Oct 5, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer (right) yells at an official during the fourth quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Ohio State won 40-30. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Struggles Have BCS Implications For Ohio State

Oct 5, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) throws a pass against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second quarter at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the last BCS rankings are released Sunday, and assuming Alabama and Oregon take care of business against inferior opponents, the Ohio State Buckeyes will be no higher than No. 3.

Even third is a stretch, as the winner of Clemson-Florida State in the Week 8 marquee matchup will almost assuredly have a more favorable profile than Ohio State.

After it was barred from the BCS Championship a season ago despite being the only undefeated Div. I team, Ohio State’s road to this year’s title game is only somewhat more easier.

The early slate of Big Ten Conference games Saturday did the Buckeyes no favors.

Urban Meyer’s team has two resume wins in the first half of its schedule, beating Big Ten rivals Wisconsin and Northwestern. While the Badgers could certainly bolster Ohio State’s BCS case, Northwestern is falling apart.

The Wildcats dropped their third straight Saturday, and this time not to a conference championship contender as it had against Ohio State and Wisconsin. The njury-ravaged Northwestern offense could mount nothing resembling a consistent attack against Minnesota en route to an eyesore of a 20-17 loss.

Obviously missing Kain Colter and Venric Mark has profound impact on Northwestern. The Wildcats’ system is predicated on perimeter speed, something it lacks with the two sidelined.

No matter the reason, Northwestern has slipped from Big Ten championship and will spend the back-half of its schedule simply fighting for bowl eligibility. That’s bad news for Ohio State, which needs every meaningful win it can offer the BCS computers and poll voters to compete with the Alabamas, Oregons, Clemsons and Florida States.

Other teams could very well be ahead of the Buckeyes in the BCS line this week, too. Missouri holding on against Florida and a UCLA defeat of Stanford would give both better resumes than Ohio State.

Playing a lackluster non-conference slate certainly didn’t help the Buckeyes, but the Big Ten schedule looked like it should have compensated. Struggles out of the league, like going 1-3 against the Pac-12, damaged the league’s already shaky reputation.

The Big Ten’s sole win over its counterparts from the West? Ohio State over Cal, which currently has the Pac’s worst record.

The Buckeyes won’t play Michigan State in the regular season, but the Spartans are in contention for the Big Ten Legends division. The Spartans beat lowly Purdue Saturday 14-0 in a game that shouldn’t inspire any confidence in the offense.

Purdue came into Saturday allowing an average of 37.8 points per game–No. 116 in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Michigan appeared to have peaked when it beat Notre Dame in Week 2. Since, the Buckeyes’ mortal enemy needed to stop perennial MAC cellar dweller Akron on an end-of-game, goal-line stand and rally against winless Connecticut.

The crack in Michigan’s armor was finally exposed to the fullest in last week’s overtime loss at Penn State–a Penn State coming off a three-touchdown loss at Indiana.

Ohio State needs Michigan to be in the Top 15 by Thanksgiving weekend, but the Wolverines frankly have looked like anything but.

People around the program recognize the situation. Columbus Dispatch columnist Rob Oller wrote that Meyer needs to consider starting a BCS campaign. And it’s only mid-October.

Oller’s correct, though. The Big Ten’s situation gets worse each week, and in turn, so does Ohio State’s.

Tags: Football Michigan Wolverines Northwestern Wildcats Ohio State Buckeyes

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