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Thursday, November 28, 2013

College Football, Week 14: Are the Buckeyes Title Worthy?

Hello all, and Happy Turkey Day. Before I go any further, I would just like to say I am thankful for all of my readers, near and far. So thanks again for reading my blog!!!

As the college football regular season comes to an end, we once again find ourselves debating who deserves a place in the BCS National Championship game. The easy answer would seem to be that if No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State win out, they're going to Pasadena. But, upon a second look, is it really that simple?

Looming at No. 3 is Ohio State and their 23 game winning streak. While most pundits agree that it would take a loss from either the Crimson Tide or the Seminoles for the Buckeyes to move in to the BCS Championship, I am not sure that even that would be necessary. I know I am speaking from a biased perspective, but give me a moment and I'll explain in further detail.

The Buckeyes enter this week with the 64th ranked strength of schedule in the nation according to ( which, at first glance doesn't look that impressive. But consider the fact that Florida State's strength of schedule is only  63rd best in the nation, and Ohio State isn't looking quite so bad.

I know Florida State beat No. 6 Clemson earlier in the season, and that is the main reason why the Seminoles are rated higher than in the BCS. But if Ohio State wins its next two games, and both Michigan State and Wisconsin can pull off victories this Saturday, that means the Buckeyes will have two wins against top 15 BCS teams to Florida State's one. Shouldn't that carry at least a little weight?

It appears, however, that ESPN is doing its best to make sure the Buckeyes don't make a return trip to the national championship. Either that or they believe the best way to attract viewership is by dogging OSU. Why else would they, week after week, focus on what team can leapfrog the Buckeyes? Or that there is any possibility that a one-loss Auburn team, that needed a miracle to beat Georgia by the way, would deserve to move into the second BCS spot with a win on Saturday?

I know, I know, I'm a homer. I also know there are apparently five or six schools in the SEC that would beat Ohio State if they played in the conference. (Or at least that is what ESPN/my friends would have me believe, because the SEC is so much the superior conference.

Yet it should be pointed out that Alabama, with the 49th ranked schedule in the nation, isn't really playing that much tougher competition. And I think that the Buckeyes could hang with them, even though most people in Columbus would rather OSU go to the Rose Bowl, because that way they would be guaranteed to go 26-0. (N.B.: The last three teams to end the regular season as AP No. 1, including Notre Dame last year, failed to win the national championship)

Rather than worry what may lie down the road, Urban Meyer's squad will be solely focused on beating its arch-rival up north once again. Which brings me to this week's predictions:

3Ohio State at Michigan: 

The Buckeyes are looking to make it 24 in a row under second year coach Urban Meyer. Having already set OSU records for points in a season (536), points per game (48.7) and total offense per game (530 yards), the Buckeyes look to put an exclamation point on the season with a win Saturday. Look for the Scarlet and Gray to turn to its workhorse, Carlos Hyde, early and often along with a healthy dose of Braxton Miller.

For the Wolverines, this year hasn't gone nearly as planned. Once thought of as a darkhorse title contender, Michigan is now looking to salvage some respectability in this year's version of 'The Game.' Quarterback Devin Gardner, thought to be one of the more efficient signal caller's in the preseason, has thrown almost as many interceptions (11) this season as TDs (17). Brady Hoke may not be on the hot seat just yet, but fans in Ann Arbor are getting restless.

So how does this one pan out? I'd love to say that the Buckeyes are going to cover the 14 1/2 point spread they're favored by, but this is a rivalry game, and it's being played in the Big House. Look for Scarlet and Gray to remain undefeated, however. Ohio State 28, Michigan 20

1Alabama at 4Auburn: 

This year's edition of the Iron Bowl couldn't have more on the line, as a trip to the SEC championship (and possible BCS championship berth) goes to the winner. While the Tigers have been playing inspired ball lately, AJ McCarron and company are just too efficient. Alabama 24, Auburn 17

2Florida State at Florida:

Will Jameis Winston play or won't he? For the Gators the question should be: does Tim Tebow still have any eligibility left? FSU 48, Florida 7

9Baylor at TCU;

Art Briles' squad took one squarely on the chin last week. Don't expect lightning to strike twice, however. Baylor 56, TCU 24

Minnesota at 11 Michigan State:

Gophers pull off the unlikely...wait, I couldn't even finish that sentence without milk spewing out of my nose I was laughing so hard.  Michigan State 27, Minnesota 10

24 Duke at North Carolina:

Figures to be a high scoring affair, with Jabari Park...wait, you mean to tell me this is still football season? Duke 25, North Carolina 17

Well, that's all for now. Time to go enjoy some turkey and stuffing. Happy Thanksgiving all.

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