B(C)S - The Return

by Adam Small | 11/19/03 6:00am

Since I generated such lovable topics of conversation by discussing the BCS and the travesty of TCU being in its top six, I figure another college football article is required. I promise this is the last one for the term. My word being my bond, I now turn to the real point of this excerpt from my brain. This is the Ohio State column. Last week I called TCU a joke. Well, if TCU is a joke, at least it's funny. And to quote my man Jack, Ohio State isn't funny, they're tragic.

Before every former Buckeye rises up in arms and tries to lynch me, let me qualify a few things. Ohio State is in no way a bad football team. They have a great defense. In fact, it may be even better than Oklahoma's D, and thus the best in the land. OSU has a great kicker, Mike Nugent, a classic hallmark of all great teams. And they've got a very good coach. Hell, I can't stand the man, but Jim Tressel is fantastic. Anyone who doubts, keep reading and I'll explain.

The reason that Ohio State is tragic is that they are currently No. 2 in the BCS standings without an offense. As in none, zip, zero, zilch, nada. And they have a minor problem: there is a spiky, angry, lethal, maize-and-navy roadblock in their way named the Michigan Wolverines. While few college football watchers dislike John Navarre, Michigan's QB, and his abilities more than I, he is surrounded by talent. Chris Perry may be the best running back in college football right now, and he has the Victor's March beat out by his heart. Perry has a career average of 125 yards per game at home since becoming the starter late in 2001, and that's up to 150 yards per game this year. Then there's Braylon Edwards, only a sophomore, but already one of the best receivers in the country and without a doubt the best in the Big 10. Add in talent and athleticism like Jason Avant, Calvin Bell, Steve Breaston and Tim Massaquoi and the Buckeye secondary, which at times looked a step slow against Purdue, is going to be hard pressed to shut this team down.

Then there's the ineptitude that is the Craig Krenzel-led offense. No one alive should question Craig Krenzel's heart. He has it, and in spades. What he doesn't have is a great arm, any weapons or even the running game he always has had. While Michael Jenkins is his go-to guy, the 6'5" senior hasn't been as sure-handed this year as in the past, and Michigan's defensive strength is in not allowing big pass plays. Ohio State also makes a living on key first-down passes to their dual tight-ends Ben Hartsock and Ryan Hamby. The Michigan linebacking corps is fast and vicious, and the ever-present strong safety Ernest Shazor is capable of beheading both of the lumbering behemoths. All of this adds up to an absolute beating to be delivered upon Ohio State's forever-lucky head.

Thus enters the tragedy. Buckeye fans actually think they can win. They actually think that being ranked No. 2 in the BCS is validation of their status as the No. 2 team in the country. This is a team who had to pull magical escapes out against San Diego State and Penn State this year, while barely surviving Bowling Green and under-achieving North Carolina State. And they lost to a Wisconsin team that lost to UNLV and Northwestern. This is not the second-best team in the country.

While I will indeed love every minute of the trouncing that Ohio State receives on Saturday, the greater tragedy will be the continued damage done to the BCS. The idea itself is not bad. While most people loathe it for one reason or another, the idea of forcing a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown at the end of the season is incredibly important for college football. The BCS has problems, some of which I lamented last week and most of which are based on the computer rankings. Because after Michigan thumps Ohio State they may very well leap up, but they will remain no better than fifth in the BCS standings because of those same computers. When the No. 5 team in both polls beats the No. 4 team in both polls, that team should be at least No. 4 in the BCS standings. Well, expect that honor to belong to Texas after this week.

This year looks like the final death knell for the BCS, and this week will be a giant stake driven through the heart of the ever-resilient Buckeyes. The college football world has looked at the anemic and ever-rotting Buckeye and screamed like Alec Trevelyan, "Why can't you just be a good boy and DIE!" Well, it's time for Tressel's 007 to meet his match. All hail Lloyd Carr, the Man with the Navy and Maize Gun.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!