Ohio State Football

Ohio State Football: 5 Games That Will Determine Buckeyes' BCS Fate

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29: Marcus Rush #44 of the Michigan State Spartans pulls down Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during a second quarter play at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

The Ohio State Buckeyes came in at No. 3 in the latest BCS rankings but hold the slimmest of margins—one-thousandth of a point—over the surging Baylor Bears.

Although the Buckeyes hold the nation's longest winning streak at 22 games, they'll need a lot of help to earn a coveted bid to the national title game.

Ohio State has just two games left on its regular-season schedule. The Buckeyes will host Indiana (4-6) this Saturday before their rivalry game against Michigan (7-3) in Ann Arbor.

Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes will be heavily favored in both of those matchups. Assuming Ohio State takes care of business, these five games will most likely decide the Buckeyes' BCS fate.

 

Baylor at Oklahoma State

After starting the season unranked, Baylor has clawed its way to the No. 4 ranking thanks to one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

The Bears will need that offense this Saturday when they travel to Stillwater, Okla., for a matchup with No. 10 Oklahoma State.

With Ohio State playing a six-loss Indiana team, Baylor would likely jump the Buckeyes if it beats a top-10 Cowboys squad on the road. That's why Ohio State will be pulling hard for Oklahoma State in this one.

 

Alabama at Auburn

Top-ranked Alabama has a tuneup game against Chattanooga on Saturday before hitting the road for one of the biggest Iron Bowl games in recent memory, writes Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated.

The Tigers will host No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 30 in a winner-takes-all showdown for the SEC West's spot in Atlanta. Remarkably, it will be the first time that scenario has occurred in the rivals' annual season-ending showdown since the conference began staging a championship game in 1992.

The Tigers are coming off an emotional, last-minute victory over Georgia, while the Tide were a bit sluggish in their win over Mississippi State.

Auburn will get the week off to prepare for the Tide. If the Tigers pull off the upset, it would be a huge boost to the Buckeyes' BCS title chances. If Alabama continues to roll, it will advance to the conference title game for a second consecutive year. 

Speaking of...

 

SEC Title Game

AJ McCarron has the Tide rolling.
AJ McCarron has the Tide rolling.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If Alabama does beat Auburn, the Tide will face either No. 8 Missouri or No. 11 South Carolina.

The Tigers will win the East if they win out, but that will be tough with games against No. 24 Ole Miss and No. 12 Texas A&M. South Carolina, which beat Missouri on October 26, will get the nod if the Tigers fall.

Either team would be a stiff test for Alabama. The Buckeyes' best chance to move up the rankings lies in this two-week stretch for the Tide.

 

ACC Title Game

On paper, Florida State has the easiest path to the title game.

The Seminoles, who have already punched their ticket to the conference title game, will host Idaho this weekend before traveling to Gainesville, Fla., for a matchup with a six-loss Gators team.

There are still five teams in the race for the Coastal Division, including a Miami team that Florida State already beat by 27 points this season. Duke, with a 4-2 conference record, is currently in the driver's seat to play the Seminoles for the conference title.

 

Big Ten Title Game

Even if all the dominoes fall Ohio State's way, they will still have to win the Big Ten title game, which will likely feature an outstanding Michigan State team.

The Spartans, whose only loss came on the road at Notre Dame early in the season, boast the nation's top defense and an offense that's finding a rhythm with quarterback Connor Cook.

It would be strength against strength in this matchup, though, as the Buckeyes have been dominant on offense this year.

The Spartans are good enough to beat Ohio State. The Buckeyes will need to play their best football to finish the season undefeated.

 

David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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