Ohio State Football: Buckeyes Have Much to Play for Despite No Bowl Eligibility

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 03:  Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes congratulates Bri'onte Dunn #25 of the Ohio State Buckeyes after he scored a touchdown against the Illinois Illini on November 3, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Illinois 52-22. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

For an outsider, the most intriguing thing about Ohio State's season is likely that the team could go undefeated and it will mean absolutely nothing since the Buckeyes aren't eligible to play in the Big Ten championship or in a bowl game.

You'll have to forgive a few of us if we have a chuckle over the irony. Seriously, Alanis Morissette would have put it in that song about all those spoons.

But in all fairness, the Buckeyes still have quite a lot to play for beyond national championships, bowl games, Big Ten titles and all of those other awesome things. Let's take a look at what Ohio State has left to win.



Whether Ohio State is undefeated or comes into the game against its rival with nary a win, the game against Michigan is a huge event in and of itself.

A great season can be sullied by a loss to Michigan. A poor season is brightened by bludgeoning the Wolverines.

And a bizarrely awesome season that also represents a lot of goals gone unfulfilled due to NCAA sanctions can still be a remembered fondly if Michigan is defeated.

This will be Ohio State's bowl game. No matter what happens, there's always Michigan.


Pride Still on the Line

As Herman Edwards continues to say ad nauseam, you play to win the game. But if nothing else, Ohio State can win the Leaders Division outright if it defeats Wisconsin.

They might not get to play in the Big Ten championship or Rose Bowl, but you can't tell me the Buckeyes won't build on that moving forward.

Besides, the chance to go undefeated and stick it to all of the haters in Urban Meyer's first season would surely feel good in Columbus. Sure, given their strength of schedule, I'm not sure this team would be given serious consideration for the national championship game if they were eligible, but undefeated is still undefeated, right?


Get Braxton Miller the Heisman Trophy

While it's a long shot, Miller could still very well win the Heisman this year if he finishes with two excellent showings against Wisconsin and Michigan, Collin Klein throws up a stinker in a Kansas State loss, everyone forgets about Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M again and Kenjon Barner doesn't go all Reggie Bush down the stretch and rip off a number of signature runs.

Miller's numbers this year speak for themselves—1,753 passing yards, 1,166 rushing yards, 27 total touchdowns, six interceptions, 56.9 completion percentage—but they don't speak as loudly as Klein's, Manziel's or Barner's at the moment.

Truthfully, most folks still have Manti Te'o and even Marqise Lee ahead of him right now. But if Ohio State finishes undefeated and Miller puts up epic numbers against Wisconsin and Michigan?

In that case, it's totally possible he could make a late push for the Heisman. You never know.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets can handle as many Hall of Fame egos as you like.

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