers have one. The SEC’s string of BCS champions, which began in 2006, would have come to an end.
An Ohio State versus Notre Dame battle for the national championship would have been popular almost everywhere outside of Dixie. Many people would have been happy to finally see someone other than the SEC win it all. The media would have been happy having two storied programs in the Buckeyes and Irish face one another. The Big Ten would have been happy to see Ohio State face anyone outside of the SEC in a championship game.
As for the matchup itself, the Buckeyes and Irish may have given us a very good game. Though neither team is a powerhouse, they know how to win. Both play pretty good defense and can run the ball. With a month to prepare for one another, points would have been hard to come by. The game would have probably been decided by turnovers and a couple of big plays.
Unfortunately for Ohio State, we will never find out if they can beat Notre Dame. The Buckeyes season is over. The sigh of relief that echoes across the south is from the SEC as their championship game between Alabama and Georgia still has BCS ramifications. The winner will play the Irish for the title.
Notre Dame has cleared every hurdle placed in front of them and is now one win away from their first national championship since 1988. Despite being ranked number one, the Irish will be an underdog going into the championship game. This is fine with them as they were not even ranked when the season started.
At the beginning of the 2012 season, the question was asked, ‘Will the SEC’s string of national championships come to an end?’ It was widely assumed that a team from the conference would finish with one of the two best records in college football.
No one saw Ohio State and Notre Dame finishing their seasons undefeated, but they did.
If not for the Buckeyes being on probation, Ohio State and Notre Dame would have ended the SEC’s dominance and played for the national championship.