In the last year of the BCS as we currently know it, an undefeated Big Ten champion could miss out on playing in the national title game. Ohio State is at the mercy of what happens in a few other games and needs some help in order to be either no. 1 or 2 in the final BCS poll.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the scenarios they would need to play out aren’t that much of a stretch. The simplest one for Ohio State would be to win all their games, including a Big Ten championship, and have at least two of the three teams in front of them in the current AP Top 25 poll lose. There are several opportunities on all three teams’ remaining dockets for just that situation.
No. 1 Alabama has home games against Tennessee and LSU still on the schedule and should they win the SEC West, the SEC championship game as well. Possible opponents in that SEC title game could be Florida, Georgia, Missouri or South Carolina. It gets more favorable for the Buckeyes from here on out.
Oregon has road dates at Washington and Stanford plus home games against UCLA and Oregon State, and should they win the Pac-12 North, they will play a Pac-12 championship game, which could be a rematch with UCLA to try to remain unscathed in.
Clemson has a home game against Florida State and a road game at South Carolina to end the regular season. Of course, if the Tigers should win the ACC Atlantic division, they might have to play an ACC Championship game against Miami or Virginia Tech.
There are a myriad of other possibilities that could put the Buckeyes in or out. If all four of these teams should finish undefeated, it will be interesting to see how the numbers would play out. What might keep an undefeated Ohio State out of the BCS title game would be the strength of the Big Ten compared to the other conferences.
The only two other Big Ten teams that are currently ranked are Michigan and Northwestern at no. 18 and no. 19. The SEC has seven and four in the top-10. The Pac-12 features four and two in the top-five. The ACC also features four, but three of those four are ranked higher than Michigan and Northwestern.
If Alabama, Oregon and Clemson each run the table and the Big Ten continues to be perceived as soft, Ohio State might find themselves in the Rose Bowl and not the national championship game despite winning all their games.
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