Nov 7, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Jeff Trojan (18) gathers the onside kick by the Oregon Ducks during the fourth quarter at Stanford Stadium. The Stanford Cardinal defeated the Oregon Ducks 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Would A One-Loss Stanford Cardinal Leapfrog Undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes?


Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Evan Spencer is supposed to be confident in his football team.

While members of the media may appreciate the candor, if Spencer were to have come out on Monday and said that his team didn’t belong in the same conversation as the Alabama Crimson Tide or the Florida State Seminoles, THAT would be real headline news. However, we love imagining Nick Saban and Jameis Winston as active volcanoes, needing just the slightest provocation to erupt, burying Columbus under ash and pumice like a modern-day Pompeii.

So, we take Spencer’s comments and run with them, knowing that should Alabama or Florida State matchup with Ohio State in a BCS Championship Game, those comments may provide some hypothetical added incentive.

Maybe it’s just me, but a national championship seems sufficient enough. Alas.

Evan Spencer may have gone slightly too far with the insinuation that Ohio State would “wipe the field” with FSU and Bama, but I think we can all agree that mentality–while normally reserved for conversations that don’t take place in front of dozens of tape recorders–is one that SHOULD pervade the locker room of every national title contender. Spencer is supposed to think like that, he’s just not supposed to say it to the media.

However, while Spencer is obligated to have confidence in Ohio State’s chances at a national title, I’m not, because they don’t.

I don’t know how to “wipe” a field. Do you use some sort of mopping device and what purpose would that actually serve? Do you just sweep it? Wouldn’t that just push around those rubber pellets (artificial turf) or dislodge a few random blades of grass (natural)?

Whatever the hell it means, when it comes to Ohio State, I haven’t seen anything that’s led me to believe they’d be doing any field-wiping with either Alabama or Florida State. And, I think you can make a very strong case that a one-loss Stanford Cardinal team would deserve a shot at a BCS title berth over the Ohio State Buckeyes, too.

As it currently stands, Ohio State occupies the No. 3 spot in the BCS standings. Stanford sits at No. 4. The computers all have Stanford ranked ahead of Ohio State, while the human polls favor the undefeated tagline of the Buckeyes.

However, Stanford has already played and beaten five ranked teams this year, and they’ll have opportunities to earn meaningful, nationally-televised wins at USC, home against Notre Dame and in the Pac-12 championship. Ohio State, on the other hand, has beaten two ranked opponents (Wisconsin and Northwestern) and plays a soft schedule leading into the Big Ten title game (likely against Michigan State).

With the USC Trojans on the cusp of breaking into the Top 25 and the Pac-12 South champ likely being ranked, Stanford will have the chance to garner wins over SEVEN ranked programs heading into bowl selection. Best case scenario for Ohio State gives them three wins over ranked teams.

There’s really no comparing the schedules that each of these two teams have played, and I would take a one-loss Stanford–given their dominant performances against a tough schedule–over Ohio State to play in a BCS title, in the event that either Florida State or Alabama lose.

That is without even factoring in the Baylor Bears, who are undefeated and sitting at No. 5 in the BCS, but have four opportunities to climb in the rankings against quality Big 12 opponents left.

Alabama and Florida State are the two leaders in the clubhouse, and should they both win out it’d be difficult to foresee anybody leapfrogging either program given how far ahead they are in the BCS standings. However, should one (or both) of those teams lose, and Ohio State, Stanford and Baylor win out, it will make for possibly the most contentious BCS argument ever in the system’s final year of relevance.

Personally, I’d have a hard time deciding who I’d take between a one-loss Stanford Cardinal team and an undefeated Baylor Bears, but I definitely have the Ohio State Buckeyes on the outside looking in.

Sorry, Evan Spencer. You might not even get a chance to back up those bold claims.

Whatever they actually mean.

Regardless, the final season of the BCS may be coming a year too late. College football might be getting their playoff in 2014, but I think it’s fairly obvious they could use it now.

Tags: Featured Ohio State Buckeyes Popular Stanford Cardinal

  • longtimeviking

    SEC Puke..,

    • Ryan Wooden

      Yep. Stanford over Ohio State. Major SEC bias.

  • nope

    What you fail to mention is that Stanford’s loss was to a very mediocre Utah team. A 4-5 Utah team who is winless in the PAC 12 except for a win against – you guessed it – Stanford. I don’t care who you beat, If you lose (especially against a clearly inferior opponent), you should be out of the title race as long as there are at least two undefeated teams left. The national championship is about finding the best team in the nation (not the team with the toughest schedule). Stanford wasn’t even the best team on the field when they played Utah. UTAH! Baylor and Ohio State should both be ahead of Stanford because they’ve passed every test so far and Stanford hasn’t. End of story.

    • Ryan Wooden

      This test happens to be graded on a large curve based upon who you’ve played and beaten, my friend. Computers already favor Stanford, and voters will have every opportunity to do the same given the fact that the Cardinal will play in three more high profile games. Whether or not YOU think it’s fair is besides the point, it’s the reality.

      • nope

        So, why didn’t Stanford jump Ohio State? Who they’ve played and beaten remains the same. They still beat FIVE ranked teams! Well, three that are still ranked… But still, based on your logic that kind of schedule should have propelled them past Baylor and OSU, right? Oh right… They lost to USC. I guess it’s not just about beating good teams but also not losing to mediocre teams. That was my point before. That to be able to claim to be a top team you need consistency. Every player/team has a bad day from time to time but what distinguishes the elite teams from the good is being able to overcome those poor performances and still win the game. And I would claim that most people would share this “opinion”, evident by the fact that Stanford trailed Baylor and OSU in the human polls before. The fact that Stanford was favored by the computers (and still has decent numbers despite a second lackluster loss) just shows one of the many reasons why the computers are being removed from the equation starting next year. And I never said anything about fairness, because it has nothing to do with fairness (I could talk about other obvious slights to OSU if I really wanted to bring fairness into it, but that’s an entirely different conversation). This is common sense. I’m just glad USC could expose Stanford and your argument for how weak both truly are.

  • Sal Shah

    lol yeah… you are making a material nondisclosure of the facts pertinent to the subject matter of this article… this writing is misleading and full of non sequiters

    • Ryan Wooden

      It’s non sequitur, and you may want to try to use it in context next time.

      • dunnetg

        Since we’re being pedantic and all, the phrase ‘leader in the clubhouse’ describes the player with the best score among those who have finished while others are still playing. Alabama and FSU each have four more games to play, including their conference championships, so they’re still a month away from getting into anyone’s clubhouse. If both teams win out, I suppose you can declare Alabama is the ‘leader in the clubhouse’ for the four or five hours between the end of the SEC and ACC title games, but otherwise it doesn’t really apply as both can still be beaten on the field.

        As golf metaphors go, that’s a pretty good one, but you may want to try to use it in context next time.