On Saturday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes welcome Penn State to the Horseshoe in Columbus, OH. If the Buckeyes want to continue their undefeated run to a National Championship game appearance, they’ll need a flashy blowout win over the Nittany Lions.
While the Buckeyes remain one of a handful of undefeated teams left in the FBS, nobody is paying them much attention in the National Championship picture because of their schedule. Through their first seven games, the Buckeyes have played opponents that have a combined record of 24-24 and have played two teams that were ranked at the time (Wisconsin and Northwestern).
While the Buckeyes have won all seven games, they haven’t exactly been flashy wins, and in a world where champions are chosen by computers that are looking at numbers, they need those flashy wins against opponents as poor as the Buckeyes are playing. While they did beat two ranked teams, both of those wins are now devalued, since neither Wisconsin and Northwestern are no longer ranked.
They say that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. For the Buckeyes, that saying could not ring more true. The offense has been able to consistently score more than 31 points per game, but the defense hasn’t been able to keep teams out of the end zone. Five of the seven teams that OSU has played has scored more than 20 points.
Scoring a lot of points looks good on the computer and is a definite plus for the Buckeyes, but when you allow your opponent to score as many points as they are, it greatly devalues those victories. The defense will have to step up tonight and stop the Penn State offense not only if they want to improve to 8-0, but win over the computers as well.
In 2014, the BCS will be abolished and a playoff system will finally be in place. For the Buckeyes, that will be their best chance to get into the National Championship game. At the current state of their schedule and season, the computers just won’t be impressed enough. They can change that, however, with flashy blowout wins and that can start tonight against Penn State.