COMMENTARY | While the Ohio State Buckeyes prepare for their Saturday matchup vs. the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten championship game, the off-field conversation has been about whether the Buckeyes deserve a chance at the BCS national championship. While the popular line of thinking is that the Auburn Tigers, coming off of their win over #1 Alabama, should jump Ohio State in the BCS rankings, there are plenty of statistics that prove otherwise. Let’s break down the three main arguments fans and analysts alike are using to discredit Ohio State and its #2 ranking: Argument 1: Strength of Schedule The all-too-popular argument when it comes to discrediting Ohio State is its strength of schedule. Ohio State’s schedule is ranked 61st toughest in the country, according to sagarin.com. This would appear to diminish the glamour of the Buckeyes’ 12-0 record heading into the Big Ten championship. Why, then, does Florida State’s 66th-ranked schedule never get mentioned? That’s right. Florida State has a weaker schedule than Ohio State does. It is, of course, this line of thinking that catapults Auburn in front of the two aforementioned teams, with Auburn playing the 26th-toughest schedule in the nation. However, if you believe a one-loss SEC team deserves to make a jump, then why wouldn’t Arizona State (10-2), which has the 4th-toughest schedule this season, jump Auburn? The “strength of schedule” argument is more than flawed, but with the way the Buckeyes have been criticized for their weak schedule, one would be led to believe that Florida State had played an SEC-caliber schedule as well. Top 3 based on “strength of schedule:” 1. Auburn Tigers 2. Ohio State Buckeyes 3. Florida State Seminoles Argument 2: Style Points If you’re argument is that the BCS is flawed because it is based on style points, well, you may be right. However, arguing that Ohio State would deserve a shot because of the lack of style points would be a ludicrous argument. The best of the three teams is clearly Florida State, helped, of course, by the weakness of the schedule. The Seminoles have an average margin of victory of 42.6 points per win. Ohio State comes in at 27.9 points, while Auburn comes in way behind with an 18.8-point margin of victory (and, remember, one loss to LSU). The Buckeyes have the biggest win on the season, with a 76-0 drudging of Florida A&M. And it’s worth nothing that the Ohio State Buckeyes haven’t lost a regular season football contest since November 26, 2011. …
Rivalry games, conference championships and a video game telling you exactly what will happen before it happens: If the world’s greatest simulation device is correct—it often is, by the way—then we’re all in for an enormous Week 15 treat. NCAA Football 14 is back to predict one of the greatest college football weekends of the year. The slate of games is abbreviated, but it is also spectacular. For those only pulling up a chair just now, here’s the rundown: Using the video game NCAA Football 14, all college football games from the weekend are simulated. Because this week featured some unique matchups that were not originally on the docket, some extra simulation efforts needed to be made. Matchups were generated—playing on neutral field—and they have been included. With that said, none of the results has been altered. What you see in the slides to follow is exactly what the game said would happen. We have standards that we take very seriously. Let’s get to it. Updated Record Through Week 14: 44-27 Begin Slideshow
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After spending the last three months in a pressure cooker, No. 2 Ohio State still can’t hit the release valve.Even in the wake of their biggest win of the season against their archrival, the Buckeyes have to turn right around and play yet another major showdown.They meet No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday – the latest in a long line of games which have required focusing on the task at hand instead of Big Ten, big bowl and BCS dreams.Yet the Buckeyes say that it’s actually easier to concentrate since they no longer need help getting into one of those cherished top two spots in the BCS rankings.Center Corey Linsley says it’s simple: win and ”it’s all set for us.”Sports & RecreationAmerican Football
Shutting an Undefeated Ohio State Team Out of National Title Game in Favor of Auburn Would Be a Travesty (Yahoo Contributor Network)
COMMENTARY | This coming weekend is going to be a nerve-wracking one for followers of the Ohio State Buckeyes. No. 2 Ohio State faces the No. 10 Michigan State Spartans on December 7 in the Big Ten championship game. MSU is 11-1 so far this year, and will be provide the toughest test yet for the Buckeyes. The Spartans’ defense has been on an absolute tear recently, so OSU’s high-powered offense is going to have to be in top form if it expects to defeat MSU. A win over the Spartans should put OSU in its third BCS championship game in the last eight seasons. I say “should” because voters in the USA Today coaches’ poll and Harris poll — the two that matter in the BCS formula — have had a nasty habit of disrespecting OSU all season long, and that very well could be the case once again come December 8. Although OSU is on an FBS-best 24-game winning streak, the Buckeyes are treated more like a mid-major than a team from one of the most storied conferences in college football. Two times in 2013 the Buckeyes were leapfrogged in the coaches’ poll by other teams, despite their unblemished record. While one of the two teams that voters felt was better than OSU — Florida State — have more than proved their worth in 2013, the other team — Oregon — has long since been exposed as a fraud. The voting habits of pollsters in 2013 has to be on the minds of OSU faithful hoping their team does get burned in favor of the SEC champion. No. 3 Auburn and No. 5 Missouri, despite both having a loss, believe they deserve a shot at the national title if they take home the SEC crown. While I’m more than aware that the SEC is the alpha male of major college football, a one-loss team is never more deserving of a national title shot than an undefeated squad from a BCS conference. I personally do not think Missouri has any chance of overtaking a 13-0 OSU team in the polls, as the Tigers flew under the national radar for most of the year. Auburn, on the other hand, poses a huge threat to OSU’s tenuous grip on No. 2 in the BCS standings. With miraculous victories over the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide in their last two games, the Tigers are seemingly everyone’s darlings at this point.
The typical robust slate of Top 25 games has more or less been cut in half. The season has progressed far too quickly, and we’ve reached the end of the road. It’s championship week, while a few other conferences will finish out their regular-season games with no title game to speak of. Rivalries will be decided, BCS spots will be won (and lost) and much of a still-hazy picture will become clear by Sunday night. Yes, there are point spreads, just like always. The majority of the Top 25 games feature small numbers; the glaring exception being the four touchdowns handed out in the ACC Championship. There will be bowl games to be picked, of course, but the final official Top 25 picks of the year is upon us. And it’s time to pick winners and go out in style. Picks Against the Spread Entering Week 15: 134-114-2 All lines courtesy: VegasInsider.com Begin Slideshow
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Drop the Ohio State offense on the scales, and it looks comically imbalanced. The plan was to find an even mix, blending in the pass as often as the rush after favoring the latter so heavily a year ago. On top of that, the Buckeyes could take as many deep shots as short throws, perimeter rushes complementing attempts between the tackles.
+ EnlargeJason Mowry/Icon SMIAfter sitting out the first three games of the season, Ohio State tailback Carlos Hyde has rushed for 1,290 yards and 14 touchdowns.But sometimes goals have to be scrapped. And when Tom Herman looks down at at the field and sees the No. 2 Buckeyes battering away against a helpless defense on the ground, the offensive coordinator has no problem seeking a different kind of 50-50 proposition balancing the load between his two most dangerous weapons. “When you see the productivity of the run game and where that’s taking you, then you continue to call it more until something tells you not to,” Herman said. “Throughout the game, nothing was telling us not to.
“Have you seen Nos. 34 and 5 run it?”
That combination of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller, respectively, has been hard to miss during another perfect regular season for the Buckeyes, and the way they’ve been carving up teams on the ground only makes it harder for Herman to turn his back on them and dial up a pass play or two.
Miller has looked vastly improved with his arm during his third year as a starting quarterback, but his acceleration and body control as a rusher remain his most dangerous weapon. And with Hyde playing at easily the highest level of his career at tailback, the combination has served at times to make a passing game almost completely unnecessary.
The Buckeyes completed just six passes in the win over Michigan last week, but the backfield tandem rushed for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ohio State had just 11 completions previously in a win over Indiana and 13 before that against Illinois, but Miller and Hyde combined for 691 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns over that two-game span.
But while the passing game appears to be trending down with the potent rushing attack on the rise, that perceived imbalance doesn’t exactly mean the Ohio State hasn’t accomplished what it set out to do before the season offensively.
“Balance is not having the same amount of rushing yards or the same amount of passing yards, or the same amount of rushing plays versus the same amount of passing plays,” Herman said. “Balance is being able to win the game either way dependent on how the defense plays, what the defense is trying to take away. I think we are a balanced offense right now.
“I think the disparity is a product of how well we’re rushing…
CHICAGO (AP) — Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.Miller has averaged 265 yards of total offense and accounted for 29 total touchdowns while leading Ohio State to a 12-0 record despite a knee injury early in the season. The Buckeyes will play Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday.Wisconsin’s Chris Borland was announced as the Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg as Freshman of the Year.Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio was selected Coach of the Year by both the coaches and media after leading the Spartans to an 11-1 record – 8-0 in conference play – and the Legends Division crown.Borland is the fifth Badger to receive the Big Ten’s top defensive award, along with Erasmus James (2004), Jamar Fletcher (2000), Tom Burke (1998) and Troy Vincent (1991). He ranks third in the conference with 9.3 tackles per game.Hackenberg is the third Nittany Lion and second in as many seasons to be selected Freshman of the Year, joining Deion Barnes (2012) and Curtis Enis (1995). He averaged 246.2 yards passing and threw for 20 touchdowns.Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballBig Ten
There is a lot of talk revolving around the undefeated seasons that Ohio State, Florida State and Northern Illinois are putting together. With Alabama falling to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the fourth remaining undefeated squad was no more. The Tide fell to the Tigers, ending the dreams of a BCS Championship, and again proving the point that going undefeated is hard work. However, in the grand scheme of the American sporting experience, going undefeated through the ranks of college football falls into the world of possible. Actually, considering the relative improbability of going undefeated in other sports, finishing unblemished in college football would be considered easy, comparatively speaking. For the Buckeyes, the Seminoles, Huskies and every team pushing to go undefeated before them, the season was a tough one. There have been ups and downs. Spots where things did not go as planned. Moments where injuries forced the squad to alter plans and find another way to get wins. It’s certainly not easy. Coaches have to game plan. More importantly, coaches have to find a way to get 100-plus 17-23-year-old kids operating at an optimum level every single week. That’s twelve weeks in the regular season. Thirteen weeks if the league has a conference title game. Eighteen weeks when it gets down to the bowl prep. And that does not even include spring ball, fall camp or the bye weeks built into a season. It is a hard thing to do. Especially, in an era where there is such great…
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Mark Dantonio wants to make it abundantly clear there is no lingering animosity between him and the coaching staff at Ohio State.”There are no issues,” Dantonio said Tuesday. ”A lot of times I think it’s the media bringing up things that happened two years ago that are trying to create that.”Still, the matchup is an intriguing one.Dantonio’s 10th-ranked Spartans take on the second-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday night in a Big Ten championship game full of story lines. Dantonio was an assistant at Ohio State under Jim Tressel when the Buckeyes had their national title season in 2002. Now he’s standing in the way of a different Ohio State staff that is on the verge of playing for a national championship.Michigan State hasn’t played in the Rose Bowl since 1988, but the Spartans (11-1) have a chance to end that drought with a win this weekend.Dantonio is even acknowledging the far-fetched possibility that the team he coaches could work its way into the BCS championship discussion this year.”When we – or however you want to put this – if we’re 12-1 at the end of the week, why not us?” Dantonio said. ”If certain scenarios take place, which obviously, last week you saw a lot of scenarios take place. There are no givens in college football.”Dantonio did say he thought the Buckeyes (12-0) should play for the national title if they beat Michigan State, and there was no real hint of any tension between him and the school where he once coached.Dantonio is from Zanesville, Ohio, and he was an assistant at Ohio State before taking over as the head coach at Cincinnati before the 2004 season. He later moved on to Michigan State.Tressel remained in charge at Ohio State until he was forced out before the 2011 season amid a memorabilia-for-cash scandal. Urban Meyer eventually took over the Buckeyes, and they haven’t lost since, winning 24 straight games over the last two seasons. Meyer’s aggressive reputation from his days at Florida immediately drew attention throughout the Big Ten, where ”flipping” recruits suddenly became a major topic.Dantonio was asked about that on signing day in 2012 and said he thought it was ”pretty unethical” to aggressively pursue verbal commitments from other programs. Dantonio was speaking generically – and released a statement a couple days later insisting he wasn’t directing his comments at any school in particular.View gallery.”Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, left, congratulates Kurtis Drummond (27) following a 14-3 win ov …Last season, after Ohio State’s 17-16 win in East Lansing, Michigan State complained that the Buckeyes had sent ”incomplete” video before the game. Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press that Ohio State had deleted pre-snap motions and shifts before plays on video of its first four games that season. Narduzzi indicated that the Spartans had complained to the league, although Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said he and Gene Smith, his counterpart at Ohio State, had settled the issue.Dantonio wasn’t about to dwell on any of that Tuesday.”All that is resolved to my satisfaction,” Dantonio said. ”I think coaches are very competitive people by nature, and they’re going to try and win, and they want to try and get every single little bit of information that they can. But yeah, there’s no issues. There’s no issues.”I have some very, very good friends that are on Ohio State’s staff.”As for this week’s controversy of the moment – whether Buckeyes offensive lineman Marcus Hall should be suspended for Saturday’s title game after being ejected against Michigan last weekend – the Spartans weren’t about to cry foul.”I’m excited that no one is suspended,” Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough said. ”I hope no one does get suspended. I want to play their best. I think if we were in that same situation they’d say the same.”Although there is a lot at stake this weekend, it doesn’t look like there will be much of a war of words leading up to this title game.”Obviously I worked for Coach Tressel and he’s had a huge impact on my life, had some very exciting times when I was there,” Dantonio said. ”I understand the traditions, I understand the expectations that go along with being there. Have deep respect for Ohio State and what they’ve been able to accomplish.”Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballMark Dantonio
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The last goal on the list was the most critical.
The plan obviously wasn’t to give up more than 600 yards of offense.
+ EnlargeAP Photo/Carlos OsorioOhio State’s defense had its struggles against Michigan but have found what needs correcting before facing Michigan State.Ideally, the defense wouldn’t have allowed 41 points. Of course, the best-case scenario probably didn’t call for needing to snuff a 2-point conversion in the final minute to escape either.
But if Ohio State almost certainly came up well short of the target statistically, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell still had one final item on his checklist he measured with a simple pass or fail grade in Saturday’s wild, shootout win over rival Michigan. And since the No. 2 Buckeyes are still undefeated, that evaluation was pretty easy for him to make.
“What do you mean what went wrong?” Fickell said. “Did we win? Did we win? Did we win? I’ve been up there quite a few times in my 18-year career here and not come away with a win.
“There are a lot of things we have to correct, but every single week we have objectives, and the last objective last week was to win. We came away with a win, we made a play when we had to make a play.”
The Buckeyes didn’t make many on that side of the ball before an interception by Tyvis Powell sealed the win over the Wolverines. Even with a positive outcome, there’s no way they can hide from that fact.
Fickell acknowledged some communication breakdowns, gave credit to Michigan for an aggressive game plan that caught Ohio State off guard and stressed the importance of improved “awareness” as his team prepares for Saturday’s Big Ten title game in Indianapolis against No. 10 Michigan State.
But his boss took it one step further, as coach Urban Meyer made it clear he didn’t think another passing grade would be likely without a much more stout defensive effort.
SportsNation: B1G Championship Game Ohio State faces Michigan State with its No. …