Wow, the Oregon Ducks took two big blows in their loss to the Stanford Cardinals. The Ducks have all but fallen out of contention for a National Championship this season. Also, Ducks star quarterback Marcus Mariota will most likely be eliminated from contention for the Heisman Trophy this season.
The loss by the Ducks paired with the victory by the Baylor Bears over the Oklahoma Sooners changed the landscape of college football quickly on one Thursday night. How did all of this high-stake drama effect the Big Ten, and what will the aftermath be?
The Ohio State Buckeyes and coach Urban Meyer knew if they were to have an opportunity to play for a National Championship this season, they would need some cards to fall in their favor. The first card fell as the Buckeyes, who are working on a two-year winning streak, watched the Ducks lose for the first time this season. The Buckeyes will likely leapfrog the Ducks in the polls narrowing the discussion for title contending teams to three. Those three being the undefeated Buckeyes, Florida State Seminoles and reigning National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Seminoles, whose last game saw them defeat Wake Forest in decisive fashion, now have the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy in Jameis Winston at quarterback. The Seminoles have three remaining games, but will be favored in all of them, one being an ACC championship game.
The Crimson Tide bear the LSU Tigers this week. Coach Nick Saban’s squad now needs to traverse the rest of their SEC schedule and defeat what looks like a Missouri Tiger team in the SEC Championship game to earn a shot at another National Title.
The Buckeyes would really like to see one of these two teams, so would the rest of the Big Ten. If either Alabama or Florida State were to drop a game and open a door for the Buckeyes to play in a national title game, a lot of doors would be subsequently opened for other Big Ten games when it comes time for bowl selections.
Here is a scenario for Big Ten football fans to ponder. If Ohio State wins out and earns a shot in the National Title game, the Big Ten Champion would not play in the Rose Bowl this season, as they Buckeyes would be in the National Title game. In their place would be the Big Ten runner up. At this point it could be either the Michigan State Spartans or Nebraska Cornhuskers depending on which of the two teams wins in their head to head matchup next week; the victor will most likely win the Legends division of the Big Ten and square off against the Buckeyes in Indianapolis for the National Championship game. Unfortunately for the Wisconsin Badgers, who may be the second-best team in the conference, they would be eliminated as they are on the Leaders division along with the Buckeyes.
An ideal situation for commissioner Jim Delaney might be seeing the Buckeyes contend for a national championship. The Huskers traveling to Pasadena to represent the Big Ten for the first time and Wisconsin and Michigan State earning very highly sought after bowl bids. The Badgers and Spartans may be have the teams to get big bowl wins, but the Huskers and Buckeyes could help to draw more attention for the conference in their respective bowls.