Does Baylor or Stanford deserve to jump Ohio State?
Taking down Oklahoma and Oregon, respectively, is a serious resume booster for any team—but is it enough to jump No. 4 Ohio State in the BCS Standings?
Many believe the Buckeyes play one of the most tender schedules in the country and aren't deserving of a shot at the title game, although everyone forgets had they been eligible, they would have been in over Alabama last season.
They're much better this year, by the way. But that's beside the point—last year doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that they're 21-0 under Urban Meyer. And it's true, they haven't faced a legitimate opponent (other than Wisconsin, which has proved to be better than once thought) and probably won't until the Big Ten title game.
So I'll start with Ohio State's new best friend, Stanford. The Cardinal held No. 3 (for now) Oregon to zero points heading into the fourth quarter, eliminating the zone run and keeping Marcus Mariota off the field. They dominated from start to finish vs. a team that was once thought to be good enough to challenge the Crimson Tide in January. So do they deserve to jump Ohio State in the standings on Sunday?
No, they don't. Simply put, we can't forget that this is still the same team that struggled against Army, nearly blew a huge second-half lead to Arizona State at home, barely slipped by Washington and lost (!!!) to Utah.
Don't get me wrong—I love the way David Shaw runs his program. I love the "phone booth" formation with nine offensive linemen and the wear-you-down ground game. It's great and it works to his advantage when playing less-physical teams like Oregon. But, for now at least, that loss to Utah is far too glaring to forget about.
Baylor, on the other hand, has something working to its favor here. Somehow, someway it rose all the way to the No. 6 spot in the BCS Standings without beating anyone. And like, I mean the Bears seriously pounded every opponent by close to 50 points a game.
Before Oklahoma, teams they played on their schedule had combined for a 28-31 record. That includes Wofford, Louisiana at Monroe, Iowa State and Kansas. Baylor struggled in a 10-point win at Kansas State, and it was a solid win. But when Ohio State had trouble with Northwestern and Iowa, it was the end of the world for its national title chances.
And yes, the Sooners came into last night's game ranked No. 10, but c'mon. Art Briles exploited them for what they really are—an average football team with a very poor offensive game plan.
Still, the Bears have a ton of quality football left. They have Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas to play, and you better believe they'll be fighting for a shot at the title game if they finish unscathed.
There's no Big 12 Championship Game, but Baylor will definitely jump Ohio State at some point (I don't think it's this week, but wouldn't be surprised if it happened after beating Tech or OK-State) if it keeps winning. That's just how the BCS works.
Let's not completely discount Ohio State's remaining schedule, though. Yes, Illinois is terrible, Indiana is Indiana and Michigan is a disappointment (again), but dear God the Buckeyes need to watch out for Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.
Winners of five straight, the Spartans are sitting pretty at No. 17 in the nation. With a winnable three final games, it's likely they'll be a Top-10 team by season's end. Their defense is for real—a legitimate Top-5 unit—and is something the Buckeyes have not seen all season long.
Either way, Ohio State needs some help from either Alabama or Florida State, and most likely a give-me loss from Baylor. The Buckeyes are a very good football team, but may not have the chance to showcase what they can really do until next year's College Football Playoffs.
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