The Ohio State Buckeyes still find themselves ranked No. 3 and on the outside looking in this week, but they’re inching closer to the top two teams. Alabama (.9881) is still firmly in control of the top spot, but Florida State (.9697) could now be within striking distance for Ohio State (.9200), if a matrix of fortunate events comes together over the next two weeks.
Most would point out obviously that the Buckeyes need some help from above, whether from the Crimson Tide, Seminoles or a higher power. But what if I told you that even if both of the top two win out, Ohio State could still have a chance at jumping FSU with the help of three lower-ranked teams?
Here’s how the fortuitous chain of events must play out. First, No. 10 South Carolina needs to beat No. 6 Clemson handily in their season finale next weekend. Right now, FSU’s 51-14 win at Clemson is the foundation of its BCS resume, considering the rest of the schedule has been pretty soft. If the Gamecocks take down the Tigers, it would diminish that win and the Seminoles’ overall resume.
Fast forward one week to No. 11 Michigan State’s regular season finale against Minnesota. Ohio State would like nothing more than to see the Spartans win big and move into the top 10 heading into the Big Ten title game. The Buckeyes would then have a shot at notching their first win over a top-10 opponent this season, which would provide a significant boost to their chances of leaping over FSU.
Our tale now takes us from the Midwest to the Arizona desert and the Pac 12 title game. The Buckeyes have a vested interest here as well, needing No. 12 Arizona State to take down No. 8 Stanford. Remember when the Sun Devils’ controversial 32-30 win over No. 15 Wisconsin? That and a 31-24 loss to Ohio State are the Badgers’ only blemishes, both of which were on the road.
If ASU becomes Pac-12 champs, Winconsin’s resume would gain strength, and so in turn would the Buckeyes’.
Even if everything falls into place, it’s unclear whether it would be enough to help Ohio State leapfrog Florida State. The Seminoles have games against 4-7 Florida and the winner of the ACC Coastal remaining. Only one of FSU’s potential ACC title game opponents, No. 24 Duke, is currently ranked in the BCS Standings, so it’s unlikely that the Noles can improve their resume much from here on.
OSU is closer to the top-two in the BCS Standings than it has been at any point this year. If the Buckeyes win out impressively and get a little help from below, they may not be the odd team out on bowl selection Sunday after all.