Sunday, July 25, 2010
Big Ten hopes riding on Buckeyes? National Championship or bust
It's almost fall, and that can mean only one thing: college football is right around the corner. For the past several weeks and months people all across the nation have debated who will the heisman, who will be first team All-American, and which teams will eventually play for the national championship next January. For the Ohio State Buckeyes, capping the the 2009 season by defeating Oregon in the Rose Bowl has fans in Columbus once again thinking national championship in 2010. But there is much more at stake this season as the Buckeyes prepare for their season opener on the night of September 2nd versus Marshall. The past several seasons has seen Ohio State as the top dog of what the rest of the nation has viewed as an otherwise weak conference. The Big Ten has dubiously earned this distinction as a result of losses by Ohio State in consecutive national championship games, to Florida and LSU respectively, during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Combine that with the recent dominance that the SEC has had in the national championship(winning the last four), and speculation continues as to whether the Big Ten will ever be able to recruit the speed necessary to defeat a team from the SEC in the NC game. Which is why this season takes on extra importance for the Buckeyes. For all the talk by OSU head coach Jim Tressel that he does not worry about the national perception of his team or the Big Ten Conference in general, he should be. Because there are many people out there who do not believe that the Big Ten is only slightly better than the Big East. And while the addition of Nebraska in 2011 should help its image, this season the only way the Big Ten is going to get the respect it deserves is by Ohio State winning the national title. The Buckeyes have a very favorable schedule with eight games at home (including Miami of FL, Penn State and Michigan) and three of their non conference games coming against Mid-American Conference opponents (Marshall, EMU, and Ohio U). The reason that the SEC gets a pass on their non-conference scheduling is obvious: when the chips are down in January, they come to play(i.e: they have won four out of the last five national titles). Let this be a lesson to you, Ohio State: schedule whomever you want in September, but remember: the conference hopes rides on your coattails as late December turns to January.