Ohio State is among the favorites to play for the national championship even though the weakness of the Big Ten could drag the Buckeyes down in the BCS. But that theory may just be a hoax.
As we know all too well going into the final year of the BCS, strength of schedule plays a big factor in the computers.
And considering how weak the Big Ten has been in the past, particularly when it comes to OSU's schedule this year outside of Michigan, Wisconsin and Northwestern, there is a concern that the conference will keep OSU from playing for a title.
The expectation Ohio State may have is that if in fact the team is better than it was last year and the conference is still as weak as it was last year, the Buckeyes should go 13-0 and win the Big Ten championship. And it's going to be hard to keep a 13-0 team out of the national championship game, especially if OSU is the only undefeated team left in the country.
OSU was always ranked lower than their unbeaten counterparts in Notre Dame for various reasons a year ago in the AP.
Whether or not it was influenced in any way by OSU's bowl ban will never come to light.
Regardless, the season the Irish had is proof that a team that wins all of its games against big-time competition will still give itself an overwhelming chance to play for the national championship.
The Big Ten is obviously not as good as it used to be, and it's taken its fair share of criticism in recent years, with the Buckeyes' failures in consecutive title games largely to blame.
But what the other 11 teams in the conference do this season should have no impact on where Ohio State's season ends if the Buckeyes do what's expected of them.
Their biggest roadblock comes from those struggles and perceived lack of talent in the Big Ten.
The reality, however, is that if Ohio State starts high enough in the polls and just keeps on winning, it should be in the title game regardless of what happens outside of Columbus.
If they lose, especially later in the season, things get very dicey, and that's when the Big Ten can be dead weight if they're going up against SEC teams for a title spot.
But even with the lack of top-end teams in the Big Ten outside of OSU and Michigan, a perfect season should be enough for the Buckeyes to play for a national championship, no matter what happens in the conference.
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