Moments That Turned the Table for Ohio State in 2013

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor INovember 20, 2013

Moments That Turned the Table for Ohio State in 2013

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    Under the current system of the BCS, no team gets to the national championship game on its own. Everyone needs help at some point in time. 

    Whether it's having a team ahead of them in the standings lose or having teams they beat not lose games, help is part of the formula for every team in the BCS National Championship Game. 

    This season, the team that appears to need the most help is Ohio State. They currently sit at No. 3 and are significantly behind both Florida State and Alabama in the BCS average. 

    So far this season though, there have been moments involving the Buckeyes that have cost them dearly and as the saying goes "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." 

    There are a number of moments that make one wonder "what if" with the Buckeyes. Come inside and explore the moments that have altered Ohio State's chances to make the BCS National Championship Game.

    *Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him at Twitter: @ andycoppens.

Wisconsin's Debacle in the Desert

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    Of course this would be on here. What other single moment has had the potential to change the 2013 season more than the "Debacle in the Desert?" 

    Had things gone the way the rulebook says, the Badgers were 99 percent likely to have hit the field goal, win the game and would be sitting here at 9-1 instead of 8-2. 

    It would mean a Wisconsin team with a lone loss to the Buckeyes, likely inside the top 10 in the rankings today and most importantly, Ohio State would have a key win to hang its hat on.

    This single moment has affected college football in huge ways. Arizona State is 8-2 on the season themselves and ranked No. 17 in the most recent BCS Standings, when it shouldn't be.

    Flip the situation around and the Badgers, who went in to Tempe ranked No. 20, are likely much higher than No. 17 in the BCS today. Instead, Wisconsin is struggling to break out of the 20's in the last BCS rankings. 

    Not only did this injustice likely cost the Badgers a shot at a BCS bowl game, but as it turns out, it's also hurting Ohio State's ability to challenge for one of the two spots in the national championship game. 

    A Badger team with that extra win on its resume would help the strength of schedule for Ohio State and thus the computers that are currently killing Ohio State. 

Northwestern Falling Apart

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    A week after the Buckeyes dispatched the Badgers in Columbus, it was a date with No. 16 Northwestern on the table. 

    Ohio State went to Evanston and pulled out a hard-fought win, 40-30, over the Wildcats and it should've been a win that OSU could point to late in the season. 

    Instead, the Wildcats have not won a single game since and need a miracle win over Michigan State this weekend to keep any hopes of making a bowl game alive. 

    Injuries and inconsistent play have really hurt the Wildcats this season. They've had Kain Colter miss significant time and star running back Venric Mark has missed all but three games, and that's just scratching the surface. 

    Had Northwestern lived up to some expectations and at least been a challenger in the Legends Division race, this win would've looked a lot better. 

    It still remains a good road win, but the damage done by Northwestern's now six-game losing streak can't be undone. 

Michigan's Loss to Penn State

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    There's a reason why the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan is called "The Game." Usually these two teams have been at or near the top of the Big Ten and this game meant something on the national scale. 

    In 2013, that's not the case at all. Instead, Michigan finished off a brutal stretch of games by losing in four overtimes at Penn State in mid-October and hasn't been the same since.  

    That loss was the culmination of what all the critics had been saying about the Wolverines. The debacle that was play calling and field goal kicking during overtime put the final nail in the coffin of anyone taking the Wolverines seriously.

    Prior to that, Michigan was already on the ropes thanks to shaky wins over lowly Akron and UConn to finish out nonconference play. 

    Michigan's best win on the season has turned out to be a 42-13 thrashing of Minnesota, who are now No. 25 and 8-2 on the season. 

    However, the Wolverines have lost all three of its biggest games, including loses to Michigan State and Nebraska in back-to-back weeks. 

    Had the Wolverines remained in the national discussion heading into the final week it would've been a boost to the Buckeyes' resume to get a win over the Wolverines. Now the game won't do much of anything to help the Buckeyes' chances at the BCS National Championship Game. 

The Oregon Love Affair

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    It seems like forever ago that Ohio State was ranked No. 2 in the country, but it actually was the case. The Buckeyes entered the season as the second best team in the nation according to the polls. 

    All it needed to do was keep winning and its position would be cemented. That's not at all what has happened though. 

    It all changed after Oregon crushed Virginia, 59-10, and took over the No. 2 spot in both the USA Today and AP Polls. 

    Oregon jumped Ohio State after Week 1 of the season in the AP Poll, but it became complete with the coaches voting the Ducks No. 2 in Week 3. 

    The narrative was that Ohio State struggled in wins over Buffalo and San Diego State, Braxton Miller was down and the Buckeyes were out of the drivers seat before they ever got in it. 

    Yet, hindsight is a funny thing. Had the voters known just how awful Virginia actually was, or that Oregon would lose a game, would they have kept Ohio State over Oregon? 

    Ohio State's 20 point win over Buffalo looks a heck of a lot better than the win Oregon put up over Virginia right now, considering the Bulls are in the mix for a division title in the MAC and Virginia hasn't won a game in ACC play.

    Instead of keeping the Buckeyes in their spot, it not only allowed Oregon to jump them, but the subsequent weeks would see OSU fall to No. 4 behind Clemson and then Florida State in the AP Poll. 

    Oregon's loss has the Buckeyes at No. 3 in both polls these days, but had that flip never happened in the first place the Buckeyes are likely sitting at No. 2 in the BCS Rankings. 

SEC Scheduling Kills Vanderbilt Game

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

    Yes, believe it or not, the SEC is partly to blame for what is happening to Ohio State at this point in time. The Buckeyes were supposed to play Vanderbilt to open the 2013 season on August 31. 

    Just 11 months ahead of that scheduled game, the Commodores cancelled the game, citing ESPN and SEC scheduling needs.  

    It resulted in a dance of games for the Buckeyes, who had to move the Buffalo game to the opening week and add San Diego State to the schedule. 

    Had Ohio State been able to play, and assumedly beat Vanderbilt, it certainly looks much better on the resume. 

    Especially since the Commodores own some nice wins in the SEC over Georgia and Florida. 

    Ohio State has been repeatedly punished by the critics for its soft schedule, but with Vanderbilt and Cal on the schedule for a number of years, just how soft would it have looked? 

    Softer than Alabama playing Georgia State, Colorado State and Chattanooga? 

    The two FBS teams (Colorado State and Georgia State) the Crimson Tide has faced are a combined 6-15. Add in Virginia Tech and the Tide's nonconference foes are a combined 13-19 on the season.

    Ohio State's non-conference schedule would have three FBS teams with a combined record of 14-17. 

    It's hard to say the Buckeyes' schedule wouldn't have been an asset with Vandy on the docket. 

    Then again, if its and buts were candy and nuts... well, Ohio State would be in the BCS National Championship game.