Say It Ain't So: How Ohio State Will Make It Back To The BCS National Title Game

Michael ClineSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2008

I know, I'll admit. It's absurd. How could the team that got buried underneath the L.A. Coliseum possibly have a chance at making it to the BCS National Title game? The Buckeyes are through...finished...dead. We all watched them die! Right?

However, Hollywood is known for bringing the dead back to life. Forty years after George Romero directed a little movie called Night of the Living Dead, we may just have our very own college football version.

To prove my point, let's first remember last season. The Buckeyes lost in Week 11 to Illinois and they dropped from No. 1 in the AP Poll to No. 7, with one game left to play. Their National Championship run looked to be over. 

But, in Week 12 Oregon and Oklahoma lost, moving Ohio State up to No. 5 after they beat Big Ten rival Michigan. Then in Week 13, LSU and Kansas lost, moving OSU to the No. 3 spot. And in the final week of play, Missouri and West Virginia both lose to put the Buckeyes at No. 1 and in the BCS National Championship Game. It was a crazy ride.

It happened once, it can happen again.

For this scenario to work, Ohio State will almost definitely have to win the rest of their games. Even with their loss to the USC Trojans, they are still as much in the hunt for their third consecutive Big Ten championship as they were before. Yes, Wisconsin and Penn State look very good, but OSU having 20 starters back from last season is still a huge deal.

As we stand now, Ohio State is No. 13 in the AP Poll. There are twelve teams in front of them, one being Wisconsin. And going by the theory that the Buckeyes run the table in the Big Ten, that moves the Badgers out of their way in the poll.

One down, eleven to go.

Five of the top ten teams are from the Southeastern Conference. The chance of any one of them making it the rest of the season without a blemish on their record is slim to none. If the SEC beats up on one another, as is often predicted, that moves the Buckeyes up every time one of them fall. If five fall, the Buckeyes are now No. 7.

Four of the top eleven teams are from the Big Twelve Conference. Oklahoma is the favorite in the South division and they play both Texas and Texas Tech. Missouri is the early favorite in the North division and they also play Texas.

The Big Twelve also has a championship game. It is possible that Oklahoma or one of the other three teams in this conference will go undefeated, although it's unlikely. If the four teams mentioned here lose once, the Buckeyes are now No. 3.

Two teams are left in front of them: South Florida and USC.

South Florida, a Big East Conference team, is No. 11 in the AP Poll, one point ahead of the Buckeyes. In the USA Today Poll they are only No. 16. Last week they beat then No. 13 Kansas with a field goal as time expired.

The only other ranked team they have to play this season is West Virginia on December 06. West Virginia takes out South Florida moving the Buckeyes to No. 2.

That leaves us with USC. The Trojans also have only one ranked team in the Pac-10 left to play (Oregon), but they also have fierce rivalries within the conference and out (Notre Dame) who will play them tough. USC has a good chance of going undefeated this season, if they play every game like they played the Buckeyes.

However, in recent years, very good Trojan teams have fallen short of the perfect season, leaving them just short of a shot at the National Title. If USC loses, that moves the Buckeyes to the No. 1 position in the AP Poll.

Even if they don't lose, OSU is No. 2, and, to the demise of college football fans everywhere, we have a rematch in Miami.

It would be nothing short of a miracle for this scenario to play out like described. It would be like three huge storms colliding into each other to form, well, one Perfect Storm, and that's never happened before either, has it?