When Ohio State finished off an enthralling 42-41 game over Michigan on Saturday afternoon there were many people clamoring for the 12-0 Buckeyes to finish off a perfect 13-0 regular season when they face Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship Game next Saturday. Many of these people feel that with two straight wins over their rivals from Michigan they will be near locks to compete in the BCS National Championship Game against either Alabama or Florida State.
But while there will be many people pointing to the fact that Ohio State is now a perfect 24-0 under Urban Meyer in 2012 and 2013 as reason to push them into the BCS National Championship Game, it is clear they are not ready for this grand stage. This is not a knock on what they have accomplished but simply an ode to the fact that on neither their offensive nor defensive corps will be able to match up against the top two teams in the nation, and their resume certainly cannot either.
On offense Ohio State is entirely too reliant on running the football, which was put onto perfect display on Saturday afternoon. During the game against Michigan they had almost no presence throwing the football as quarterback Braxton Miller completed only 6-of-15 passes for 133 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Miller was way off the mark when attempting to throw to wide receivers which forced the Buckeyes to rely entirely on their rushing game that did rush for 393 passing yards. When going up against Alabama and Florida State teams that rank No. 1 and 2 in the nation in points allowed deviation will be necessary on offense, and Ohio State simply cannot offer any.
Meanwhile, their defensive backs were also embarrassed against Michigan, letting up 451 passing yards and four touchdowns to a quarterback in Devin Gardner that has been erratic at best during his career. Multiple times the Buckeye defenders were beaten in the air by bigger and more physical wide receivers, and other times they were simply beaten in terms of speed and not having the awareness to pick up routes. This has been a recurring theme throughout the 2013 season for Ohio State and leaves one with no reason to believe they could stop either AJ McCarron or Jameis Winston for an entire game.
In addition to having noticeable holes in terms of on-field play, Ohio State also lacks any true impact wins on their resume. They have beaten only two teams that were ranked in Northwestern and Wisconsin, but in each game the Buckeyes easily could have been on the losing end and neither team could reasonably be expected to match up against a top team in the SEC or ACC. While winning close games against good competition is not a bad thing, one would expect a national championship contender to take apart the Big 10 with ease, which Ohio State has not done.
So while Ohio State has certainly had a remarkable 2013 season and should be rewarded for that with an appearance in a big time bowl, they are not ready to appear in the national championship game. Neither their offense nor defense can match up with top teams, and forcing them to do so will only end up in complete embarrassment for everyone involved.