Are The Buckeyes A Title Team In 2012?
I know, I know! The 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes football team is not eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis (they can play for the Leaders Division trophy, however) and can’t play in a postseason bowl game. Nevertheless, the Buckeyes can still receive votes and make appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Urban Meyer’s squad is currently ranked 12th.
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and the AP Poll are not linked, so the winner of AP National Championship can be different from the winner of the BCS National Title Game. That has happened once since the BCS era started in 1998. LSU won the 2003 BCS National Championship Game, but USC finished first in the AP Poll and received the National Championship trophy from the Associated Press.
Although they have only played Miami (OH) and UCF this season, the Bucks look pretty strong and are scoring a ton of points. Braxton Miller, a dark horse Heisman trophy candidate, is the leading rusher in the Big Ten. Meyer’s no-huddle-type offense has the Buckeyes running more plays than in the past and has defenders on their heels.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it is important to note that the Buckeyes will have a very tough time finishing the season unscathed. They start their Big Ten schedule with games against Michigan State and Nebraska. Le’Veon Bell and Taylor Martinez are two fantastic players that Sparty and the ‘Huskers field respectively. The Buckeyes also play the Purdue Boilermakers on October 20th. They certainly don’t have the talent that the Bucks do, but Purdue was in the Leaders Division title race late last season and has beaten Ohio State twice in the last three years.
Ohio State finishes off the 2012 campaign with a road game against Wisconsin and a matchup with its bitter rival, Michigan, in the Horseshoe. Wisconsin is seen as the clear-cut favorite to win the Leaders Division this season and it took a Braxton Miller hail mary to beat the Badgers last season. Michigan broke its long losing streak against Ohio State in 2011 and will have a strong enough team, led by Denard Robinson, to give the Buckeyes one helluva game.
It would be a stretch to actually predict that the Buckeyes will finish first in the final AP Poll, especially since other conferences in the country seem to be fielding better top-tier teams than the Big Ten, and OSU will have no bowl game to make one final impression on the voters. But it is interesting to think that a team banned from competing in the postseason could very well finish as one of the best squads in the country.
This team may have the Juice!