Will a Win at Northwestern be Enough to Move the Rankings

You would think that Ohio State Buckeyes took another step towards silencing the critics as they sent the Wisconsin Badgers home with their first…er…second loss of the season. However, it wasn’t enough for the pollsters as the Buckeyes lost a few more votes in both the AP and the Coaches Poll.

While Clemson was running the score on Wake Forest and a sudden squall nullified Cal’s passing game (do they have anything else?), the Ohio State defense effectively shut down two of the top running backs in the country. The Buckeyes held former No. 1 running back Melvin Gordon and former No. 10 James White to only 105 combined yards. Coming into this game the pair had each averaged more than 100 yards per game. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for a least a few voters.

The question becomes, will a big win over an undefeated Northwestern (No. 16 AP, No. 15 Coaches) be enough to silence the critics. I’m not looking for a jump up the polls but to go backwards? It is starting to look like the Buckeyes are in a no-win situation. They run the score against a hapless Div II school and they take their shots. With a solid lead over Wisconsin, they go into prevent/game win mode and they take their shots. At some point the pollsters need to decide exactly what they want.

Yeah, the final score looked close but when Wisconsin got one more chance to turn the game around, the Buckeye defense completely shut them down deep in their own end. When you’ve got a punter who can consistently hang a backward spinning ball for what seems like an eternity and drop it dead on the 10 yard line, why not use him when the time is right. The Buckeyes already proved the had the scoring ability. Does a win now require 50+ points?

The Alabama Problem
At this point in the season, none of this should really be an issue but in a season with this much potential for a shot at the BCS Championship game, how can you not start to wonder. Alabama has all but been gifted their spot in the BCS Championship even though they are not doing a very good job at proving themselves worthy of the title. Yes, they have the win over Texas A&M but how many yards did they give up to Johnny Autograph? A&M is proving to be a one-man team (see Rice) and if Manziel goes down, expect their entire season to go with him.

Alabama shouldn’t be tested for at least another month as they line up against Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee before taking on LSU–the last team they will see with a legitimate shot at beating them. That said, I’m not about to write the potential of an off an Alabama loss before the LSU game. They proved their ability to step into a trap against Colorado State.

Oregon and Clemson
Clemson appears to be proving themselves but something inside me says that they won’t make it all the way to bowl season undefeated. They lose and they are out.

More than anyone, Oregon probably has the best chance of proving themselves worthy of the ranking. It is unfortunate that the weather prevented any chance of Cal giving them a real test. They still have Stanford and Washington in the days ahead.

So What about the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes win over Wisconsin not only ended any possible quarterback controversy, we also saw a huge improvement in the young defense–especially on the front line. Yes, Bradley Roby had trouble containing Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis but they forced Wisconsin to play a game they didn’t intend to play and that is big. The loss of Christian Bryant hurts though. It will be interesting how they fill the void created by the captain’s loss.

Northwestern doesn’t bring the pounding running game that Wisconsin does but the run/pass option is an important part of their game. If the Buckeye front line plays like they did against the badgers, they will force the Cats to turn to the long ball and they just don’t have the corner speed that we saw in Abbrederis. Something also tells me that Bradley Roby is getting an ear full this week and it making sure he doesn’t get kicked by the same mule twice.

The question is, will a big win over Northwestern be enough to nudge the polls. At this point, the Alabama hype machine is so powerful that even a loss might not drop them out of the BCS Championship talk–especially if that loss is to LSU.

And if we do somehow get to December with four undefeated teams, I say we let Alabama and Clemson duke it out for whatever title they want to claim and the Buckeyes and Oregon go at it old school style in the Rose Bowl–the only Bowl Game that really matters.

Comments

  1. Tony the "Quacking Duck" says

    I completely agree ….. Alabama does not look like a dominating #1 ranked team. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL last year and look very beatable. The only reason they are ranked so high is because of previous seasons success (and a weak schedule). I am curious how the voters will handle the Tennessee vs Alabama game on Oct 26. Oregon dropped 59 points on them and handed the Volunteers their worst loss in 108 years. What do the pollsters do if Alabama only beats them by 21 or 24 points?? Will they take these head to head match ups and move Oregon to number 1? (doubt it). Oregon called off the dogs when they were up 59-7 and Tennessee finally scored a touchdown in the tail end of the 4th qtr while we were clearing our bench of 3rd and 4th stringers.

    Unfortunately tOSU has probably the weakest schedule of the top 4 teams. Northwestern may be your only test of the season. Michigan looks like a joke this year and I don’t understand why they are even ranked. Ohio State did beat a PAC12 team in Cal ….. but, everybody is beating Cal this year. They are one of our three bottom teams (joining USC and Colorado). You beat a ranked Wisconsin team that lost a close game to a middle of the pack PAC12 team in Arizona State. tOSU will need to see losses from the teams ahead of them to get into the NC. Oregon still needs to play UCLA, Washington, Stanford, probably UCLA again in the PAC12 Championship game. Clemson beat a very good Georgia team and still has games against Florida State, So Carolina, and probably Miami in their Champ game. Alabama beat “the one man show” Texas A&M and they still have LSU and probably Georgia in their Champ game. Even if Alabama loses to LSU …… will this drop them out of the top 3?? The pollsters have a history of keeping a SEC team within striking distance of the NC game.

    I do agree with you …… The Rose Bowl is special. I would like to see this rematch and give Oregon some redemption over our last meeting. Although this is a much different program than the one you met 4 years ago. But, I would really like to end this BCS sham of a system against Alabama and take the trophy away from the SEC.

  2. Tony the "Quacking Duck" says

    Follow up – Oregon beat Tennessee 59-14. We pulled our starters midway through though the third qtr. Yet, they take number six ranked Georgia (fellow SEC team) into overtime??? If this doesn’t erase the “mystic” of the SEC ….. what will???

    • The Poster Previously Known as Not Alan says

      TQD-please just take care of business and hope the Ducks don’t have one of their brain farts and lose a game they shouldn’t.

      • Tony the "Quacking Duck" says

        “SEC … SEC … SEC” ….LOL. GonzoHog was a joke. Putting together a 10 win season and then following it up with an 11 win season DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN ELITE TEAM!!! I hope he is enjoying the past 2 years of freefall. Arkansas is very comparable to Washington …. they were good 20-30 years ago… and have been largely irrelevant since. What make Arkansas worse is that Gonzo somehow tried to play off the “SEC …. SEC” mantra. He figured that a middle of the road SEC team would be a top team in another conference. Well Arkansas is now the DOORMAT of every team in the SEC.

        Where is Jim and why isn’t he updating this blog??? It has been 20 days and 3 games ….. nothing new! I know he has thoughts on the BCS rankings that came out today ….. Jim where are you???

        • The Poster Previously Known as Not Alan says

          TPB and I were busting his butt Saturday and Sunday. He will be back.

  3. Jim says

    I’m afraid that time is getting the best of me. Need that inspiration to finish the design on this website and pound away at that Ohio State insight.

    I did get a new post up on the BCS rankings though.