If you are a Buckeye fan, don’t flip to ESPN at any point this week.
OK, there are two notable exceptions to this rule. You can totally turn on the Louisville/Cincy game on Thursday or the MAC championship on Friday. In fact, I beg of you to not miss the MAC Championship as missing even one moment of MACtion is a tragedy. Do something else at halftime, though. It also might not hurt to avoid Twitter, or mute some of “those people” that exist solely to get a rise out of Buckeye Nation. They are going to try to ruin your week and anger you. One point remains, however, that is clear.
If Ohio State beats Michigan State, they are in the BCS National Championship Game. Period.
I don’t want to hear about strength of schedule and Auburn, so stop. If OSU beats an MSU team that is now as highly ranked as they are, that is all it takes. Ohio State was ranked higher in almost every computer ranking this week than last. That’s notable as Wisky lost and Michigan was not necessarily an impressive win. Why the boost? We can thank Iowa for that. Their win over the Huskers bumped them up in these insanely complicated computer rankings and gave OSU another quality win. We can also thank South Carolina. Bumping off Clemson dinged FSU’s SOS.
OSU’s computer rankings, as used in the BCS equation, are below:
Sagarin – 3
Colley – 2
Anderson-Hester – 2
Billingsly – 2
Massey – 1
Wolfe – 2
In case you are wondering, Sagarin’s #2 team is Northern Illinois. Sagarin actually has Auburn at 6. Only one computer has Auburn ranked higher than OSU, and that is Colley, where FSU is ranked 4th.
It is highly likely that OSU jumps FSU in some of these computer polls, which would assist their average. FSU’s SOS dropped below The Buckeyes in many of these polls. That discrepancy would grow larger with a win over MSU compared to a win over Duke. That would also help OSU as, in the end, the average is all that matters for 1/3 of these rankings. OSU could have an outlying 3, or even 4, and still average a strong 2, or even a high 1 in the 1.75 range or so. The other 2/3 of the formula, Harris and the Coaches poll, will not bump OSU down if they win. In fact, I’d wager that OSU’s lead on Auburn will actually increase in the Coaches poll as the final poll is public and many involved would not want their rankings to be scrutinized by the world. To spell it out, only SEC coaches will vote Auburn ahead of OSU, should both win, and that won’t be enough to propel them into the 2 slot. OSU is fine in the Harris Poll, and they have fared the best there for most of the season.
In short, much drama is being made where little drama exists.
Of course, they have to win and MSU will be no pushover. That’s where the media also comes into play. Everyone and their dog has started picking Sparty. In this scenario, OSU still ends up in the Orange Bowl, likely against Clemson, but let’s not think about that too much.
So fret not, Buckeye Nation, all is well if OSU wins. Concentrate your stress and the knot in your stomach on Sparty for now.